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How can an angler tell the difference between a steelhead planted in lake cascade and other rainbow trout?

I noticed that A-run steelhead have been planted in lake cascade along with other trout. Will the steelhead have a clipped adapoise fin or some other telltale sign? Are steelhead tags required? Do you target the steelhead with the same kind of fishing gear you would kamloops or other trout? Is IDFG going to continue stocking cascade and other lakes with stellhead in the future? Detailed info would be great

Answer

Rainbow trout and steelhead are the same genus and species.  Essentially, a steelhead is an ocean-going rainbow trout.  There will be a slight color variation - depending on the time of year, but the only sure-fire way tell a hatchery produced rainbow trout from a steelhead is to check the adipose fin.  If the adipose fin is missing, then its one of the steelhead smolts (juvenile steelhead ready to migrate to the ocean) we stocked in Cascade.

The number of steelhead smolt released for migration to the ocean are regulated to reduce competition with wild fish.  When we have better than average survival at our steelhead hatcheries, this produces excess steelhead.  We typically stock excess steelhead in reservoirs where they can't migrate to the ocean.

No steelhead card is needed to fish for and keep juvenile steelhead stocked in Cascade.  They count in the trout bag limit, so you can keep 6 fish regardless of the size.