Abstract Subcellular components of the probiotics Aeromonas sobria GC2 and Bacillus subtilis JB-1, when administered to rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, conferred protection against a new biogroup of Yersinia ruckeri. Thus, intraperitoneal or intramuscular injection of rainbow trout with cell wall proteins (CWPs), outer membrane proteins (OMPs), lipopolysaccharides (LPS), whole cell proteins (WCPs) and live cells followed by challenge on day 8 with Y. ruckeri led to 80–100% survival compared with 10% survival in the controls. Sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) profiles of WCPs and OMPs from GC2 had 10 and 5 variable protein bands in comparison to 11 and 5 bands in the WCPs and CWPs from JB-1. Proteomic analyses were employed following SDS-PAGE to categorize one dominant protein of 104.7 kDa from the CWPs of JB-1 and equated it with ‘Bacillus spp. endoglucanase’ with a Mascot score >69. These results point to the potential of using cellular components of probiotics for protection of fish against bacterial diseases.