Steelhead Trout

Male and female steelhead trout

About The Species

Steelhead trout are a unique species. Individuals develop differently depending on their environment. All steelhead trout hatch in gravel-bottomed, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated rivers and streams. Some stay in fresh water all their lives, and are called rainbow trout. Steelhead trout that migrate to the ocean typically grow larger than the ones that stay in freshwater. They then return to freshwater to spawn. Steelhead trout are vulnerable to many stressors and threats including blocked access to spawning grounds and habitat degradation caused by dams and culverts. One distinct population segment is listed as endangered and 10 DPS’ and 1 experimental non-essential population are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to conserving and protecting steelhead trout. Our scientists and partners use a variety of innovative techniques to study, learn more about, and protect this species.

Learn more about steelhead trout.

Status

ESA Endangered

in 1 distinct population segment

  • Southern California DPS
ESA Threatened

in 11 distinct population segments

  • California Central Valley DPS
  • Central California coast DPS
  • Lower Columbia River DPS
  • Middle Columbia River DPS
  • Middle Columbia River XN
  • Northern California DPS
  • Puget Sound DPS
  • Snake River Basin DPS
  • South-Central California coast DPS
  • Upper Columbia River DPS
  • Upper Willamette River DPS
ESA Experimental Population

in 1 distinct population segment

  • Middle Columbia River XN

Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Osteichthyes
Order
Salmoniformes
Family
Salmonidae
Genus
Oncorhynchus
Species
mykiss