Big Upper Yakima Rainbow

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

  1. James St. Clair stclairj

    Posts: 143
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Ok, not arguing here, just interested in hearing everyones opinion. We will never know if those fish went to the salt for a year, or if they are all resident rainbows, and it really doesn't matter, any of us would be stoked to catch one of those fish on the Yak. My opinion on the first fish is resident rainbow in the middle of spawning (look at ovipositor in picture). The second fish I am sticking with steelhead either about to spawn or recently spawned (kelt) female. The third fish to me is up in the air. Really nice fish, and my first instinct would be to say rainbow, but I recently caught a steelhead that looked somewhat similar which brings in some doubt. I attached a pic of the steelhead just to add to the confusion:D. And who knows, maybe my steelhead was in fact a resident rainbow about to spawn. I am probably beating this one with a stick here, but just thought I would throw this in. Thanks for the comments guys.

    james
  2. James St. Clair stclairj

    Posts: 143
    Yakima, WA
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    P.S. sorry I took the steelhead out of the water....my bad.
  3. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,744
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    I know there will always be freaks and exceptions which is wonderful about the natural world but I have to say that looks like a resident fish. I bet it is NOT a steelhead. I have never caught a searun fish that looked chubby and porky or anything like that fish. That even looks like a lake bow to me but that is an even sketchier thing to guess........It is definately displaying spawning colors which may make it look like a steelhead to some, but that is because our only encounters with steelhead are during their spawning runs up rivers so they all display spawning colors (unless they are chromers, just wait a week or two). Unlike steelhead, we can catch rainbows at any time during the year at any time in their life cycle.

    Anyway, searun fish, at least the ones that travel thousand of miles across oceans will always look different because of the physics involved. They look like a ROCKET. The chrome is also a factor but after a fairly short time most of the chrome is gone and the freshwater colors return but that body shape will remain. These are only the obvious factors.

    It is kinda like my ability to spot a female dungeness or a male dungeness from a mile away after working as a commercial crabber; it is hard to pinpoint the telltail signs but the mind just does it automatically by calling up subconsious images from past experiences. I have caught my share of steelhead and seen my share of steelhead being caught. Conversely after living in Bozeman I have seen my share of trout too......there are many telltail signs but I would be hard pressed to prove exactly what they are or if they are 100% accurate. Before I was an adult I got to fish 200 hundred plus days a year and definately caught too many fish for one man to catch in a lifetime and this helps me decipher what is and what isn't.

    BTW this is an interesting discussion so thank for fueling the fire :)
  4. yuhina Tropical member

    Posts: 2,320
    Boston-Idaho
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    That's true, I like to discuss not sarcasm.
  5. James St. Clair stclairj

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

    I am basically 100% sure that the fish that I posted is a steelhead. I agree with you that it doesn't look like it, but for reasons I wont go into I can basically gaurantee that it is a steelhead. That is why I posted it, just to show that what we think is not always the case. After working with adult steelhead for two season for the WDFW I feel like I am pretty decent at identifying residents and steelhead, but there are always those fish that dont fit the norm. Anyways, like you said, its always good to hear peoples opinions and add to the discussion.

    James
  6. Alex Rodriguez New Member

    Posts: 21
    Shoreline, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
  7. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,624
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    [IMG]
    look at how this fish has no spots below the lateral line / red
    all the other bows have spots everywhere, that was one that stood out
    plus it's shape reminds me alot of zen's female columbia nate fish pics


    jason
  8. ewhitaker75 Member

    Posts: 195
    North Ellensburg
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    How did this thread turn into "Name This Fish"? Is it really important which is which?:confused: I personally don't give two shits if they were rainbows or if they were steelies, but it seems to be a huge point of contention for everyone else:beathead: so I'll just wander on to other, less nitpicky, more entertaining posts (for some reason Mingo's update post comes to mind)
  9. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    Some people like to be educated on what they are catching i guess.

    Jim G's fish is one of the largest yakima trout i have ever seen. Probably the same length as the above steelhead and clearly a resident fish.
  10. Gary Thompson dirty dog

    Posts: 3,875
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +123 / 0
    The pictures of all these beautiful fish make a guy proud to be a fisherman.
    Thanks for sharing all the great pics.
  11. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,744
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    WTF Man? We aren't flaming each other or talking shizz to each other. I find this discussion VERY interesting.

