A photo of a Steelhead

About Steelhead

The steelhead is an anadromous (sea-run) form of the coastal rainbow trout or Columbia River redband trout that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead. The adult steelhead has a more streamlined, torpedo-like body shape than the resident rainbow. The male’s jaw lengthens at maturity and forms a ‘kype’ or knob on the tip, similar to Pacific salmon. When fresh from the sea, they are usually very bright and silvery. As they approach spawning a pink to red lateral line appears that extends over the gill covers then gradually they darken to a dull grey or brown. Adult size: 20 to 33 inches and 3 to 15 pounds.

Common Names

Steelhead Trout

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