Big Upper Yakima Rainbow

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Bill Dodd, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
  2. James St. Clair stclairj

    Posts: 143
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Ewhit-

    That fish from worleys might be a bit longer, but it looks quite a bit skinnier. Rib bones easily visible throught the skin. Either recently spawned female rainbow, or possibly female kelt. The body shape, not to mention the color and spotting makes jeffs fish look more like a steelhead to me. I think if you were to measure and weigh those to fish you would find little difference in length, and a huge difference in weight, with steves fishing coming in on top. Also, on steves fish you can tell that big girl is loaded with eggs, look at the ovipositor sticking out and how fat she is. Anyways, just my opinion, could be totally off.

    James
  3. Bill Dodd Bill's in a time out.

    Posts: 950
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    Yes Steve's fish looks way bigger to me, But as Pete always says ( It's not the size of the fish that matters it's the furry of the attack)..

    James you should be studying. JFK. :cool:

    Bill.
  4. ewhitaker75 Member

    Posts: 195
    North Ellensburg
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    I wasn't trying to make a contest out of it, just was putting it out there for all to see...I'm sure both Jeff and Steve had the same big smiles on their faces when they got their respective fish to their nets and that's what really matters.
  5. bigtj Member

    Posts: 280
    Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The thing that surprises me is that the Yak doesn't spit out bigger fish than that. My home water is a western freestone..not in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming or Colorado, that is at a higher elevation in a similar environment and neither of those fish would be considered "huge" or "toads". In fact, I would call a 20" fish a great, solid fish, somthing that would make my day, but I expect to pick up 20-40 fish like that a season on my home river, and more like 10-20 in the 22-24" range (yes I do tape my fish I'm not talking fish stretched out 2 or 3 inches). I wonder why you don't see 22-26" fish on the Yak. Maybe it's something with the water quality of life span of the fish. Who knows. Just seems kind of strange. Given the environment and the size of the river I just would expect to see some bigger fish than that as a ceiling. Anybody know the reason why?
  6. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +131 / 0
    Nice trout/steelie and full of eggs. I hope she has the energy to spawn.
    For Rainbow trout to get that size they have got to go to the sea or there has to be lots of food in the river.
    I vote that fish is a sea run. Yes boys and girls Steelhead are rainbows to began with.
    Not all rainbows go to sea, same as cutts, same as Dollies
    Damn nice fish!!!!!!
  7. James St. Clair stclairj

    Posts: 143
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    That first fish IMHO is a resident rainbow, I highly doubt that it is a steelhead. There are plenty of rainbows in states where there is no way of getting to the sea that are far bigger than the first fish on the post. After working as a biologist on the Yakima river for a season, snorkeling, shocking, and pumping fishes stomachs, it is easy to see that there is food available for fish to grow that big, and there are more than a couple of fish that big present. Some of the stomachs we sampled were from fish near that size (not spawning though, so not as full of eggs and fat). The contents contained numerous fish bones, crayfish claws along with many insects. Just the shape and coloring says rainbow all over it.

    After completing the study I worked on, I have a couple of theories why the majority of fish don't grow that large. The first is the flip flop. I think this is one of the worst man made, agricultural influenced, and dam controlled, ideas that we have come up with (but Yakima County also produces more apples than most countries, so its hard to deny one of our satets biggest agricultural industries water). The majority of fish feed on insects, and other macroinvertabrates that live in the riverbottom substrate. When we jack the flows up in June, the bugs spread out and move closer to the banks over the course of summer. We then drop the river over a couple of days in September and expect the bugs to "quickly move" as the water drops. This equates to major bug loss, and thus less food for each fish.

    The second reason is competition from precocial hatchery fish. Chinook salmon are released as juveniles and smolt from the Cle Elum Hatchery every year. More and more of these fish are using the precocial life history strategy, where they become sexually mature in the river in less than one season, and then wait for the big females to come back from the salt. They then sneak in while the females are depositing eggs and spray some milt. Its pretty crazy to see under water, quick little guys. Anyways, more and more of these fish staying in the river during the summer months (the rainbows optimal growing season) means more competition for food and habitat. Couple this with the above, and you get more, smaller fish. The reason a few fish do get that big is a culmination of genetics, dominance, and luck.

    I am sure there are many other influences on resident rainbow size in the Yakima that I am missing here. I guess I shouldn't say these are "my theories", because there are others that have come up with these ideas. Anyways, not "telling", or "asking" anyone to agree with me, just putting in my two cents.

    Ewhit-

    I didn't mean to make a contest out of it either....my bad dude. You are totally correct, both really nice fish, and I am sure Jeff and Steve were totally stoked when they got them to hand. Hope I didn't offend.

    Bill-

    I am studying, I am really good at multitasking...:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: ! JK dude. Talk to you soon.

    James:beer2:
  8. Jim Jones flytosser

    Posts: 575
    Woodinville, WA
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    James,

    Thanks for that insight.

    Jim Jones
  9. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,891
    East Wenatchee, WA
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    All good things to know. The more we talk to each other the more we learn and learn'in about fish'in is a good thing.
    Lets hope it last forever.
  10. JEB71 New Member

    Posts: 17
    Seatte, WA
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  11. riseform Active Member

    Posts: 1,096
    Tacoma, WA
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    nice fish...and you gotta love the April fools fishing report
  12. Lex Active Member

    Posts: 191
    Seattle / Carlton
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  13. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
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    Not to be rude but anyone that thinks that first fish is a steelhead needs to catch more rainbows and steelhead.......
  14. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,228
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +218 / 2
    The biggest contributor to the lack of consistent bug life is the flip flop. James provides a pretty insightful response based on his personal experience.

    The salmon might provide a seasonal food source for trout in eggs, flesh and smolts but those smolts also use resources as well. The number of returning adults probably do little in the way of nutrient transfer from ocean to river.

    No comment on your last question.
  15. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,228
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +218 / 2
    Of all the pictures in this thread, Jeff's is the only one I would consider a potential steelhead. The body shape is much more "fusiform" a characteristic that is useful if you need to swim hundreds of miles to reach the spawning grounds. As James notes, the rib bones are visible. You'd be skinny too if you hadn't consistently eaten in six months or more and were just living on stored fats. And finally, the color and spotting pattern appear more similar to steelhead of the mid and upper Columbia. The one kicker (which is hardly a scientific fact) is typically steelhead have a slightly larger/wider tail than resident trout. I refer to it as a large "rudder" that is used by fish that need to swim long distances. Jeff's fish has a relatively small tail for a steelhead but again, that wouldn't be a huge deciding factor. The other pictures appear to be nice resident Yakima rainbows.
  16. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    To me, jeff's fish is a female 1 salt steelhead that has about a month until spawning. The egg skiens have not detached but look fairly mature from the look of the stomach. The other fish all have got to be resident rainbows.
  17. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,947
    basement
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    to me any guy named Jeff holdin a fish is BADASS!
    lates-Jeff:)
  18. yuhina Tropical member

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    Boston-Idaho
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  19. yuhina Tropical member

    Posts: 2,320
    Boston-Idaho
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    Are you serious?!! This is not true, malnutrition will make fish small, not make them live longer. People live in the Ethiopia, they do die young...
  20. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I guess you arn't fluent in sarcasm.