    BTW, you are the one being "nitpicky" all the posts on this thread seem pretty civilized and relevant to me........:beathead: :beathead: :beathead: :beathead:
  12. ewhitaker75 Member

    Posts: 195
    North Ellensburg
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Never said that there was any flaming going on.....I was just stating an opinion, just like everyone else is allowed to do. Relax
  13. fly_rep@hotmail.com Banned or Parked

    Posts: 57
    Northern california
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Ummm, I am sorry but is that a big rainbow?
    1) it looks like it is about 20 inches. Heck he can hold it in one hand!!!
    2) He does the top secret guide trick of extending his arm as far as he can to make the fish look better. Look closely, the fish is smaller than 3 of his hands. I am not even sure if it is 20 inches, more like 16 to 20. How many of you have caught huge trout and been able to hold it in one hand, with your one hand practically engulffing the width of the fish?
  14. Bill Dodd Bill's in a time out.

    Posts: 950
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Whatever man.. post something positive..:beathead:
    Why don't you post a pic of the big ass fish you catch?
    No secret trick it might be a secret to a kid.
    Go F**k yourself kid.

    Bill Dodd.
  15. fly_rep@hotmail.com Banned or Parked

    Posts: 57
    Northern california
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hmmm, do we have a schill for Mr Joyce? Mr Joyce should be so proud of pictures of 16 inch fish being posted here. <extreme sarcasm, I am sure he has caught fish as big as 30 inches on the yak> You want a pic of a bigger fish? Look in this thread, there are pictures of fish in the mid 20's to 30 inch range.

    Believe me the guide can do a lot better than pictures of half pounders. I have no doubt that if we wanted to see BIG TROUT FROM THE YAK, Mr joyce could show us rainbows in the 8 -16 pound range, not 1 salt fish. To be clear, you do Mr Joyce no good schilling for him showing minnows when he probably catches monsters.
  16. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,624
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Calfly - with all due respect to Mr. Joyce, he did not take the photo nor did he post it on this site. no need to diss a guide like that, especially a good one, who earns a hard living doing a hard days work. he does a lot for our yakima river fishing community. it's easy for you to take pot shots when you hide behind your anonymous id and the fact you live in Norcal..... mr joyce could care less what is posted on here, but if you have a problem with him, then be a man and talk to him directly about it.

    Bill - thanks for sharing the pic, it got me out on the water the other day

    Jason
  17. WaFlyCaster Tricoptera

    Posts: 464
    Fife, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Many of you have made some good points about the pictures... sure all of them are nice fish for the yakima river.... One of them definitely looks more like a steelhead than a rainbow..but here is another thing to think about, just like bull trout in the skagit... these fish have different life histories... sure there are the "resident" fish which basically stay in the same stem of the river their entire life... then there are the "anadromous" fish which venture out to the salt water to find food for different lengths of time... and then there are the fish which venture downstream to larger parts of the river or other branches of the river to find food... or in the case of the columbia...a dammed up river which forms a lake... these life histories may be what causes the fish to resemble very small steelhead versus resident fish.... these life histories "fluvial" and "adfluvial" are common in almost all large river systems in our region.... and trout spending time in lakes do tend to have a more silvery color to them... than do the fish that live only in rivers... my opinion although a complete guess, is that many smaller "steelhead" caught out of columbia tributaries never made it down to the saltwater at all.... if you consider how far they had to swim and how many rich food sources they pass... a fish that leaves the homeriver as a smolt (10-13 inches) and returns a year later and is only (18-25inches) inches probably could have eaten pretty well off down migrating salmon and other food forms in a reservoir... or even in the main stream of the columbia.
    To me this seems like a viable alternative to the black and white argument of Resident or steelhead...
    again..not saying its not a steelhead..because it does look like one... but just presenting more alternatives to the argument
  18. Jergens AKA Joe Willauer

    Posts: 2,141
    Twin Bridges, MT
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    To clear things up for you: The yakima does not have a significant steelhead run (approx. 100-300 strays/year) , so this fish is not a "half pounder" it is a resident rainbow. A rainbow in the 8-16lbs range does not exist in this river.
  19. scottr Active Member

    Posts: 446
    Chasing trout and birds
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    How do you know this? Not questioning so much as curious.

    I have personally seen/caught very large rainbows and observed steelhead in the upper yak. I am guessing steelhead are rare but why is this since similar rivers have large runs (methow, wentachee, etc)? The dams? Less need for fish to be anadromous like the in case of the Cedar?
  20. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,218
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +197 / 2
    Joe knows this because there is a fish ladder on Roza dam that can accurately count the number of returning adult steelhead to the upper Yakima. The other rivers you mention have hundreds of thousands of hatchery smolts released into their respective waters by which a certain percent return as adults. The Yakima has very little if any additional hatchery smolts released into the river. Historically, I believe the Wenatchee and Methow rivers naturally had more steelhead than the Yakima. Dams? Wenatchee and Methow river steelhead have 3 and 5 more mainstem Columbia dams to cross than Yakima steelhead.