The British Columbia Steelhead “Oncorhynchus mykiss”, is an ocean going version of the rainbow trout. That means that they hatch in the river, where they will live for 1 year, and then swim out to the ocean as smolts. These smolts will be about 6 inches long.
They will live in the ocean for 2 to 3 years where they will mature and subsequently return to spawn as adults weighing anywhere from 6 to 20 pounds. The fishing reputation of this fish is legendary as they are truly aggressive fish and provide spectacular action on the proper tackle. The majority of steelhead fishing is accomplished by drift fishing roe, wool-ties or pink worms, but fly-fishermen also get fish too.
This type of fishing is not recommended for inexperienced anglers as the conditions require good casting skills and some patience. In addition, these fish begin to show up before Christmas and that means cool temperatures. While we are lucky here to see rain more often than snow, we do get lower temperatures and snow which can make winter fishing challenging. However, if you are looking for a challenge and something different, steelhead fishing can be addictive. It matters not how many fish you have caught in your life, there is something about landing, and even losing that will make your hands shake.
Steelhead return to several rivers in the area and can be fished for until the end of April. The limit for steelhead is one HATCHERY (adipose fin-clipped) fish per day, two in your possession to a maximum of ten fish per year.
All WILD steelhead must be released. A steelhead stamp is necessary to fish for steelhead, regardless of whether you intend to retain a fish or not.
Steelhead Trout – Identification
Other common names:
Historically they were called steelhead-salmon, salmon-trout or in some areas, hardhead.
Typical range in length for adults: 50-85cm
Maximum length: 120cm
Typical range in weight for adults: 1.4-6.8kg
Maximum weight: 21kg