Steelhead in other parts of the country

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

  1. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    So if these fish don't make it to the salt, what determines that they're steelhead, and not rainbow trout?
    I promise I'm not trying to start anything here, just honestly trying to get edjucated up.
  2. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    I'm in the dark there also.. Has always seemed like a misnomer to me. Likely it's simply the history of people refering to them that way. Our DNR mostly uses 'Rainbow trout' which is one reason It's tough to isolate fish planted as residents, from resident genetics, vs whats stocked from our anadromous Little Manistee strain on connected waters.

    Kind of like a 'Spey' rod.. spey is a type of casting and can be done on any rod. Rods are single hand or double hand. After a few decades the distinction blurs by popular misuse. Just try and find 'double hand rod' on ebay.. Good luck unless your browsing the U.K.
  3. Steelie Addict

    Steelie Addict New Member

    The Steelhead that are in Lake Superior originated from stockings raised from Washington Steelhead in the early 1900's. A change in geography certainly didn't change their genetics.

    There are some rivers on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Ontario that have never had any hatchery stockings, but have terrific runs of Steelhead that had originated from straying fish.
  4. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    If memory serves here ......

    The initial reason the GL area (lakes/streams) were stocked with Steelhead/Salmon smolts was the Great Lakes were over run with a scrap fish call (sp?) Alwig. (I'm sure I've got the spelling wrong:eek:) Anyway, the point was there were huge populations of these with little in the way of predation.

    Enter Big Fish that eat little fish. Most of the initial stock came from the Skamania Hatchery and one other one (blank on this one). Rest is history.
  5. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Steelie Addict- The question of whether these fish are Steelhead or not hinges on saltwater vs fresh rather than genetics. Small concern for me either way, they are a blessing. Especially the runs/fish that are shining examples of naturalised wild reproduction. THAT is a testement to some of what the GL basin has to offer.

    This is true. Not unlike other tribs in the basin other than were much closer to stocked tribs and recieve more strays because of it.

    Fred your close but Rainbows were already instilled in the late 1800's. Sometime in the 20's - 30's Sea Lamphrey made the lakes as an invasive species via commercial shipping. They eventually decimated indiginous Lake Trout, Coaster Brookies and other predator fish. The Alewife population skyrocketed to unbelievable numbers, shorelines covered with dead stinking bait fish. Coho were the first Pacific Salmon to be stocked, Platte River MI, in April 1966. Their success was unbelievable, returns for many years included 20+ pound examples.
  6. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    they should stock atlantic salmon there instead of rainbows... GL "Steelhead" as as much steelhead as the pellet heads in SC Alaska lakes in the 80s (brood stock came from karluk river steelhead)

    What gets me is the idiots in like Tennessee who think that any rainbow that runs up a river in the fall to feed and spawn is a steelhead...
  7. thesankers

    thesankers Member

    The state of Minnesota did a steelhead genetics study in the late 80s or 90s which established that the north shore steelhead are a genetically unique strain and they stopped planting steelhead in all MN streams to prevent genetic pollution. The fish have been there since the 1800s, and while not native are certainly wild. Steelhead in the great lakes were there long before the aleweves. The salmon were stocked in the lower lakes- not the steelhead- in response to aleweves. The salmon were then stocked in Superior due to their popularity in L Michigan. I remember skamania being introduced to MN waters in the 1970s in an attempt to create a summer fishery- it didn't really work. Most rivers (this being the north shore of Lake Superior- other areas are different) have a natural barrier (falls) within 1 mile of the lake and therefore it is a pretty limited fishery for wild fish that that average 4 or 5 pounds and very rarely reach 10 pounds.
  8. Hal Eckert

    Hal Eckert Member

    We have atlantics in Lake Huron, were also stocked in Lake Michigan in the 70s in a few rivers did not take.

    Steelhead and salmon runs are down in Lake Michigan now, nothing like the 80s and 90s. Brown trout stockings are down too.

    But the fishing can still be really good if you hit it at the right times and rivers.

  9. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    I grew up in Buffalo and extensively fished the Niagara river, both above and below the Falls.

    The water below the Falls is, in my estimation, some of the best trophy trout water in he world, and I have fished a lot of water on several continents, including opening up river systems where one famous film crew is claiming to be the first to fish it. Bows (Steelhead) to 20 pounds, Browns to 25, Coho to 20, Chinook to 45 and Lakers to 15. It starts in Sept and goes all winter long.

    Above the Falls you just never know what you will hook into - Bow, Brown, smallmouth, muskie, northern...

    It is also some of the most challenging whitewater in the world - 120,000 cfs squirting through a tidy little Gorge.
  10. eio

    eio Large member

    Doubtful thats true, but regardless, I'd rather fish the Hoh, Methow, Sky, Deschutes (or any other PNW river) and get skunked than catch 10 steelhead fishing in Elk Creek, PA, Grand River, OH or the Chagrin River, OH.

    ...........but that's just me. :thumb:
  11. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Trendy fly fishing magazine mostly...
  12. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Whats up with those atlantics not taking when stocked, same thing happened in BC in the early part of the 20th century...
  13. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime


    Our original Rainbows [MI] were Mcloud River, CA. They were stocked with intent of establishing a resident fishery for Rainbows. This was in the pre barrier era, didn't take them long to head downstream :)

    With the Atlantic Salmon attempts, certain strains of fish just don't seem to do well when introduced to a foreign watershed. MI also stocked summer run [latter 70's] fish, initially Rogue, Siletz and Umpqua strains. The returns were low. Skamania for some reason seemed to adapt much better.

    martyg, nice post. Illustrates some of the diversity within the region. I've never fished the Niagara [yet] but always look north at Buffalo on the drive to/from New Brunswick. Someday it will happen.
  14. Dave Henry

    Dave Henry Member

    The same reason that Bull Trout aren't called Bull Char and Brook Trout aren't called Brook Char. What people call a fish isn't neccesarily what the fish actually is. Adfluvial Rainbow is to long of a name to use all the time.
  15. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    Does it really matter to anyone? I don't here any bitching and moaning when someone catches a 22" brown. You guys go to Europe to catch your Browns? Does anyone complaine about catching trout and salmon in Patagonia? Not that I heard. How about Broookies - you guys going up to Labrador?
  16. Dave Henry

    Dave Henry Member

    I don't care what you call it or where it originally came from as long as it tears line of of my reel.