Steelhead in other parts of the country

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Itchy Dog, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,766
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    I suppose I could look this up, but I'm inherently lazy. I was just wondering if steelhead hatcheries operate in other parts of the country (upper midwest) to "supplement" wild runs like out here?
  2. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 490
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    The majority of fishing in the great lakes region is over hatchery fish. There are places that have good natural repro but no where near enough to satiate the masses.

    Alot of the best water is above barriers so the Steelhead and Salmon are denied access to headwaters of most tribs. Our resident trout fishing [MI] is managed first and foremost in the good water.
  3. Lonewolve New Member

    Posts: 11
    east greenville pennsylvania
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Yep i know for fact living here in Pennsylvania,and also fishing New York Tributaries and rivers and i have been to NY famed Salmon River Steelhead/Salmon Rearing Facility at Altmar.I dont know much about Ohio or Michigan,Wiscconsin,or Minnesota,or even Canada.But word is that we have better runs that you guys out west.I have never been out west but guys that iknow that have been goin every year or have lived out there and fished have told me as such.Whatever,I love Steelhead /Lake Run Browns/Salmon and i enjoy the company of other anglers that also enjoy fishing for em too.
    Tight Wraps & Tight Lines
    Rick Wallace
  4. g_smolt Recreational User

    Posts: 917
    58°19'59 N, 134°29'49 W
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    Let's get one thing straight before this gets ugly...

    The Great Lakes DO NOT have "wild steelhead". In the lower 48, the west coast is the only place where steelhead are Native. Prior to 1874, rainbow trout were not present in the midwest or the eastern US. Hatchery efforts began in earnest in the 1880's.
  5. Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Posts: 3,766
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    Thanks, all.

    To avoid confusion and argument, the Great Lakes don't have native steelhead, but there do exist wild runs of naturally reproducing fish now.

    Do they clip adipose fins on the hatchery brats in other parts of the country?
  6. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 490
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    Itchy, yes many fish are marked in multiple ways. Ours used to have a right pec clip but in an effort to save a few bucks the effort was scrapped. I think this will be the first year of returns for unmarked fish here.
  7. miyawaki Active Member

    Posts: 3,240
    Kent, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +906 / 1
    So this begs the question. Why are the hatcheries going to the expense and trouble of marking the fish since there were no wild steelhead to begin with and hence no need to differentiate. Is there a movement to identify and save "wild progeny of hatchery parents.?" Is there a Wild Hatchery Coalition chapter?

  8. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,603
    Your City ,State
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    Despite the lower productivity of hatchery fish spawning in the natural environment, hatchery steelhead have been successful enough to develop several naturally self sustaining populations in the GL region that seem to be doing rather well.

  9. wolverine Member

    Posts: 576
    Everett, WA
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    I spent a lot of my mis-spent youth in MI. Fishing for steelhead was terrific at leadt 6 months of the year. I go back and visit family a couple of times a year and fish with ny brother from Traverse City. I catch more steelies in a weekend there than in a year here.
  10. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,324
    bellingham wa
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    To answer the question, Midwestern steelhead stocking is done their for the enjoyment of sport fishermen.

    As far as the thread drift goes. If you want to catch steelhead then go to the great lakes. I moved from Syracuse to B'ham to fish for steelhead. I would likely have caught several hundred more steelhead in the great lakes had I stayed.

    I like where I am.

    Go Sox,
  11. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,721
    The Salt
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    i spent a fall/winter in western ny and really did enjoy the fishing there for steelhead. there is good swinging water in places and the numbers of fish are truly amazing, especially compared to washington state.

    the drawbacks are the number of people, lack of rotation ettiquette, and stream access laws although it seemed easy enough to find plenty of access. i didn't mind it too much, but if you want scary in the great lakes area... check out the salmon fishing. it makes any snag fishery in washington look like a posh, elite fishing experience.

    i recall hearing that they get approx a 50% return on smolt plants.... so you can imagine the number of fish returning based off of 50-70K plants. it might have been a line of crap given to the gullible west coaster, but the fishing was not "fish hard for hopefully 1 fish" it was "i wonder how many fish i'll hook today".

    it aint what i consider "real" steelhead fishing, but it was fun and if you happen to be in the area during the runs bring a rod and have some fun. i have family in the area... and i try to plan trips to be there when there's gonna be some fish around (couple weeks early this fall).
  12. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,826
    Dillon, Mt
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    Well those fish don't have to run the risk of going to sea and have twenty nations trying to net them on the high seas. They get lost in Lake Michigan and that other big lake,. Superior.

