Oh … these will be fighting words. In this corner, anglers from the Great Lakes states, who toil in the drizzle and sleet along log-choked, stained waters like Michigan’s Pere Marquette, or Cazenovia Creek in New York. In the other corner, the self-professed champs from the storied waters of the Pacific Northwest, like the North Umpqua, or the Kispiox. The first punch was a swift jab from Oregon guide Tyler Palmerton, who after hearing me tell some steelhead stories from my Michigan days, flatly said: “C’mon man, those fish aren’t really steelhead.”
Science is no referee. These fish are the same rainbow trout species (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Steelhead are, however, technically “anadromous,” which, according to my dictionary, means “ascending rivers from the sea.”
“Sea, smee,” I insisted. “Michigan steelhead migrate from big water to the river. They turn chrome colored, and they pull the same … only they’re tougher to fight in little rivers.”
“Yeah, after you bobber-fish (nymph fish) for them,” he said. “No salt, no steel, you wannabe. Try throwing Muddlers with floating lines or sink-tips before you call yourself a steelheader.” Ouch.
I guess we’ll let the blog decide. The most (intelligent) comments will win the debate. Then we’ll all Mykiss and make up.