Lake Erie steelhead


Well-known member
Don’t start that, lol. Is it a steelhead based on genetics or salt run?!? Lol yep brought that here lol.

I’m in the salt camp or mostly don’t care but one local hatchery I sponsor just informed they spent extra this fall for Donaldson Steelhead/Rainbow split fry that will grow out faster. They stock 5-10 lbs trout into a tiny creek by the 500-1k so I can’t complain but wondered why they acted like steelhead when they hit. Freaking tanks explode on water and fight you every inch for 15-20 minutes. Not unusual in my limited steelhead experience but rainbow in NEPA on creeks 10’ across?!? It’s nuts sometimes, even saw a dude running a pin hammering them. Channeling Great Lakes migration for a bit it felt like.

SL, your killing me, it’s 80 degrees here and all I want is 1-2 more deer stand Day’s and a trip to Erie for chrome.


Well-known member
Ignore my comment, I see bigger minds on here are already debating. My wife, the biologist would argue genetics. Those sane genetic loving biologists recreated a southern red Wolf for a “4 year study” in NC using half Coyote half wolf to study behavior, promise farmers replacement cost on lost livestock, then on eve of expiration get them declared endangered in NC while never repaying farmers. Bios are biased,,, lol,,, but but but Ends justify means,,,,, white paper this,,, scientific journal that,,,, then they push their BS ideology and you call out umm white paper? Scientific journal? Peer review?? And your a narrow minded **** Yep, if it’s genetically pure and they can prove it back to subject 0 I’ll bite, otherwise behavior defines classification IMO most of the time. No salt, no steelhead, except I call all rainbow steelhead if caught in Great Lakes tribs and tell folks they are all really rainbow so maybe I’m the most confused

“often wrong, never in doubt” might be a good description lol


Well-known member
There is some debate about that but yes. Aren't there specific stains of Bow that do that and other strains that don't?
I don't know but when I lived in Northern CA it was the thing to do. But of course I didn't live there long enough to learn more.
In NE CA I think Sea Lions and to a lesser degree sharks decide which ones return to low specific gravity vs. behavior tendencies based on my limited trips chasing them along the Rock.


Well-known member
I always go with the big water verses small water instead of salt or no salt. I steel consider them stillhead in the grate leaks ;)

One of the problems with biology since the discovery and sequencing of DNA is where to make a classification. We have so much more detail now and we can separate things that outside of genetics look pretty similar. Sometimes I think we are moving to too granular of a classification of things.

I favor a view of things more as a spectrum than of sharp permanent divisions.


There is no debate here. Steelhead is literally a trout that lives a in salt. And returns to fresh water. We all call them steelhead however they are not. It’s not a strand definition. It’s merely a life style definition. That strain that goes to the ocean is a rainbow trout. Genetics says usually bigger and ruder

Solitario Lupo

They are in full swing.


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Well-known member
I was a few days early or late. Just talked to a new contact there. After I left it was slow.Two Day’s before I got there another guy I fish with was catching a lot.10–20 days in the flurry/overcast weather. Today the new contact got into 8+ pretty quick abd sent me pics. Sat started out so promising to. Lots of fish in the system but super clear and with the pressure it’s tough. There where a lot of people for fish stacked in shallow clear holes. Not uncomfortable to fish crowds but every hole had a small crowd at least.

Solitario Lupo

Pretty much they way it is to fish for them once word gets out, more fishermen than fish. It’s hard finding spots by yourself but they are out there. A lot of wading.