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Steelhead Fly Fishing Holidays

Steelhead is sea-run Rainbow Trout, just like Salmon, these fish return each year to the rivers, where they were born to spawn. However, unlike Pacific Salmon, these Steelhead do not die after spawning, they return back to the sea. It is these repeat spawning fish that grow to some great proportions that anglers dream of catching each year. Over the last few years, Steelhead has become a massive favourite for fly fishing anglers from all over the world. Like everything, timing is essential to catch Steelhead. We have many destinations to choose from and our advice about where and when to go will be important.

Kalum River Lodge | Hosted Salmon & Steelhead Adventures | Canada

Designed for complete beginners and experienced fly fishermen alike, this hosted Kalum River Lodge trip with our Sportquest Holidays host is perfect for either single anglers or small groups of friends. Enjoy the benefit of having a fully qualified host with you at all times as well as enjoying privacy and comfort with private single rooms... Read more

  Category: Freshwater Fly Fishing, Hosted Fishing, Hosted Freshwater Fly Fishing, Hosted Guided Fly Fishing Trips
   Season: April to October
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Additional Information

Steelhead is basically a trout that has adapted to act like a salmon. These fish are born in freshwater and once they have spent 2 or 3 years they return to the ocean to grow and mature. Once sexually mature they act just like salmon and return to the very same river and a poll where they were born. Steelhead is an amazing fish to fish for and over the years have become somewhat of a cult with fly anglers. A bit like Sea Trout these fish offer a welcome break and a fresh new challenge to all salmon anglers.

Name: Steelhead
Also know as: Steeles
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss


The freshwater form of the Steelhead Trout is the Rainbow trout and the only difference between these two species is that steelhead migrates to the ocean and return to freshwater tributaries to spawn. Steelhead are also larger and a lot less colourful than Rainbow trout and as Steelhead can live up to 11 years and spawn multiple times they can weigh a lot more with some specimens reaching up to 40 pounds in weight. The body of the Steelhead is silver in colour and streamlined with a much rounder head than the rainbow trout, they also have black dots and a red or pink stripe running horizontally down the side of the fish. It is this silver colour and rounder head that gives the steelhead its name.

Average Size

Steelhead reach sizes well over 40b in weight but the average size you will find is normally around 8lb.

Where to Catch

Steelhead stays in freshwater for one to three years before making their way to the ocean. As they become older, they prefer cold, deep pools and are particularly reliant on the shade to keep the slower moving water in these locations cool. Some Steelhead return from the ocean during November to May (“winter-run” Steelhead) at the age of four or five, while other younger Steelhead (aged three) will enter freshwater between April and October (“summer-run” Steelhead). Winter and Summer Steelhead are considered different races, though they both spawn between January to May and often share the same stream or river. All of these best places can be found on our dedicated Steelhead page.

Fishing Methods

Tactics include swinging with a switch or spey rods and Indicator fishing with a switch or single-handed rod Top flies are Intruders, Mini-Intruders, Hoh Bo Spey, Popsicle, Prom Dress, Pick Your Pocket, Leeches and some sculpin patterns.


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