Pere Marquette River Steelhead

Steelhead is a name given to a migratory Rainbow Trout which live in the Great lakes and their tributaries. They are know fighters which makes them a popular species for sport fishing. They also provide an exciting river fishery in many Great Lakes tributary streams. Lake Steelhead enter their spawing streams such as the Pere Marquette River from late October to early May. Although many Steelhead enter the rivers in the Fall and overwinter there, spawning does not occur until spring. The Fall-run fish are typically the first to spawn, often in March, followed by the Spring run fish in April. Steelhead spawn in a bed of fine gravel and sand, usually in a riffle above a pool. Steelhead don’t necessarily die after spawning; they may live to reproduce several times. Most Rainbow Trout return home to spawn in the Michigan stream in which they were born or stocked. Steelhead eggs hatch in four to seven weeks, depending on water temperature. A young Steelhead smolt needs to grow to approximately 8 to 11 inches before they migrate out to the big lake. In most streams, this takes two years. Most Great Lakes Steelhead reach sexual maturity after spending 2 to 3 years in the lake.

While adult Great Lakes Steelhead can reach 36 inches in length and up to 20 pounds in weight, the average adult size for Steelhead is 7 to 10 pounds. Life expectancy for Great Lakes Steelhead is four to six years.

The state record Rainbow Trout (A.K.A. Steelhead) weighed in at 26.5 pounds and was 39.5 inches long and was caught in 1975. In the fall and spring, we had provided some incredible steelhead fishing experiences for sportsmen and women. We know the gravel locations and runs on the Pere Marquette River and we can provide you a great fishing experience!