24 inch Yak rainbow?

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

  1. ChrisW AKA Beadhead

    Posts: 493
    Seattle, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have seen steelhead at least 4 times on the yak but never caught one. I have caught a legit 23" rainbow, It was the only fish I have ever caught that made me feel like quitting for the day, just to savor the moment. I figured it was about 5lbs. I could just somehow tell it was a resident fish, very stocky, and with a mouth that looked like it had been hooked a few dozen times.

    It might legally have been a steelhead, if WDFW wasn't so cryptic in their writing of the regs.

    QUOTE: "Steelhead: A sea-run rainbow trout 20" in length or over".

    According to this they would have to prove it was anadromous, not merely 20" + in length or from a river connected to the sea. In Oregon, they state that in certain rivers trout over a certain size are considered steelhead, which is much more precise (and enforceable).

    Here's a video of a female steelie spawning with a male rainbow on a yak trib last April.

    This isn't the best video I have of this. I have another which shows her digging a redd, but the other vids are too large for the site's upload restrictions. Besides it might be too risque' for some of our younger members :)
  2. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    That's awesome!
  3. patrick barta Love'em - N - Leave'em

    Posts: 95
    Ratings: +4 / 0

    "out of curiosity what is your definition of "many" fish in the 20 inch range?"

    OK, maybe "many" wasn't the right choice of words there. Quite a few may have been better.

    7 or 8 "trout" over the last 3 years?? I can document 4 of those - one of which is attached. For scale reference, the tip of my middle finger to elbow is 20 inches.

    Maybe I'm a bit unusual but I don't exaggerate the size of my fish, or the size of my penis for that matter. Let it be said though that I have large feet - you know what that means.... I need bigger shoes. I do think however that rounding up to the nearest inch is totally acceptable!
  4. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    thanks for the definition, that is an outstanding fish and photo! South to state?
  5. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 966
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    ha! is your dog biting the tail of the fish? that's amazing.
  6. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    That video is sick, its like porn, but with steelhead. The two best things in the world in one video. Watch out AEG.

    Seriously it is great to here that there is at least a temporary increase in steelhead populations along the yak.
  7. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,485
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    That video is a great illustration of the fact that anadromous and resident are two life histories from the same gene pool! That male looks like it is only half the length of the female, at most, and probably only 20% of its mass.
  8. patrick barta Love'em - N - Leave'em

    Posts: 95
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    Chris, don't worry, no fish were harmed in the making of that photo.

    Tyson was just going in for a little love nibble. You know, those labs have soft mouths.
  9. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 966
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    the fish is totally look at Tyson. he's all like "hey dude! keep an eye on that mutt, he's biting my tail!"

    my dog would def take a chomp. probably use her nibbler teeth. either that or she'd book it out of there once the fish moved.
  10. Peter Pancho Active Member

    Posts: 1,747
    Gig Harbor,WA
    Ratings: +8 / 0
    Yeah, 200 made it over the dam in 2005. Here is a pic of my buddy with a 26" Steelhead on a 3wt rod:eek:
  11. yakdrifter New Member

    Posts: 11
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    First one is a steelhead and the second one is a rainbow.
    both nice fish especially for the Yak. How about some pics of the fish in question
  12. Yakfish Dad, Angler, Guide

    Posts: 232
    Yakima, Wa, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    This is good information passed on by an associate with WDFW:

    "David, several weeks ago you told me about the large rainbow trout (24 inches) that you caught in the Yakima River. Shortly thereafter I read the Washington Fly Fishing forum messages about your fish and saw your comment and your photos:


    Mark Johnston told me last week that only one steelhead has passed upstream over Roza Dam so far this fall/winter. However, there is mixed opinion here in this office about whether your fish is a rainbow trout or steelhead. The only sure way to separate resident and anadromous trout is the collect and read scales, but the fact that only one steelhead has migrate above Roza Dam this year may indicate that your fish was a resident trout.

    Here is a link to a report that you and other fly fishers may be interested in reading, or a least looking at a few of the tables. Take a look at Chapter 5 which has the data that will be of interest to guides and fly anglers.


    I am not a member of that forum, and don't want to be because I don't want to spend more time on the computer, but it would be good if some of the people who fish the Yakima read the publications produced by the WDFW (Todd Pearsons, et. al.). They are all available on the BPA website. You might want to post the link.

