24 inch Yak rainbow?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by BDD, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Scale samples are really useful, mostly for aging fish. We can then infer if they've been anadromous because obviously an anadromous fish will have a greater length/age ratio given the more productive foraging conditions in the ocean. Another way of determining the past migratory history of a fish is called Otolith microchemistry. The otolith is the ear bone of the fish and when a steelhead or other salmonid spends time in the ocean it accumulates a certain strontium ion at much higher levels. Only problem with otoliths is you have to cut the fishes skull open to get them, so its not so good on depressed or endangered populations.

    If you ever catch a fish around that size take a couple scales. seriously. you have to take them from just a little ways behind the dorsal fin and around the lateral line. These are the oldest scales on the fish and consequently will show record of its entire growth history.

    Will
  2. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0

    Not something we really want the average joe fisherman doing... especially if the fish is an EAS listed steelhead - heck, even if it's just a nice big wild yakima bow. Good C&R (or even CPR) should not include amatures trying to take a scale sample. It was nice fish - leave it at that, handle as little as possible and let it swim. Let the bios do the river surveys and samplings....
  3. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    Will,
    Thanks for the scale info about were to get them from, I actually learned something on the main forum today.
  4. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    Damn Zen. It must be hard knowing everything about everything related to fly fishing. :p
  5. Dave Hartman is tired of trout

    Posts: 591
    Whitefish, MT
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    While I'd agree that we probably don't want to be flaking scales off our fish, it's still an interesting topic. Will, what does someone do with the scales once they've got 'em? Who do you take them to to find out more?
  6. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    A good person to contact if you've got scales that you'd like read would be Kate Meyers with the UW high seas salmon program. They read tons of scales every year, so they're pros, plus Kate is an avid steelheader so she might take a particular interest. I'm sure there are folks at the state/NOAA doing this stuff too, but I'm not familiar with any of them.

    Chad, you're probably right. Steelhead and salmon loose their scales relatively easy when they first enter freshwater so sampling is really pretty simple. When they've been in the river a while though their scales tend to tighten up. Anyway I was just saying its a relatively easy way to find out if you're really curious.
  7. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    There is a new instrument that can test scales in the field by basically vaporizing them in a special container and analyzing the gases.

    It can tell if a fish has been to sea and it can even do it slowly and tell how many times a fish has been to sea.

    WWU just picked one up for their fisheries program. Too bad they cost like 25K a piece!

    JRSly is the lucky bastard with access to said device.
  8. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,047
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    iagree
  9. patrick barta Love'em - N - Leave'em

    Posts: 95
    seattle
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    Someone said that any trout in the Yak over 18" are steelhead. I'm not buying that. I've got to go with the spots below the lateral line theory... at least that's how I've had it explained by a longtime guide and shop owner in Ellensburg.

    I've released many fish in the 20" inch range on the Yak, a couple slightly larger that had spots all over their body, I consider that a trout.

    I did land a 26" fish (pic below) that I was hoping was a trophy trout for the Yak and that's when the whole "lateral line" discussion came about.

    I've got to say something though about this site that cracks me up every time. Invariably, when someone post a photo of a nice fish with the measurement, somebody always questions that measurement... you weren't there, how can you tell from a photo with no scale attached how large that fish was. You have things like lens perspective, how large was the person holding the fish. Just to be safe we should all use a wide angle lens and hold the fish as close a possible to the camera to give the illusion of a giant catch.
  10. chadk Be the guide...

    Posts: 5,057
    Snohomish, WA.
    Ratings: +41 / 0
    there's no way that fish is 26 inches.....

    I'm gonna say 26.36787 at least!
  11. Ryan Nathe Member

    Posts: 836
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Patrick Barta that fish is 19" max! ;)
  12. Dave Hartman is tired of trout

    Posts: 591
    Whitefish, MT
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Patrick, nice fish! And again, to me, there's no doubt that's a steelie.
    And I agree with you about the haters. If someone says it was X inches long, than I will give them the benefit of the doubt because they were there and I was not.
    However, there are still ways to measure the fish in a photo, particularly if the fish is held perpendicularly to the camera and the anglers' fingers are showing.
    Your fish, because of the angle, you can't tell. Except that it's certainly a hog and I'll take your word for it. But that's a steelie to me: too clean, the muscle looks too firm, and it's just too big to be a resident Yak bow. That's an awesome fish.
  13. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Pat-

    out of curiosity what is your definition of "many" fish in the 20 inch range? i agree that is a steelhead, awesome looking fish, nice fly too!
  14. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 966
    stumptown
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    [IMG]

    28.5"!

    pardon the death grip.
  15. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    patrick that is the nicest Yak fish I have ever seen in a pic!!! Nice one!

    I think personally that the fish length in 95% of the pics on this site are HUGELY exaggerated. I don't point fingers but I got to say that I have caught plenty of 14" trout that newbies I am with guess are 20".

    It isn't like it really matters but you can't deny exaggeration is really common with fish in general and this site is no exception.

    I usually don't even mention the length of size of my fish if it isn't a truly huge specimen of its species. I like to let the beauty of the fish be paramount to anything else.

    For example, the most beautiful steelhead I ever caught was a 24" hen on the Stilly and the biggest which was over 20 pounds was by comparison a giant and impressive but just not such a beauty as the 24" hen; it was more aptly described as a colossus.

    Actually a mint 24" hen is the most beautiful thing I can think of but I have to admit I am biased.
  16. Dave Hartman is tired of trout

    Posts: 591
    Whitefish, MT
    Ratings: +51 / 0

    Chris, you're the exception to the rule. . .
    Particularly when you have that take-a-picture-of-me-and-my 13" fish-look on your face.
  17. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    iagree
  18. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,734
    Doo-vall
    Ratings: +424 / 0
    I caught this fish last summer...didn't tape it, but was told it was 19". Now, that would suggest that it's a resident RB. It jumped, fought harder than any fish I've caught before. And while it does have some spots below the lateral line, it's not totally covered like some trout you see. And it's fairly bright. So, come, on guys- tell me this was a small chromer so I die happy knowing I caught my first steelhead on a fly (and on a 4wt).
    ;)
  19. Dave Hartman is tired of trout

    Posts: 591
    Whitefish, MT
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Itchy, I'm happy to tell you that you can't die yet! :p
  20. Randall Clark Active Member

    Posts: 670
    Orygun
    Ratings: +185 / 0
    There are a couple of ways to take care of the measurement problem. Take a tape measure and mark your rod at 12, 16 & 20 inches from the butt...or, hold the fish up to your forearm from the elbow to your outstretched middle finger...

    I still haven't measured what that distance is on my arm but I do know that the largest trout I've ever caught was on the Metolius and was a full tail-length longer than whatever the length of my elbow to my outstretched middle finger is...

    just my two cents...


    ~Randy

    whoever posted that pic of the Steelie next to the rod...that is one fine lookin' fish...