The effect of solvent-extracted cottonseed meal (SCSM) as a partial or total replacement of fishmeal was studied in juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Six experimental diets SCSM0, SCSM25, SCSM50, SCSM75, SCSM75A and SCSMT, containing a gradient of SCSM 0, 152, 305, 465, 460 and 610 g kg−1 to replace 0, 112.5, 225, 337.5, 337.5 and 450 g kg−1 fishmeal protein were fed to triplicate groups (initial body weight of 39.2 ± 0.1 g) for 8 weeks. The diet SCSM75A was supplemented with lysine and methionine, to be similar to SCSM0 for juvenile rainbow trout. Faeces were colleted after 4 weeks of normal feeding for apparent digestibility coefficients (ADC) of dry matter, crude protein and gross energy determination. Total replacement of fishmeal adversely affected growth performance. Fish fed with diet SCSMT had significantly (P < 0.05) lower weight gain, specific growth ratio, feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and protein efficiency ratio than fish fed with other diets. The FCE of SCSM75 and SCSM75A were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those of fish fed with SCSM0 diets. The ADC of the dry matter of SCSM75 and SCSMT were significantly lower than the SCSM0 diet, and the ADC of crude protein and the energy of SCSMT were the lowest (P < 0.05). The ADC of threonine, proline, alanine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine and methionine of fish fed with diet SCSMT were lower. Lysine and methionine supplement positively affected the ADC of SCS75A diet. There were no significant differences in the fish body composition. It is shown that SCSM can be utilized in the juvenile rainbow trout diet up to 305 g kg−1, to replace about 50% of fishmeal protein in this experiment.