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Washington State Fish

Steelhead Trout Salmo gairdnerii Adopted: March 18, 1969
Washington state Fish
Washington State Fish: Steelhead Trout
Credit: Duane Raver, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Note: Steelhead & Rainbow Trout are same species

The steelhead trout was adopted as the official fish of the State of Washington on March 18, 1969.

Though still listed, by law, as Salmo gairdnerii, the steelhead trout was reclassified by the American Fisheries Society as Oncorhynchus mykiss in 1989 as they are more closely related to Pacific salmon than to other trout species.


Weixlmann, Karl. Great Lakes Steelhead, Salmon, & Trout. Mechanicsburg, Penn.: Stackpole Books, 2009. Print.
Revised Code of Washington (RCW). Washington State Legislature. 2009. 19 March 2009
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

Additional Information

State Fish: Washington State Legislature - Symbols of Washington State.

Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): NOAA - National Marine Fisheries: Office of Protected Species.

Oncorhynchus mykiss: University of Michigan Museum of Zoology: Animal Diversity Web.

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792): Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2009.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (02/2009).

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792): NatureServe Explorer: An Encyclopedia of Life Online.

Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum, 1792): Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Here you will find authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

Oncorhynchus mykiss: CalPhoto photographs. The Biodiversity Sciences Technology group (BSCIT), a part of the Berkeley Natural History Museums at the University of California, Berkeley.

State Fish: Complete list of official state fish.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Washington state symbols.

Fishing & Shellfishing: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Trout and Salmon of North America
Trout and Salmon of North America
by Robert J. Behnke

Trout and Salmon of North America, by Robert J. Behnke. 384 pages. Free Press (September 24, 2002) Behnke, professor emeritus of fishery and wildlife biology at Colorado State University, has brought his more than 50 years of studying, and fishing for salmon and trout, to wonderful effect. He provides readers with an authoritative compendium of the evolution, biology, ecology, habitats and behaviors of these prized game fish. A capsule legend that includes scientific name, other common names, habitat, size, life span and diet accompanies each entry, amazingly illustrated by Tomelleri, whose fish seem to shimmer on the pages. Habitat maps, which include coastal waters, rivers, streams and lakes, are detailed and specific enough to be taken on fishing excursions. The book includes a good deal of fishing lore, as in the notations that describe the best flies, bait and lures for specific types of fish and locales.

About Trout: The Best of Robert Behnke from Trout Magazine, by Robert J. Behnke. 272 pages. The Lyons Press (September 1, 2007) Behnke brings scientific expertise, a sense of humor and a flair for drama to this collection of 43 essays previously published as his About Trout column in conservation organization Trout Unlimited's Trout magazine. Behnke considers the evolution, historic and current distribution, biological characteristics and defining physical traits of various species of trout and salmon-from the common brown trout and well-known Atlantic salmon to the rare Apache trout and the once-presumed extinct, now-endangered Alvord cutthroat trout.

Trout Rigs & Methods
Trout Rigs & Methods
by Dave Hughes

Trout, by Ray Bergman. 576 pages. The Derrydale Press (October 25, 2000) Trout is arguably the finest single volume ever produced on how, why, and where to catch trout. In spite of being originally published in 1938 (Penn Publishing Company), it remains utterly relevant.

Trout Rigs & Methods, by Dave Hughes. 322 pages. Stackpole Books (January 10, 2007) Clear and simple instruction and explanation describes 18 trout rigs and 81 methods to fish them. In moving water: rigs and methods for dry flies and emergers, nymphs, wet flies, streamers, and dry flies and droppers. In stillwater: dry flies and sunk flies.Fly fishers learn the specifics of the rig--types of fly line, lengths and tapers of leader and tippet, the flies, and split shot, putty weight, strike indicators, droppers, point flies, and indicators--and the full array of methods to present the rig to the trout.

Essential Trout Flies, by Dave Hughes. 92 pages. Stackpole Books (April 2000) A core list of flies that will catch trout anywhere, in every season, this collection includes the most important patterns in a wide range of styles, from dry flies to streamers. The tying steps for each pattern are illustrated in step-by-step photos with detailed captions, followed by photos and recipes for the six most useful variations-217 patterns in all. Each chapter features a description of the insect the pattern imitates as well as expert information on how and when to fish the fly.

Steelhead Fly Fishing
Steelhead Fly Fishing
by Trey Combs

Steelhead Fly Fishing, by Trey Combs. 512 pages. The Lyons Press; 1st edition (February 1, 1999) America's Northwestern rivers have given modern angling the steelhead, a migratory trout big enough to command its own rules, and Combs's book is a tribute sufficient to the fish. The flash of hard-won angling experience illuminates every page as knowing writing combines with glorious photography from 15 river systems of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

Color Guide to Steelhead Drift Fishing, by Bill Herzog. 80 pages. Frank Amato Publications (May 1994) Each year nearly 1,000,000 steelhead are hooked in North America and the great majority of these fish are hooked using drift fishing techniques. This lavishly illustrated, all-color guide is the "bible" if you want to get in on the action. Written by one of America's greatest drift fishermen, you will learn the techniques that can guarantee your entry into the 10% of the anglers who hook 90% of the steelhead. This is a heavy-duty graduate course!

Steelhead & Salmon Drift-Fishing Secrets, by Timothy Kusherets. 100 pages. Frank Amato Publications (January 2004) This comprehensive book goes way beyond the basics of drift-fishing techniques to include marine biology, ichthyology, meteorology, and physics as they apply to fish and fishing. Kusherets covers; species identification and anatomy; gear; set-ups; reading water; different drifting styles and techniques; understanding fish; spotting fish; troubleshooting; using the Internet; filleting your catch; extensive glossary; and more. The unique, yet down-to-earth advice in this book will bring more fish to your line.

The Complete Steelheader: Successful Fly-fishing Tactics , by John Larison. 240 pages. Stackpole Books (February 10, 2008) The Complete Steelheader: Successful Fly-Fishing Tactics is a comprehensive guide that explains effective approaches and presentations for steelhead and gives suggestions for fly patterns that will attract the most fish. It provides an in-depth look at steelhead behavior and carefully outlines techniques commonly used by fly-fishing guides. Larison presents a different way of approaching the river, a methodology that is more aptly suited to the habits and habitat of modern steelhead.

Complete line of fishing equipment including rods, reels, rod and reel combinations, fly fishing gear, bait and spin casting rods and reels, ice fishing equipment, lures and flies, and other accessories. All major brands.