Understanding life history traits is an important first step in formulating effective conservation and management strategies. The use of artificial propagation and supplementation as such a strategy can have numerous effects on the supplemented natural populations and minimizing life history divergence is crucial in minimizing these effects. Here, we use single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes for large-scale parentage analysis and pedigree reconstruction in a hatchery population of steelhead, the anadromous form of rainbow trout. Nearly complete sampling of the broodstock for several consecutive years in two hatchery programmes allowed inference about multiple aspects of life history. Reconstruction of cohort age distribution revealed a strong component of fish that spawn at 2 years of age, in contrast to programme goals and distinct from naturally spawning steelhead in the region, which raises a significant conservation concern. The first estimates of variance in family size for steelhead in this region can be used to calculate effective population size and probabilities of inbreeding, and estimation of iteroparity rate indicates that it is reduced by hatchery production. Finally, correlations between family members in the day of spawning revealed for the first time a strongly heritable component to this important life history trait in steelhead and demonstrated the potential for selection to alter life history traits rapidly in response to changes in environmental conditions. Taken together, these results demonstrate the extraordinary promise of SNP-based pedigree reconstruction for providing biological inference in high-fecundity organisms that is not easily achievable with traditional physical tags.