  13. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
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    Great Lakes do not have steelhead, steelhead are not steelhead untill they hit salt water... Great Lakes "steelhead" are adfluvial rainbow trout.... And mostly hatchery fish
  14. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 490
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    To much for generalisation!


    There are 5 Great Lakes, bounded by 7 states and 1 Canadian province.

    Topwater, your experiences in W. New York are typical for a Lake Erie Trib. Numbers of stockers annually would truly rock you [it does me] Returns are typically within a tight tolerence range of weight and length.

    That is NOT the case everywhere. Just as the West differentiates regions and watersheds, so does the east.

    We've had wild Rainbows for 100+ years, not exactly decendants of hatchery parents. Planters are marked mostly for managment purposes, places alot of info at hand. Many MI streams have entirely different programs, some [southern shores] have no natural repro & 100% hatchery based while others recieve no stocking. Some never have been stocked and have returns, maybe not large but are supporting a few wild fish. Yes there are strong factions re managment. Many will only keep a table fish if it's clipped and direct hatchery stock. These aren't that far removed at times MI utilises a Brood Stock system.

    Edit: powder monkey, I'm somewhat inclined to agree with you.
  15. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    I'm just heading out of my hotel room to Oak Orchard Creek. I've heard rumors of steelhead there; I'll let you know if I find any. :)
  16. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,721
    The Salt
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    To much for generalisation!

    interesting, i found that the fish were not generally in a tight tolerance for weight. in the same system i found smaller 14-18" "jacks" along with fish up to 10-12 pounds.

    while i'm more excited to get back to the olympic peninsula this winter than any trip to a lake erie trib, it was a great experience and i feel fortunate to have experienced the great lakes fishery. it was nice to learn something new and have some previous perceptions of the great lakes fisheries challenged.
  17. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
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    Imagine if fishing for steelhead was like fishing for slimers. That is Great Lakes steeheading in a nutshell. And technically, correct, they are not steelhead but they will bust your knuckles just the same.
  18. Fishful Thinking Member

    Posts: 311
    Redmond, WA
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    Do any make it out the St. Lawrence seaway and actually become sea-run?

  19. Ryan Staudacher New Member

    Posts: 8
    Seattle, WA
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    Being a MI native myself and having targeted steelhead in the rivers and surf of the Lower Peninsula (L.P.), I would have to say that both Steelhead and Salmon fishing has a better success rate for those who fish Lake Michigan side of the L.P. side over the Lake Huron side.

    As for the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) not much of my own experiece there except for @ Sault St. Marie for humpies, which was run/fishing timing dependent.

    For anyone considering fishing in MI, I have to recommend checking out the small streams in both the northern lower and U.P. for Brook Trout. There are some larger lake run Brookies found by the mouths of various rivers, but the real adventure is found inland.
    Some of the stream are only like 5' wide and 12" deep, yet with the proper technique of sneak-up fishing many of these vibrantly colored beauties can be found.

    Fly fishing would be tuff due to foliage and small stream size, but using a traditional approach of long stick, line, hook/fly and a willingness to lay and crawl along the stream bank is how greatest success is found!
    I share this because it is a great adventure and simple fishing experience.
    As far as land/stream access goes, look up a local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) office and get some maps of state owned land, there is a bunch of state land.
  20. shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Posts: 490
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Ratings: +23 / 1
    Which tribs were you on? That sounds more like the norm for Lake Ontario. We call the jack Rainbow 'skippers' here. Coined by the offshore crew, picture one tripping a downrigger rod under power :)

    Quick google search revealed these numbers "Often you hear of Erie Pennsylvania referred to as the heart of "steelhead Alley". There is a reason for that. It's near by streams contain the highest density of steelhead in the world. Pennsylvania has committed to a continued stocking of well over 1 million steelhead smolts per year. Ohio stocks 400,000 in her waters. With these factors you have less than 90 miles of shoreline receiving over 1 1/2 million fish" This is lake Erie. Look at the small amount of shoreline PA has! Have never fished it..

    I can't grasp any concrete numbers for MI. Keep in mind we have shoreline on 4 of the 5 lakes and the figure will appear high. The largest numbers are stocked near populated areas [read south] Once you get so far up the northern L.P. they fall off considerably.

    Rich: No, not often. seems like I've read of some turning up along the N. Atlantic but can't recall.. Possible the river water warms to much to be appealing, I don't know.