Wild Steelhead Trout

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Steelhead is a Rainbow Trout that migrates to sea as a juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn. Unlike the Pacific Salmon, the Steelhead Trout does not always die following spawning, and may spawn more than once and return to the sea after each spawning.

These diverse fish spend their younger days in freshwater streams and rivers. Young Steelhead may spend up to seven years in freshwater before migrating to the ocean to feed and mature. There, they remain for up to three years before returning to fresh water to spawn. 

Ocean feeding grounds are spread out over the North Pacific, although exactly where remains a mystery. It is known, however, that they often roam a great distance from their natal streams.  Years ago, a fish tagged in the Sea of Japan was caught just six months later in the Skagit River of northern Washington.

The average size of a Steelhead Trout is 8-11 pounds; they may grow up to 40 pounds.

Young Steelhead love to eat zooplankton, which are tiny marine animals. Once they become adults, Steelhead feed on aquatic and terrestrial (land-dwelling) insects, crustaceans, mollusks, minnows, fish eggs, and small fishes. 

Steelhead Trout is one of the healthiest types of seafood that you can eat. It is rich in lean protein, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids while containing a low level of contaminants like mercury, pesticides, dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBsPacific Steelhead have very high Omega 3 oil content - higher than most Pacific Salmon.

Steelhead resembles King (Chinook) Salmon in color and texture, but with a decidedly light, clean flavor.  A favorite of the finest chefs in the Pacific Northwest, Steelhead Trout are another of the region's best-kept seafood secrets.  Pacific Steelhead is prized for its firm meat and flavor.


Broiled Steelhead Trout with Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic.

This recipe would also work for many other types of fish, like catfish or salmon, but Steelhead is what I had on hand. So yummy! ...

1 lb steelhead fillet, with or without skin
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 lemon, zest of
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus
additional oil, for greasing baking pan


Prepare a baking or roasting pan by lining it with foil and brushing it with olive oil.
Preheat broiler.
Mix together all remaining ingredients except fish into a well-blended paste.
Place fish skin-side down (if it has skin) on baking sheet, then spread seasoning over flesh.
Broil fish at second rack away from heat for 5 minutes or less, just enough to sear flesh but not burn herbs.
Lower fish to 3rd or 4th rack and lower oven heat to 325°F

Bake for 10 additional minutes, or until fish is cooked through in the thickest portion.