Steelhead (Rainbow) Trout

An Introduced species to the Great lakes around the turn of the century. Today healthy populations occur throughout the Lake Superior with good “runs” of spawning fish in the spring and fall. Although technically a rainbow trout, they are given the name steelhead from the designation of spending some of their lifecycle in larger bodies of water (ocean, Lake Superior) and then migrating to spawn – much like salmon.

Fish Facts

Lifespan: 5-7 years
Maximum Age: 11 Years
Spawning: Springtime (6-7 C)
Spawn habitat: shallow fine gravel in clear streams/rivers.
Foods:  Minnows, aquatic and surface insects, cannibalistic
World Record: 48lb  (Saskatchewan)-Genetically modified
Common Baits: Spawn, flys, yarns, spoons
Length to weight Formula:
W (lbs) = Length (in.) X Girth (in) X Girth (in.)/740

Spawning rivers and creeks in Northwest Ontario

View Rivers in a larger map

About Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Basic River Stream/River Etiquette

Submitted by spindilla1 Respect an Angler’s Space This is probably the most violated rule on the river. Many popular sections of a river can be very crowded during the spawning run. Crowding another angler is inconsiderate. If you approach him or her, make sure...


Hey guys,

Was just talking to a buddy and we were trying to figure this out, maybe some of you have an answer. Why is it that salmon/steelhead are so much bigger in lake ontario or huron as appose to superior? On superior a 20lb salmon is pretty rare, where as lake ontario 20lbs is fairly common. Even a 20lb steelhead is not uncommon on lake ontario/huron. Anyone have an answer?


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