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Steelhead illustration


World Record ~ 42 Lbs. 2 oz. Caught in Alaska in 1970

Scientific name ~ Oncorhynchus Mykiss

Other names ~ Steelie, Steelhead trout, Sea run Raindow

Identification ~  Steelhead have a slender , streamlined body. Young steelhead are brightly colored with tints of red, green-yellow, orange and gold. As they mature they more closely resemble the Atlantic salmon in structure and appearance with heavier spotting. Steehead differ from other Pacific salmon in having a shorter anal fin containing less than 12 supporting rays. When in the sea the body is mainly silvery with a blue back. At spawning time, a band of red color develops along each side of the body. Steelhead were at one time considered a trout species but have been discovered by biologists to be more closely related to Pacific salmon than other trout. The fresh water variant of steelhead is known as rainbow trout.Unlike most other Pacific salmon, some steelhead individuals live to spawn more than once.

Size ~ Most angler caught Steelhead are from 5 to 12 pounds but Steelhead over 15 Lbs. And 20 to 30 inches are caught with some regularity.

Habitat ~ Steelhead trout can be found from southern California to the Alaska panhandle, with major spawning grounds centered between Oregon and northern BC in coastal rivers and streams as well as tributaries to major river systems. It has also been introduced into New Zealand, Australia, South America, Africa, Japan, southern Asia, Europe and Hawaii.

Feeding Habits ~ As juvenile fish in their native streams and rivers they feed on insects, insect larvae, and small fish. Once in the ocean Steelhead feed on squid, crustaceans, and small fish. A legendary fighter, the steelhead is aggressive and is known to defend its territory when in rivers and streams.


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