Trouts Journal

The Steelhead Debate

Ivan Orsic / Nov 7, 2015

Earlier this week our friend Louis Cahill over at Gink and Gasoline posted a controversial, yet well intentioned article on the debate over what really makes a Steelhead a Steelhead. You can read the whole article here. Now being in Colorado puts us squarely in the middle of the battle grounds of the Great Lakes and the Pacific Northwest, and we certainly have our own feelings on the matter (there's little concensus amongst the Trouts family). But I wil agree with Louis that the issue need not be about what constitutes a steelhead, but what can we all do to ensure we have Wild Steelhead swimming in our rivers for generations to come.

But the reality of the situation is that it is time we all come to an agreement about what really constitues as a true Steelhead. This is particularly urgent seeing as certain folks are now claiming that you can catch a steelhead in North Carolina (yes you read right). Let's all agree and understand that this is not a debate about the merits of one fish over another. This is a conversation about what really constitutes a steelhead, and what is just a rainbow trout swimming out of a freshwater lake (let's remember that in sockeye salmon that live in freshwater lakes are referred to as a kokanee salmon)?

So what say you? Do we need to come up with a new name for steelhead that never touch saltwater, or is this just a meaningless debate that ultiamtely has no merit?

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