steelhead rainbow trout
Steelhead | credit USGS


The steelhead is a migratory form of rainbow trout. As their name implies, steelhead tend to be more silvery than stream-run rainbows.

Steelhead occur in variety of environments worldwide, including freshwater lakes and saltwater estuaries. Similar to other members of the trout and salmon family, steelhead move up rivers and streams in order to spawn.

In the Mid Atlantic region, steelhead occur in Lake Erie. During their spawning migrations, steelhead enter rivers and streams in Western New York and Pennsylvania.

Lake Erie steelhead spawn several times, often living for six to eight years. When steelhead runs occur, anglers flock to productive areas with fly-fishing gear as well as spinning tackle.

Related Information

Rainbow Trout

Freshwater Fishing

Lake Erie