    I am also emailing this to a few of the WDFW people who entered into the discussion about your fish. That fish is making you famous, or infamous ...I'm not sure which."

    Jim Cummins
    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    1701 S. 24th Ave
    Yakima, WA 98902
  13. Chris Puma hates waking up early

    Posts: 966
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    good work! for some reason i'm taking mr cummin's tone to be quite facetious. maybe i'm just reading it out of context or interpreting it incorrectly.

    can someone summarize the 142 page report? :clown:
  14. Dean Edwards Fllyfishy

    Posts: 73
    Puyallup, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nice discussion.

    All I am thinking is dam those dudes all have giant hands. I am not a small guy, but smaller that the willow man, and I tend to have about 4 inches across my palm. That is how I tend to look at fish for length, either way they are all beautiful fish. Some are just hungrier and older than the others. ;)
  15. elroostere Member

    Posts: 90
    Lynnwood, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Chapter 5 has some interesting data. Especially the variety of species observed during sampling:

    "We have also observed coho salmon, kokanee, lake trout, burbot, bull trout, brook trout, common carp, largemouth bass, yellow perch, chiselmouth minnow, pumpkin-seed, brown trout, threespine stickleback, smallmouth bass, and bluegill during sampling."

    (p. 131)
  16. Noah Pefaur New Member

    Posts: 130
    Mill Creek, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just to throw this in there are huge fish in the Yakima that are likely resident trout. Last October on the Yakima I had a fish jump clear out of the water to take an Orange Stimulater. With God as my witness that fish was well over 30 inches long. It was less than 15 feet from me when it cleared the water and it almost gave me a heart attack. I don't know if it was a Steelhead or not, but it was there two weeks later when I went back because I got it on the hook again. No, I didn't land it. Yes, it haunts me...
  17. WaFlyCaster Tricoptera

    Posts: 464
    Fife, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    So here is a new point to bring up... I read through all the posts and didnt see it brought up... so why not??

    Ok so there are a "few" steelhead that come back to the yak... there are obiviously resident fish which do not leave their home stream... But what about the other life histories here folks.... I know Curt and salmoG can give more information than me on this.... But what about the fluvial forms of O. Mykiss... or would you call them Adfluvial because so much of the columbia is dammed and turned into lake. Would a trout really have to travel all that far down the columbia to find sufficient food to reach 24 inch size? I know that that bull trout and some west slopes do this... and i know of an other lake (not connected to the salt) in which the rainbows migrate down to the larger water body to feed then head back up the stream in the fall. In this lake/river system (not to be mentioned) I have caught "wild" rainbow trout which have reached 20-25 inches... and they most certainly are not anadroumous.

    How many smaller fish(small salmon for example) and other food forms are available for the rainbows to feed on in the mainstem of the columbia and lakes behind the dams... I mean there is enough to support Norther Pike Minnows, Small/largemouth bass, walleye, sturgeon, yellow perch, and so on...Haven't we seen some pig fish in montana caught right below some damns???

    I'm in no way suggesting that there are no steelhead because I am sure there are steelhead... and im in no way saying that the yak couldnt produce rainbows to 22+ inches because i have seen it on the end of my line... but how about some middle ground here with the adfluvial/fluvial life forms? When i see a 24 inch fish that is caught in that is shaped like a football and has a pot belly on it...it doesn't scream steelhead to me... maybe im wrong but thats me opinion!
  18. gigharborflyfisher Native Trout Hunter

    Posts: 741
    Gig Harbor, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    It seems to me that the spotting pattern on Yakima resident vs. andromous trout is the easiest way to distinguish the two. I am not expert on this but it does seem that the steelhead from there generally only show spots above the lateral line, where as residents have spots scattered across their entire body (or close to it) above and below the lateral line. I have seen this typical pattern on all of the trout that I have caught in there. Here are a few of larger fish that I have taken in the Yak that I believe were resident fish...

    [IMG] [IMG] [IMG]
  19. EasyE Member

    Posts: 418
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    Those are some nice fish gigharborflyfisher.
  20. 4fish New Member

    Posts: 23
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    In case you are interested here is a link to the Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project. It shows how many steelhead have moved over the Rosa Dam for this year and last. I think that they trap every fish that comes over, so it is an exact count.


    For 2008 it shows no steelhead, but the site is only updated every few weeks.