S. Fork Snoqualmie Rainbow - Age?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by squaretail, Sep 15, 2010.

  1. Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

    Posts: 1,352
    Phinney Ridge, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +120 / 0
    Awesome fish. Never caught anything like that myself on the SF great job. About a month ago, I ran into an older gentleman and his grandson higher up on the SF and he reported to me that 3-4 years ago he caught a 23" fish on the MF down near North Bend somewhere. With the fish you caught, that's entirely possible. He's a North Bend native and he also gave me a good history lesson about the SF/MF and surrounding area.
  2. Split Bamboo Member

    Posts: 648
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    S Tail,

    Trust the words of that dude Smalma (Curt), he knows his fish!

    Anyone know the mortality on that river? 50-60% If its around that, could somebody do the math on the odds of catching a 10 year old fish? (I was a poli sci major, lol)

    I am guessing that is more than a 1 in a million fish. Time to head to Vegas.
  3. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,806
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,726 / 0
    Good going on the fish. But don't knock the fish. I've seen pictures of fish that big on fish that used to ply the Middle Fork of that river. There are a few pigs around and you got one. Good for you.
  4. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,806
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,726 / 0
    You look about 30.
  5. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,765
    Ratings: +452 / 1
    So clearly Photochopped ; )

    Great fish- bet that was fun!
  6. Andrew Lawrence Active Member

    Posts: 733
    Renton, WA.
    Ratings: +100 / 0
  7. Bonefish Jack Strictly FF

    Posts: 207
    Kent WA
    Ratings: +38 / 0
    squaretail, what fly? pattern and size? what leader size?

    your public wants to know ...
  8. Jeff Member

    Posts: 338
    Fairbanks, AK
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    Man, what a great surprise to get on the S. Fork! Nice fish!

  9. camroy34 Member

    Posts: 39
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nice fish! I have been fishing the snoqualmie all summer and have not seen nor caught one that nice. Now I know that they are there. Thanks.
  10. ganglyangler Bird Dogs and Fly Rods

    Posts: 465
    Port Gamble WA
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Hell of a nice fish for that river, used to fish that a lot and never caught one even close to the size of either of those. Nice job!
  11. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,591
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,714 / 0
    How long did it take for this fish to grow to that size? All its life, or like Smalma said, 6 to 10 years for a wild resident rainbow. That's quite a catch for that system; congratulations. Easily as rare as a 20 pound steelhead in anadromous waters.

  12. salt dog card shark

    Posts: 2,306
    Edmonds WA / Mazama
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Bow's don't get that big naturally, at least not in that water. Regardless, one hell of a nice fish.
  13. Lex Story Angler, Gastronomist, Artist, Jarhead, Geek

    Posts: 380
    Issaquah, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    IMHO Most of the triploids at that size would have a disproportionately small head. This guy seems well proportioned.
  14. squaretail Respect the FISH

    Posts: 14
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +2 / 0

    Thank you for the information on the age of the fish.

    The fish was caught on a 9', 4 wt. setup. I was using a 9' 4x leader, with about 2' of 5x tippet. The fly was a size 18 red humpy, super sparse as the fly had been beat up on previous outings. I watched the fish for about 10 minutes prior to casting. The fish had been feeding, very religiously, about every 75 seconds. It would come up and sip, leave a bubble on the surface, and go back down...then repeat. I made a downstream cast of about 35'...mended...mended...and it hit. It took about 10 minutes to land, take a quick photo, revive and release. It swam away unharmed.

  15. Dan Soltau New Member

    Posts: 1,272
    Bozeland, MT - Raleigh, NC
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    that looks nothing like a normal triploid. and yes, rainbows do get that big in those rivers, he is not the first one to catch one by any means. most guys who catch them dont say anything... that fish is simply the product of a beautiful river, it probably learned to eat small trout and sculpins and that is the result. that fish is perfect.

    there are certain places on these rivers that have them for various reasons, almost all of them are naturally occurring.
  16. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,228 / 0
    That's certainly a beautiful fish, and by far larger than the dinks that mostly come to hand fishing in the forks.

    I'm curious though that it appears to be a rainbow. To the best of my knowledge, rainbows have never been stocked on the SF, although some may have washed down in the outlets from higher lakes that drain into the stream (and not just the SF, but the other forks as well.)

    The native trout found in the forks are coastal cutthroat whose ancestors date back to the last ice age, about 13,000 years ago. Since those pesky barrier falls separate the forks from the sea-run rainbows (ie. steelhead) in the main stem below the falls, it seems extremely unlikely that there's ever been a population of RBs in any of the forks.

    In any case, since CTs and RBs aggressively interbreed, it also seems highly unlikely that the fish in your photo is a native RB or even a CT x RB hybrid. Hybrids usually (but not always) exhibit the distinctive throat slashes of the CT. But aside from the throat slashes, hybrids also almost always have the CT's telltale teeth at the base of their tongues, which is the most accurate way short of genetic testing to identify one as a hybrid.

    As an sidebar to illustrate how readily CTs and RBs hybridize, RBs have been periodically planted into a large (~380 acres) lake north of North Bend for nearly a century. The lake is home to a self-sustaining population of CTs which have either interbred with the planted RBs or eaten them. Within a few years of their introduction, the planted RBs appear to have simply vanished as they hybridize with the much more numerous CTs.

    I'm not aware of any private hatcheries on any of the Snoqualmie forks, since state law specifically forbids private individuals from rearing trout (unless under special exception like TroutLodge). There ARE private ponds though whose owners periodically (and legally) stock them with RBs. I know of one in particular on the NF that's fed by a tributary stream that's separated from the NF by a grate. That grate has washed out at least twice during runoff, allow the stocked RBs direct access down into the NF. But as with the lake fish mentioned above, they don't form distinct self-sustaining RB populations, but rather interbreed with the CTs to form hybrids over time and seemingly disappear.

    My strong suspicion then is that your big fish is an escapee from a private pond that found its way into the SF during a runoff flood. Given how relatively sterile the forks are, the pellets a private pond owner would feed it would also explain its unusually large size.

    BTW, the brook trout that are also found in the forks were originally planted in high lakes by USFS and King County back in the 1920s and 30s and similarly washed down to form the self-sustaining populations that inhabit the forks today. Since BT are unable to hybridize with either CTs or RBs, their populations remain visually distinct from CTs and hybrids, and thus much easier to positively identify.

  17. Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Posts: 7,138
    Not sure
    Ratings: +1,228 / 0
    BTW, I forgot to mention in my post above that if you collect a few scale samples, they can be easily and inexpensively analyzed to precisely determine a fish's age.

  18. Stew McLeod aka BigMac

    Posts: 1,180
    Renton, WA
    Ratings: +90 / 0
    Great fish no matter how it made it into the SF. I have fished the SF quite a bit over the past few years and have had a few 14-17 inch fish in the past couple of years. Never seen anything this large .. makes me wonder what it would do to my friend's "0" weight he uses on the SF all the time.
  19. John Wallace Active Member

    Posts: 559
    Ratings: +62 / 1
    Awesome fish!!!! The best I have done is one alittle over 16in last year around North Bend. Great fish!!
  20. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,996
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +773 / 0
    You can tell that it's a miniature rod in the picture. This fish is actually 11 inches tops. ;)

    Kent, thanks for the generous reply. If it is a pond escapee, that makes sense that it'd pick off a humpy. A natual fish in that river would have to be a bit more discerning to grow that large.