The scientific name for rainbow or steelhead is Oncorhynchus mykiss (Oncorhynchus means hooked beak)
The largest steelhead ever caught in Ontario came from the Nottawasaga River (29.13 pounds)
The Nottawasaga River has 494 miles open to migratory steelhead compared to 102 for the Saugeen
The Nottawasaga River has the one of the largest runs of wild steelhead in Ontario due to its large supportive watershed and natural habitat.
Original introductions into the Great Lakes occurred in the 1870’s from west coast strains.
Original introduction of rainbow to the “Notty” were by accident around the turn of the century when a dam washed out on the Pine River releasing the California’s McCloud strain to the system.
In the late 1890’s Michigan’s AuSable River rainbow were first caught in the Nottawasaga River.
The “Notty” has the largest rainbow genetic identified diversity of any Ontario river system (18 distinct strains). This represents a genetic diversity of 89.9%. Four of these strains appear to be present in only the Notty and Bighead rivers.
With present day reduction from 2 fish limit to catch and release from Hwy 90 to Hwy 89, there is no indication that harvest reduction will be effective in protecting the wild steelhead stocks in the “Notty”.
The largest run of steelhead is probably experienced in the Pine River tributary primarily due to its large cold-water contribution and excellent supportive habitat.
Anglers can fish for steelhead for 70 kilometres from the river mouth, all year long and almost 500 miles from the end of April to September.
Rainbow trout are amongst the most versatile predators in the Great Lakes system able to feed on a variety of sources of forage including insects, baitfish, crustaceans and small mollusks… proof of their resiliency!
Spawning rainbow trout females carry anywhere from 500 to 9000 eggs per year, spawning generally from February to April.
Steelhead that migrate up river systems from oceans are referred to as anadromous.
Steelhead that migrate up river systems from fresh water lakes are referred to as otadromous.
Rainbow trout can accelerate from zero to 23 mph in 1 second.
Rainbow trout have sensory input 500-800 times more sensitive than a human since water is denser than air.
Rainbow trout though somewhat near-sighted can see up to twenty feet able to detect distant insect movement even in the dark.
They can see colour in wavelengths similar to humans (red-blue). They see wavelengths of (yellow-green) better than humans as this wavelength travels better in water.
Taste and smell in rainbow are 500 times more acute than humans.
By their 5th –6th year, rainbow can attain lengths in excess of 30 inches.
Individual steelhead have been known to spawn up to 6 times over their life span.