Native summers

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Panhandle, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. thewaker

    thewaker Tight line takes ain't no fakes!!

    From what I have heard from Frank Moore and other old timers on the NU there were definitely a spring run of fish that came in around the end of April and early May. A distinctive early run of fish that were not late winter fish. Different body lines from the winter fish. There may be a remnant population of that strain of fish and you may run a cross a fish or two in May but you really don't start seeing many fish now till later June, even July.

    We do still see a strain of fish that we call the nostril fish in the fall. A large bodied fish that has way more spots and enlarged nostril holes. Possibly a Canton Creek strain from days gone by. I believe there may have been several distinctive strains of Spring/summer run fish that were acclimated to the various tribs and each of those fish had a slightly different run timing. Now with Steamboat Creek being the only major trib left that has viable spawning habitat,that run timing is now fairly consistent starting in late May-June.
  2. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    Ralph and his friend fished the old Day Ck slough, which for around 30 years had a large log jam at the head end. I observed the remnants of it in the late 70s, but the summer runs were long since decimated by then, sadly.

  3. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Another resource, if I may add, would be Dave Carpenter with Oregon Outdoor Excursions. He lives and guides out of Lyons, right on the N. Santiam. He's a steelheader and could provide more insight if you'd like to engage him in a discussion.
  4. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Now, everybody-
    take a minute, stop, absorb and contemplate what the _G man just wrote.
    then read it again and commit it to memory.
  5. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Thanks for clearing that up for me, I always thought is was near finney creek.
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Chris -
    By chance I had just recently re-read Mr. Wahl's "One Man's Steelehad Shangri-la" he reports on that remarkable day he and his partner had "46" contacts hooking 23 and landing 15 in a 6 hour period. BTW the was August of 1941.

    Interestingly he returned by himself 3 days later to the same water and never touched a fish. In 45 days of fishing his "Shangri-la" he never had day that was remotely similar that amazing day.

    tight lines
  7. thewaker

    thewaker Tight line takes ain't no fakes!!

    Salmo G

    You have an almost reference book style memory about the history of northwest steelhead.

    I always enjoy reading your posts as they usually cut through the haze of BS and get to the heart of the matter.

    Ever thought about writing a book? I would be in line to get it.
  8. SSPey

    SSPey Member

    I wouldn't call a wild run that is listed as a "species of concern", one breath away from ESA listing, with an average run size of 400 fish annually, in one of the most heavily and intensively logged watersheds around, anything close to being in "decent" shape
  9. MikeT

    MikeT Member

    Back to the original question: "Are there any full intact systems in the lower 48 that have a viable native summer run? What is the most intact system in the lower 48?"

    I would guess Oregon's John Day River would be the candidate for most intact system in the lower 48. Huge drainage area with no dams (other than Columbia River dams).
    No stocking of hatchery steelhead or spring chinook, but likely has the largest run of native steelhead in the lower 48.
    In spite of that, there are significant numbers of hatchery strays in the system, mostly Idaho fish. Biologists are concerned that stray hatchery fish are impacting steelhead spawning success. Although the chart below suggests increasing numbers of spawners, the long term trend is down.

    Year Spawner escapement % hatchery fish
    2004 4,484 31%
    2005 3,698 22%
    2006 5,315 28%
    2007 8,689 19%
    2008 9,260 9%
    2009 7,368 6%

    (From Preliminary Summary of Out-of-Basin Steelhead Strays
    in the John Day River Basin
    by James R. Ruzycki and Richard W. Carmichael)
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    Thanks. I'd love to write a book about steelhead and other PNW fish, but I'm a technical writer. You know, the kinds of reports and documents that cure insomnia. And my memory is beginning to show symptoms of that "old timer's" disease wherein I don't get all the facts correct anymore.

    Mike T,

    You'd be correct that the JD has the largest intact native wild summer steelhead population that meets, or nearly meets, the VSP criteria. For some reason I focused mainly on coastal populations, perhaps because they always have been smaller and now are the closest to winking out.

  11. Richard Torres

    Richard Torres Active Member

    Sg a technical writer is still a writer.

    I agree with with these folks.

    The wealth of knowledge you possess and share with us could be used as a invaluable communication tool to help the fish we care about.
  12. thewaker

    thewaker Tight line takes ain't no fakes!!


    I'd bet there are plenty that would be interested in a PNW steelhead book written from a more technical position/perspective. I know I would. Always a little more to learn about those fish.
  13. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Perhaps SG and Smalma could colaborate on a book. That would be one book I would buy. Likely the combined knowledge of these two gentlemen could not be rivaled by any other combination.
  14. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

    Agreed, this would be a very interesting read for sure.
  15. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

    I would buy that book in a heart beat. "History of Steelhead in the Pacific Northwest"
  16. Andrew Lawrence

    Andrew Lawrence Active Member

  17. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

    I ain't talking about nothing.
  18. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

    I was refering to a reference to Wahl. Like I said, it was second hand. I haven't read Shangri La myself. But, the second hand refernce was made by the second author on the most recent estimate of historical abundance for O Mykiss in the PS, published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science (very interestin BTW).
  19. SG has some great info; I wish I knew what he's forgotten. As a PNW native I remember the Kalama and EFL "springers"; they were hot fish. Now my home waters are the NoCA rivers and I think the Rogue would have to be included as a harbor of native summer fish, though most are 1/2 pounders. I've spent the last 4 years on the TRINITY AND HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING SOME LOCAL AND NOT-SO-LOCALS (sorry about the caps, I'm getting in my cups) who've told me the Trinity, while best known for it's fall and winter fish, has steelhead year-round, most jet up the tributatries and aren't easily caught, as most are closed. One fellow, who's been fishing there since the 1960's, says there is a small April/May run of natives that are 2 & 3 salt fish, similar to the "springers" of SW Washington. I believe him and while I've not connected with one, it's the unicorn I'm chasing for now.
  20. You must be talking about Bill? I just saw that article today, how about those Nooksack numbers!