Summer-Run Steelhead

Although steelhead fishing is most commonly associated with late fall, winter and spring, there are some summer-run migratory rainbow trout found in Michigan. Popularly Skamaniacalled "Skamania," the name of the hatchery that developed the strain, summer-run steelhead can be found in just a couple of Michigan streams these days, though at one time they were stocked in a handful of Lower Peninsula waterways.

The Department of Natural Resources raised and stocked Skamania for about a decade until the late 1990s, then quit growing the summer-runs in favor of the more traditional Michigan strain, which not only produced better returns but were more popular with more anglers.

In addition, genetic analysis of the summer-run fish showed little diversity. DNR fisheries managers decided it would be more beneficial to expand production of Michigan's traditional strains than to experiment further with Skamania.

"We didn't want them to breed with our standing stock because of potential negative impacts," explained DNRE fisheries researcher Jory Jonas.

Michigan, however, continues to stock summer-run steelhead that are raised in Indiana hatcheries. And the Indiana DNR continues to stock significant numbers of steelhead in the St. Joseph River, upstream from Michigan waters.