Steelhead are one of my favorite game fish, right alongside brown trout. I generally only fish them in the rivers.
They swim in the rivers from the great lakes in the fall and feed on salmon eggs during the late end of the salmon run. Many of the steelhead will stay in the river all winter long. When the spring floods pound the rivers even more steelhead from the Great Lakes migrate inland for their own spawning season.
It took me a good number of years to become proficient at catching these guys. The average one will weigh around 7 pounds and the biggest will be close to 20. I’ve caught them of all sizes. Surprisingly, it’s not always the big ones that put up the best fights. Sometimes the average size fresh ones will be airborne the entire time.
My favorite way to fish them is with egg patterns that I tie on a snelled hook. People have all kinds of methods. That one has worked for me. It’s cheap, simple and effective and so I haven’t swayed in over 20 years.
I used to harvest most of the steelhead I’d catch, but now I’m real picky. They have to be incredibly fresh and usually not during the peak spawning season.