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Steelhead Trout, Salmon...what's the difference?

GretlGretl Posts: 670
edited 12:18PM in EggHead Forum
I'm having a Senior Moment here...actually, it's more like a Senior Year. I can't remember if I asked this forum this question: Can any of you can explain the difference between Steelhead Trout and Salmon? It looks and tastes quite similar; the trout's about a buck cheaper per pound. I've been egging the Steelhead for awhile now, and we prefer it to Salmon. Seems a little leaner, very flavorful, and has a bit more color. Any answers out there?[p]Cheers,


  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    I could be wrong, but I think Steelhead is a trout that lives its entire life in fresh water. It has a milder flavor, but you are cooks up, and looks a lot like salmon. [p]FWIW
    Have a great weekend!
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  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Nature Boy, I think your right. A very excellent pictorial on fresh water fish a this website courtesy of the Great Lakes Fishing area. Be sure and run the auto slide show presentation.

    [ul][li]Trout and others.[/ul]
  • sprintersprinter Posts: 1,188
    Gretl,[p]Not too sure about the differences. I know that they are fished pretty much the same way, you troll for them. It's not uncommon to be trolling for salmon and have a steelhead hit the line. They are equally as good if not better than salmon in my opinion.[p]Off topic but did you hear the problems they are having in Michigan with the salmon? Seems like they are dying off or that they are being overfished and the average size of the salmon is getting smaller and smaller. It used to be that we would go fishing and a good day would land 2-3 30 or more pound salmon. Today we're lucky to see one of those a year. The Department of Conservation in Michigan has tried a number of things that are interesting over the past few years to try and bring back what have been called "the salmon of old" meaning the bigger, fighting salmon.[p]The salmon is a day feeder and the fishermen therefore fish for it in the daytime. To try to get the fish more active in the evening and to hopefully elude the fishermen, they have actually tried to cross it with a Walleye, a night feeder. This was an interesting mix, called a Co-Wall. This has seemed to work somewhat but the walleye is not as good a fighting fish that the salmon is and the anglers have actually complained that it is like hauling in a dead tree stump, no fight at all, and they throw them back. However, it did bring back the numbers of natural full bred salmon. To try and fix this "lack of fight" issue the DOC in Michigan has crossed the Co-Wall with a muskie. The muskie is a renowned fighting fish, sometimes taking over an hour to land once hooked. This mix is interestingly enough called a CoWallSki. This has worked to some extent and the anglers are happy with the fight but the DOC in Michigan is having a very tough time teaching the fish to swim........[p]OK OK OK, just had to throw this in. Sorry to waste the bandwidth but it just seemed appropriate here.[p]It IS actually true that the fish are getting smaller but it has nothing to do with the CoWallSki. There is a pretty interesting answer to that one though, another time and place for that one. 10 years ago we WOULD catch 30 pounders regularly, now its a fluke to get one.[p]Have a great weekend.[p]Troy
  • Dr. ChickenDr. Chicken Posts: 620
    Steelhead is nothing more than an over grown rainbow trout. It does exceedingly well in the great lakes and other large bodies of water. Generally steelhead migrate from their spawning grounds as small fry down stream to much larger bodies of water and oceans. Spend most of their formative years in the larger lakes/oceans and then migrate back up stream to spawn. They grow to such large sizes because of the abundance of food. Unlike salmon, all of the steelhead do not die during the process. Some return back to the larger bodies of water after spawning. This surprised me completely! [p]Salmon on the other hand make only the two migrations in their lives. Salmon adapt to salt water and/or brackish water where the rivers and oceans mix much more quickly than do steelhead..[p]Like I said earlier, there are some species of steelhead that live part of their lives in salt water too. The Skemanie steelhead(I hope I spelled that right) I believe is one of those varieties. This variety was brought into the great lakes from the Pacific northwest. It has achieved humongus success on Lake Michigan and a few of the other Great lakes.[p]The Britannica Encyclopedia we have gives a very short definition. "Steelhead trout: A saltwater adapted rainbow trout." Real helpful, isn't it???[p]You will find the steelhead to be milder and less oily than salmon. This we believe makes the steelhead much more desirable. I think you found that out already.[p]I am not an expert on fishes. I have a buddy that is the head of the Wisconsin Charter Fishing. A group of charter fishing boat captains that work very hard to promote and preserve the excellent fishing in the Great Lakes. I picked this information up from him over the years. I've been fortunate to observe and enjoy this fishery since 1986. Believe me, it is great![p]
    I hope that answers your questions. Sorry if it was too long![p]
    Have a great day![p]
    Dr. Chicken[p]
    p.s.: If you'd like, I could e-mail you his e-mail address and he could give you much more valid information than I've given you. Hollar back, and I'll send it your way! [p]

  • Dr. ChickenDr. Chicken Posts: 620
    I knew you were headed in some direction! I just couldn't figure it out! :-)))[p]
    Thanks for the laugh![p]I will forward this to Lory! He will get a laugh too![p]
    Dr. Chicken

  • GretlGretl Posts: 670
    Dr. Chicken,
    Wow! Thanks to you all for the great answers. I now enter the weekend armed with information. You never know when Alex Tribek might lunge at you with a Final Jeopardy Attack Weapon.[p]sorry; it's been quite a week.[p]Cheers,

  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    sprinter, years ago when wrestling was real, and the blood wasn't faked, there was a ranked wrestler named Killer Kowalski..I wonder if there is a connection..Reincarnation??

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