Steelhead Origins

Steelhead Origins
Steelhead salmon (sometimes called steelhead trout) are a popular game fish native to the Pacific waters of North America. They are genetically intertwined with the rainbow trout, even though the size of steelhead can be much larger. Steelheads are differentiated from the rainbow solely on the basis of their life cycle.

Anadromous Trout

Steelheads are anadromous trout. This scientific term means that the fish spends the early part of its life in fresh water and the rest at sea. Steelheads are hatched in small freshwater tributaries of the Pacific Ocean and eventually migrate out to sea, where they can grow to a very large size

Cross-Breeding

Steelheads are genetically the same as rainbow trout. Indeed, the offspring of both steelhead and rainbow trout are all referred to as rainbow trout, because at that stage the tiny fish are identical. The steelhead gains its name change only after it makes its journey to the sea. After the return of the steelhead to its freshwater birthplace to breed, the fish can mate with either another steelhead or a rainbow trout. When the eggs of these fish hatch, the tiny fish that emerge are identical and thus are all considered at that stage to be rainbow trout.

Native Range

The original range of the steelhead salmon included the coastal waters of the Pacific from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska and continuing all the way south to Baja California in Mexico.

Article Written By Henri Bauholz

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.