The steelhead, a sea-run rainbow or redband trout, is the largest race of rainbow in Oregon. They are famous worldwide for line-peeling runs and putting up spectacular, acrobatic fights.
Features: Steelhead are rainbow or redband trout (O. mykiss) that migrate to the ocean during their first or second year, returning one to three years later to spawn. While in the ocean, steelhead are silvery in color and typically grow significantly larger than their siblings who never leave fresh water. Once back in fresh water, they usually turn dark-olive in color, with silvery-white undersides, heavily speckled bodies and a pink to red stripe running along their sides.
Habitat: Summer-run steelhead return to freshwater between May and October and require several months to mature and spawn. Winter-run steelhead return to freshwater between November and April and spawn shortly thereafter. Coastal streams are dominated by winter-run steelhead, whereas inland steelhead of the Columbia River basin are almost exclusively summer-run steelhead.
Techniques: There are several ways to fish for steelhead including: bobber and jig/bait, drift fishing, punking, spinners, and fly-fishing. The bobber and jig/bait technique is great when fishing from a bank and easy for beginners. Here, a weighted jig or bait is tied below a floating bobber and drifted in the current. When the bobber dives, stops or wobbles, set the hook!