Rainbow Trout: Salmo gairdneri / Steelhead: Salmo gairdneri gairdneri
This is a native western trout. Steelheads are Rainbows that go to sea Normal length is about 3’9″, though they have been known to reach a forty pound size. They range from the Bering Sea to California in freshwater lakes and streams. They usually spend from two to four years in their home stream before going to sea where they stay for about three years. At this point they come back to their original birthplace to spawn. It takes up to six years for freshwater females to sexually mature. Warm waters and blocked streams are threatening their survival. Unlike other species, steelhead don’t die after spawning. Instead, they will return to the ocean repeating this process a few times.
The Rainbow on the left is a typical Pacific Northwest morning. The Steelhead on the right tells a story of First Nations women collecting salmon berries to eat fresh, or to be dried and or to make into a fruit leather to be eaten throughout the fall and winter.