Steelhead Trout

PC268regnbogasOrigin – Chile, Norway

  • Presentation – Whole, HG, Fillers, Portions


Steelhead and Rainbow trout are both highly desired food and sport fish. A number of angling methods are commonly employed. Rainbow trout are a popular target for fly fishers. Spinners, spoons, and small crank baits can also be used productively, either casting or trolling. Rainbow trout can also be caught on live bait; night crawlers, trout worms, and minnows are popular and effective choices.

They are farmeed in many countries throughout the world. Since the 1950s commercial production has grown exponentially, particularly in Europe and recently in Chile. Worldwide, in 2007, 604,695 tonnes of farmed salmon trout were harvested with a value of 2.589 billion USD dollars. The largest producer is Chile. In Chile and Norway, the ocean cage production of steelhead has expanded to supply export markets. Inland production of rainbow trout to supply domestic markets has increased strongly in countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and Spain. Other significant producing countries include the USA, Iran, Germany and the UK.

There are tribal commercial fisheries for steelhead in the Puget Sound, the Washington Coast and in the Columbia River.

Use as food

Rainbow trout and steelhead are popular in Western cuisine and are both caught and farmed for food. It has tender flesh and a mild, somewhat nutty flavor. However, farmed trout and those taken from certain lakes have a pronounced earthy flavor which many people find unappealing; many shoppers therefore make it a point to ascertain the source of the fish before buying. Rainbow trout are raised in many countries throughout the world. Rainbow trout that are wild have a diet of scuds (freshwater shrimp), insects such as flies, and crayfish are the most appealing. Dark red/orange meat indicates that it is either an anadromous steelhead or a farmed Rainbow trout given a supplemental diet with a high astaxanthin content. The resulting pink flesh is marketed under monikers like Ruby Red or Carolina Red.

Steelhead meat is pink like that of salmon, and is more flavorful than the light-colored meat of rainbow trout.