Steelhead Fishing Season in Washington

Tips For Steelhead Fishing in the Kalama RiverSteelhead trout are native to the Pacific Northwest. They are olive green and speckled with reddish stripes down their sides. They migrate through rivers in Washington to the ocean in "runs" or groups within the official steelhead season, from around May to February.


In Washington, beginning in May you can fish the first steelhead run in the Columbia or Snake River. Winter fishing for you can fish for trout is popular in Moses Lake and Lake Roosevelt, and for the later runs in rivers.


Summer Run

Summer run steelhead show up between May and July, and are a combination of wild steelhead and hatchery fish. The trout tend to be small because they were in the ocean for less time, but are known for an impressive fight when caught.

Hatchery Run

Steelhead that are released from hatcheries show up in November and are usually mid-range in size. They can be recognized by the lack of an adipose fin. The season for the hatchery run starts in early winter.

Winter Run

The winter run steelhead are usually significantly larger than the summer run or hatchery run fish, commonly weighing above 10 pounds. They show up in late winter, and are often lighter in color than the summer run steelhead.


Wild steelhead can be identified by the presence of a soft, fleshy adipose fin forward of the caudal fin. If you catch one, you must release it immediately. In Washington you may only keep four steelhead per day, and must report the details of your catch.

Article Written By EmilyTrudeau

Emily Trudeau has been writing all her life. She has recently been working on a blog about gourmet outdoor cooking called Dirty Gourmet. She majored in biology and philosophy at Florida State University, and loved writing with both scientific and logical focus.

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