SeaRunCutthroat or Steelhead

what's the difference between searuns and steelhead? Aren't they both trout that go out to sea? Is it the lenght of time spent in the salt?

Sharp hooks and tight lines.


Be the guide...
Do you mean the diff between a steelie and a rainbow?

To answer you quesiton in simple terms, a SRC is a sea going cutthroat. A Steelie is a sea going rainbow.

Have a look in the gallery for this site for many pics of SRCs, Steelies, coastal cutties, westslope cutties, etc. It will really help your fish id skills.

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
the big difference is that the steelie is more like salmon, travelling far from its home and returning only after 2-4 years.

The cutthroat is a saltwater dweller that does not travel very far from its native stream, and it returns to the estuary/river every fall.

Both are similar in that they return to spawn more than once like the atlantic salmon but unlike our pacific salmon.

FYI...I believe that the steelhead, through genetic testing, has been recently re-classified as a salmon not a trout.

The big difference:

Cutts: agressive and easy to catch
Steelies: not anything like cutts


Active Member
ReelSmoker- both fish are in the same scientific "family" so I guess you could say they are brothers who choose different lifestyles. That said there are cutties that live like steellehad, steelhead that live like cutties, and resident river varieties of both. sometimes they even sleep together (gasp). size of all salmonids seems to be directly related to amount of time they spend in the salt feeding. Coho salmon and steelhead also have a very similar life history.

Latest posts