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seafood encyclopedia

Trout: Steelhead


  • Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss
  • US Market Name(s): Rainbow Trout, Steelhead Trout
  • Canada Market Name(s): Deep Sea Trout, Steelhead Trout, Trout, Steelhead Salmon, Rainbow Trout

Culinary Profile

Steelhead flesh has medium oil content - varies in colour from pink to red and tastes similar to Salmon.


Steelhead Trout are more closely related to Salmon than Trout and are therefore a member of the Salmonidae Family. Similar to Salmon - Steelhead are an anadromous species meaning that they live in the ocean for 2-4 years and return to freshwater rivers to spawn. Steelhead are often confused with Rainbow Trout which have the same scientific name (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Rainbow Trout are in fact the same fish - the only difference being that Rainbow Trout cannot migrate and therefore exist only in freshwater lakes and rivers. Despite their global distribution - most Steelhead Trout sold in the US are farmed and primarily come from Idaho. Steelhead is also farmed in Chile, Argentina and Norway. Both Rainbow and Steelhead Trout have an elongated, laterally compressed body. When in freshwater, their colouring is silvery-gray to dark green on their back and sides and have small black spots. They have a pinkish lateral stripe running the entire length of their body. When in the Ocean - Steelhead Trout develop more of a silvery colour and less of a stripe. Steelhead Trout weigh about 6 – 8 pounds.


Steelhead Trout native to the both sides of the Pacific Ocean - ranging as far south as Mexico - north to Alaska and west to Japan. Today, Steelhead populations have been introduced across the world to countries in South America, Eastern North America, Australia and Europe.

Fishing Season

Sustainability Status

Steelhead aquaculture practices in the US are considered environmentally friendly and sustainable. Farms elsewhere may or may not have comparable environmental standards - depending on the country.

Fishy Fact: Because most Trout sold in the US is farmed Rainbow Trout - Wild Steelhead Trout are a highly prized fish.


Available as Value Added, Commodity, Custom Packing.