Steelhead are neither native to Lake Erie nor do they naturally reproduce in meaningful numbers along Steelhead Alley. The fishery is a hatchery-fueled. That is why it is so much fun to catch a wild steelhead -- a fish that was born in the very river it was caught, even if the fish fits in your palm.
Gerry caught this fish this morning on the Rocky River, and Mike Durkalec of the MetroParks confirmed that it is likely a wild fish. (The smolts stocked in the Rocky are about twice as big.)
This little fish is a reminder of the natural reproduction we could have along Steelhead Alley if we took more care of our environment and limited sprawl. Even an urban river like the Rocky could be home to wild trout.