How to tell winter from summer run steelhead. Steelhead have flatter, more square tails. The two primary species that are most commonly encountered in our commercial and recreational fisheries are Chinook Salmon and Coho Salmon. Unlike salmon, steelhead don’t die after spawning, and some end up returning to the ocean. Steelhead undergo a process called smolting during which they change physiologically to adapt for life at sea. Steelheads also tend to be more silvery than the freshwater Rainbow form. In fact, some steelhead never make it out to the ocean in the first place. Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Anglers are a keen bunch and many are aware that different species of salmon and trout have slightly different preferences in habitat. It has more flavor, thicker meat, and more nutritional value. Farm-raised salmon is typically fattier than wild-caught and has more calories, but is still very nutritious. But just in case you’re curious right now, here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between two species that are really close. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS ABFL-2. Salmon exist in Oregon, Washington and on the Columbia River nearly year around as different species take their turn in the limelight. Identification & Biology: Rainbow trout are unusual in that there are two forms which sometimes share the same habitat. Today, the Pacific Salmon Foundation still lists steelhead alongside the salmon species it works to conserve, calling the steelhead's classification a "hotly debated" topic. As the young go downstream, they pass adults moving upstream to spawn. Rainbow trout is among the most beautiful of all salmonid species, and it ranks as one of the top game species in the world. The term steelhead is used to differentiate between those rainbows that stay in fresh water permanently and those that go out to the ocean. Rainbow trout and steelhead are ray-finned fishes in the salmon family, and they are one of the top sport fish in North America. Related Reading: Diving Deeper Into Farmed vs Wild Fish. Indigenous salmonids include steelhead/redband trout, bull trout, and Chinook salmon. King salmon or Chinook salmon is the best salmon money can buy, though also one of the rarer species. The tail of Atlantic Salmon is more forked than Brown Trout, although the tail of juvenile Brown Trout are slightly forked. This is only a starting point, and is not meant to cover every aspect of salmon fishing. These… The most basic difference between both fish is quite simple; rainbow trout reside and always stay in freshwater, while steelhead are anadromous, meaning that they migrate to the ocean. Salmon and steelhead, species of anadromous fish, once were prolific in the Columbia River. Rainbow Trout have two branches, or subspecies considered Rainbow Trout. Occasionally, a reddish streak shows up on their sides. The Chinook can be distinguished from other salmon is by its black mouth and gums. Coho Salmon: Steelhead Trout: Male coho salmon have the big noses called a ‘kypes.’ When female coho salmon dig nests called redds, their scales flake off, leaving large white areas on their tails where bones and cartilage are exposed. Weidlich, Laurie M. 1986. Steelhead are similar to other Pacific salmon in many ways but for one glaring exception: they can be repeat spawners (as are Cutthroat trout). Most veteran Lake Superior anglers can identify a steelhead just by their general appearance. One way to tell a coho salmon from a steelhead rainbow trout is by the tail. accurate, identification guides. Since it never grows back, the lack of the adipose fin on an adult fish makes it easy to identify as of hatchery origin…and, therefore, in many rivers, legal to keep (check the regs before you go to make sure! A life history is what a fish does to achieve maturity. Other Names: salmon trout. Coho salmon males have dark red markings running along their bellies from their gills to pelvic fins. Rainbow Trout Vs. Steelhead – The Difference. British Columbia Salmon Fishing, How to fish and Way to go. After getting your feet wet, a good angler will constantly search for additional information to … The steelhead branch spends most of their time in the ocean, while the main branch spends all of its time in freshwater. Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, but rainbow are freshwater only, and steelhead are anadromous, or go to sea. Seattle, WA. It is possible that Atlantic salmon have escaped from aquaculture facilities and dispersed into the area where these unknowns were found. A steelhead trout is scientifically known as the oncorhynchus mykiss. Their classification is hotly debated: they used to be placed in the genus Salmo (like Atlantic salmon); now most scientists place them in the Oncorhynchus genus, while others disagree because of their repeat spawning. I think the other different part for steelhead is that they have more life histories than any salmon species. Steelhead trout is often confused with rainbow trout. Lake and stream dwellers tend to be lighter as well. Trautman, Milton B., 1973. Bizzy Bee 2,189 views Steelhead are “iteroparous” and may spawn more than once while Pacific salmon are “semelparous” and spawn only once and then die. The most sought after of these fish is the Chinook or King Salmon. This species-level ordering was consistent with results from the West Coast Fish Climate Vulnerability Assessment (M. Haltuch, NOAA Fisheries, personal communication), which ranked Chinook salmon vulnerability very high, and coho, sockeye, steelhead, and chum high. It is dark olive in color and usually has a heavily speckled body with pink stripes along the sides of their bodies. Pollard, W.R., et al, 1997. Rainbow Trout. Rainbow Trout are a type of ocean-going trout with two branches of species. When they reach maturity they return back to their freshwater birthplaces to spawn. Steelhead migrate to the sea throughout the year. Varieties . Compared to Atlantic salmon, which is often found in thick cuts, steelhead trout are smaller and thinner, and cook more quickly. ). Atlantic Salmon has a narrower caudal peduncle when compared to Brown Trout. Common Name(s): King salmon, spring salmon Description: The Chinook salmon is silver in color with dark spots. In the Eastern Bering Sea Climate Vulnerability Assessment, all five salmon species scored high in sensitivity but low in … Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, BC. Earning Their Salt. They are a solid gray until their skin darkens at spawning time. Others stay and spend the rest of their lives in fresh water. Steelhead Trout vs. Salmon . A Guide to the Collection and Identification of Presmolt Pacific Salmon in Alaska with an Illustrated Key. Click on the mystery fish page to find out more!. In Atlantic Salmon, the maxillary does not extend beyond the eye. Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) issued a five-year permit to Cooke Aquaculture to farm all-female, triploid (sterile) rainbow trout/steelhead in Puget Sound.