The nonnative rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss has been an unsuccessful invader in North European streams, although it has been widely introduced. Here we studied whether early life history stages (egg incubation and hatching, first overwintering) act as filters for the establishment of hatchery rainbow trout. Survival of hatched alevins was approximately 80%, whereas only 47% of the embryos survived. However, the latter value was impacted by the high number of unfertilized eggs. Correlation coefficients with embryo survival rate and environmental variables (pH and temperature) were statistically insignificant. In the overwintering experiments, the survival of rainbow trout was 93%. The growth was generally slowed during the winter, but in the spring the growth of rainbow trout exceeded that of the native brown trout. Our data demonstrated that the survival and growth of rainbow trout during early life-history stages were relatively high and comparable to those of the native brown trout. Based on the variables considered in our study, our results suggest that environmental conditions during early life-history stages are not detrimental for rainbow trout in the study streams.