Steelhead in the upper Yak?

junebug41

Junior Dave Monti fan
#1
Just wondering if this is possible. While fishing above Cle Elum today, I walked up on a very large trout holding in a pocket of still water. I know they're the same species, but there was something very steelhead-ish about the shape of this fish.

Needless to say, I did not catch the fish. By the time I noticed it I was on top of it with no room to backcast. I tried feebly to roll cast and got my nymphs in its face once, but I swear it just looked sideways at me, rolled its eyes and sighed, then moved out into the current.
 
#2
Steelhead should be dispersed all through the upper system, so I would suspect the fish you saw was very likely a steelhead. There are not very man of them around but every year there are more and more, that is a good sign that some have been spotted, earlier this summer someone posted a pic of one that was accidently caught (not allowed to target them). Hopefully in the not to distant future the stealhead run will be strong enough for a C&R fishery.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#4
The Yakima steelhead story is another example of how man has utterly destoried the anadromous resources of the Columbia.

Some of the NMFS ESA listing documents state that it has been estimated that the anadromous returns to the Yakima may have been as high as 800,000 fish of which 100,000 were steelhead.

While I don't normal spend much time on the "Yak" when I have floated the up river in late April to early June I often would see a spawning steelhead or two. They were typcial sized (4 to 10 #s) of what I associate with many of the Columbia steelhead (think Grande Rhonde).

Tight lines
Curt
 

Porter

Active Member
#6
Well when a resident RB get's to a certain size...Many consider it a Steelhead....and who know's..it very well could have been a SH. Good observation.
 
#7
I too saw what I believe to be a steelhead yesterday. I was bushwhacking up the river and the fish was sitting in the shallow water sunning itself or possibly sitting on a red :confused: When it saw me it buggered back into the current. About 15 minutes before that I caught an 18” bow and the fish I saw was easily bigger than my catch.
 

David Loy

Senior Moment
#9
About 3 years ago, a neighbor/fishing bud of mine told me a good story. I've fished with him a few times and he IS lucky so I believe him. He was fishing the Yak (above the canyon I think) and for grins decided to cast to a sizeable landlocked pond (due to receeded water) on a gravel bar. He was surprised when a fish hit. It tore up the water running from one end to the other, back and forth several times, with no where to go. He landed a decent sized steelhead and returned it to the river. Never made sense to me why a stressed out fish would hit a fly but I believe the story.
 

junebug41

Junior Dave Monti fan
#10
Re: the length of the fish, it's tough to be exact due to the magnifying-glass effect that sunny water can have, but I'd have to put it in the 28-32 inch range. Just much, much bigger than the trout I had scared up around there.
 

Zen Piscator

Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.
#11
Smalma said:
anadromous returns to the Yakima may have been as high as 800,000 fish of which 100,000 were steelhead.
Curt
Wtf!!! I thought the ronde had it good with 20,000-40,000 per year, that is damn amazing! If we ever have that kind of abundance back, can you imagine how much cash it would bring to the region.

Peace,
Andy
 

Smalma

Active Member
#12
Zen -
I only mentioned the "Rhonde" as it had fish of similar size as those found in the "Yak".

Before man decent to "improve" the Yakima it must have been one amazing steelhead stream. To put a run of 100,000 in prespective - in recent years the entire state wide catch of steelhead (hathcher and wild) by the sport anglers is normally in that 100,000 range.

Tight lines
Curt
 

Jergens

AKA Joe Willauer
#13
here's what i want to know, with that many steelies that came up here (the yak), why dont we have some sort hatchery program like that on the Klick, Methow, Rhonde, etc??? all i can picture is swinging a couple of the canyon runs with a big muddler on my spey rod. it would be like a 3/4 size deschutes.
 
#14
I just checked on the Yakama tribe site and the total steelhead that went over the Prosser dam in 2005 was 3451 while the Rosa dam total was 202. So if 2006 has a similar count, seeing a steelhead in the upper Yakima river would be possible, but quite rare. BTW half of the steelhead that come into the Yakima system spawn in Satus and Toppinish creek near Sunnyside the most of the rest go up the Naches river. I have heard of people catching decent size steelhead (10 to 15#) on the Naches while fishing with bait.......
 
#15
Jergens said:
here's what i want to know, with that many steelies that came up here (the yak), why dont we have some sort hatchery program like that on the Klick, Methow, Rhonde, etc??? all i can picture is swinging a couple of the canyon runs with a big muddler on my spey rod. it would be like a 3/4 size deschutes.
The Yakama trive has been trying, but most of the good spawning ground is above the one of the dams near Easton (i cant remember which one). If the fish ladder that they have been trying to get funded arrives, they have promised to build a hatchery.