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CDK
03-30-2013, 07:58 AM
A while back I had this discussion with #1 grandson.
What kind of fish is that?
It is a Steelhead.
Pause
Why is it called a Steelhead?
Pause
I don't know but I will find out.

After several tries I cannot find a plausible answer. The question remains WHO decided the sea run Rainbow trout shall be named Steelhead and WHY ? The reason must be good that it is accepted world wide.

dabalone
03-30-2013, 08:43 AM
LOL, kids can stump you sometimes, they have such inquisitive minds. Answers should be interesting.

I will guess it was coined in a particular part of the country and then the name caught on, maybe great lakes region and it has to do with the color of fresh run fish. I have heard them called chromers, and metalheads and steelies all referring to either bright color or maybe tuff as steel. A google search didn't really come up with anything.

Sensi Hooks
03-30-2013, 09:03 AM
Hormones in the water make the colors change and the beak and gums change to become a steelhead. It doesnt have to go to sea for the hormones to change it, Ive caught landlocked steelhead that steel changed into the textbook steelie. But what I find funny is someone can make up a name write it in a book and make zillions of people for the rest of time read about the definitions they made up in order to categorize it.

Ive had guys tell me I caught a Steelhead that was like 5 inches:swimmingfish:I ask them wheres the rest of the 11 inches of fish. :P

aka Americansteel
03-30-2013, 11:34 AM
I've heard they got the name steelhead from being observed ramming spawning salmon to release eggs

Line Stretcher
03-30-2013, 01:04 PM
Truly, the term "Steelhead" has multiple meanings depending upon who you ask. Since its adoption, various Wildlife agencies have begun calling the Pacific Ocean Rainbow Trout a "Steelhead" when its overall length is equal to or greater than 16". Typically when the fish reaches this size it will have 13+ ray's on it's anal fin. A typical fresh water only rainbow trout will have l2 or less regardless of size. The validity of that is questionable in my mind. I've personally seen less on fish I know are Steelhead and more on fish that I know aren't.

The change the fish goes through that causes it to change from bright silver to highly colored is thought to be caused by the stress placed on the fish while it's liver is adapting to fresh water from Salt and vice versa when it returns. I've also heard the hormone theory and believe it would play a role also since it too would cause the fish to stress while adjusting. One thing for certain, this particular breed of Rainbow Trout always maintains an irridescent head not unlike the reflection of chrome or polished steel. That is what I believe started the name "Steelhead".

An interesting side note is that landlocked Steelhead have also been know to color up during the spawn. This is believed to be from them not feeding while on the hunt for a mate. Either land locked or Anadromous they will not leave the beds until the find a mate even if that means dying of starvation while waiting.

Whatever we choose to call them they are definitely an interesting species and in my book one of the most special of all the fish I pursue.

Because it's often difficult for folks to make a positive ID on a steelhead and steelhead are on the endangered species list, you'll find that when steelhead are know to populate bodies of water DFW typically puts the same limits and restrictions on all hatchery trout in those waters. Good or Bad idea? I don't know but it will sure keep you from getting a ticket for keeping more than your limit of hatchery steelhead if the trout limit is 5 and you're actually keeping steelhead.

Personal Opinion on new regs: I think the reason they did this is because all hathery fish now must be Triploids and it's a more involved (time and expense) process to produce enough to keep the rivers and streams at a normal stocking levels.

Marv
03-30-2013, 02:24 PM
Steelhead, chromer, ghostfish are slang/nicknames for a Pacific ocean rainbow trout. If you catch one is Australia, and the tell the locals look at this Steelhead I caught, they'd call you noob and correct you saying you caught an Ocean trout. The term steelhead doesn't exist there.


Oncorhynchus mykiss is the spieces name for both Rainbow trout and steelhead. Which translates to- hook nosed rainbow. Rainbow trout are more closer genetically to pacific salmon then they are to brown trout.

CDK
03-31-2013, 08:42 AM
Hormones in the water make the colors change and the beak and gums change to become a steelhead. It doesnt have to go to sea for the hormones to change it, Ive caught landlocked steelhead that steel changed into the textbook steelie. But what I find funny is someone can make up a name write it in a book and make zillions of people for the rest of time read about the definitions they made up in order to categorize it.

Ive had guys tell me I caught a Steelhead that was like 5 inches:swimmingfish:I ask them wheres the rest of the 11 inches of fish. :P

Don't think size is it as their raising them from eggs at Nimbus.

CDK
03-31-2013, 08:48 AM
The steel name applying to the body I can go with. The ones that I have caught seemed to have a darker less steel like color heads.
I am with the Aussies SEA TROUT would be better. Too late now.:happy:

Line Stretcher
03-31-2013, 09:13 AM
The steel name applying to the body I can go with. The ones that I have caught seemed to have a darker less steel like color heads.
I am with the Aussies SEA TROUT would be better. Too late now.:happy:

Dude your scarring me. I call them Steelhead because that's what my Dad called them and he was always right. I know that to be true because he told me over and over and over and over:happy:

djkurisu1
04-01-2013, 09:17 AM
They already have SEA TROUT, they are called SPECKLED TROUT and u can catch them in the south all over. I believe it is most likely due to the chrome color they take on after heading to the ocean. It makes them soo much more hardy and one of the best fights I have ever had at the end of my rod. If any of you guys ever get a chance, try fishing the san lorenzo river in SANTA CRUZ during steelhead season, it is the only fish you are allowed to fish out of the river in the whole year and some areas are smaller than 10feet wide.... WOW talk about chasing a fish. I have had some run up and down river sooo far and it is a extreme work-out. A truly AWESOME experience given the chance to go get them. Also can only fish the river sat-sun and wednesdays, with exception for holidays and ranging from nov-march usually. The action is almost second to none and i have pulled out more than a few 10+lbers from the river.... Cant wait to get some more of that action next year....