Latin name

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Other names

Steelhead trout, steelie, sea-run rainbow.


Steelhead are usually slender and streamlined. The dorsal coloration is mostly blue-green with an olive hue, with black, regularly spaced spots. Black spots also cover both tail blades. The black coloration transitions through the lateral line to silvery white, which becomes more white on the belly. It has white leading edges on the anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins, and spawning fish show a distinct pink-red striped coloration that blends along the lateral line, both above and below the lateral line.


The original range of the steelhead in North America extended from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, and well into coastal rivers. Northern California, Oregon, Washington, southern Alaska, and especially British Columbia had significant populations. Overfishing, pollution, dams, other habitat changes, and other factors have negatively impacted many local populations.


It migrates to the sea as a juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn.


Steelhead are usually caught weighing between 5 and 12 pounds, and in some reservoirs it is not uncommon to see fish weighing more than 15 pounds. Most fish returning to the rivers are 5 to 6 years old and can live up to 8 years. The world record for all-tackle fishing is a 42-pound, 2 oz. fish caught in Alaska in 1970.

Life history and Behavior

Most populations appear in rivers in the fall, entering freshwater systems as adults from August through winter. Spawning occurs in winter and spring. Spawners move slowly downstream to the sea, and their spring iridescent colors return to a bright silver hue. The lost fats recover, and the adults re-visit the feeding areas where they went during their first ocean migration. Typically, juveniles remain in the parent stream for about 3 years before migrating to saltwater.

Food and feeding habits

Steelhead в океане потребляет кальмаров, ракообразных и мелкую рыбу.


No information

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Salmoniformes
Family Salmonidae
Genus Oncorhynchus
Species O. mykiss
Conservation status Endangered
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 11
Maximum body weight, kg 25
Maximum length, cm 110
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Tags: Steelhead