Steelhead in the Salt

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Nick Andrews, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. This is a continuation of the question I asked in an earlier tread. How common is it to catch a steelhead in the salt? How many of you have encountered this and is it likely to happen again or was in a dumb luck? The one that New River Mike caught was around 22-24 inches and was clearly a steelhead. I am sure that it was a young steelhead do to the size and it was a native fish. Look forward to seeing what everyone has to say. Thanks, Nick

    Also how would you tell if it is a summer or winter steelhead?
  2. You know, that's one thing I can honestly say that I've never technically done. I have caught maybe one at the mouth of the Puyallup going for salmon. But that's about it. Most people I know have never, or have only heard the occasional steelhead caught out in the salt. Almost unheard of in the big blue in fact. Not sure why that is. I think Mike is really lucky to have caught one on a fly in the salt. I never have. Would be a blast though.

    Chances are, if it's in the sound this early, it's probably a summerrun coming into a natal stream. I'd assume the winterruns would still be out at sea. But, I'm not sure how they work in the salt, so could be a winter milling out until nov/dec to push in. Have no real idea in that matter.
  3. I have never caught one while boat fishing in the salt,but,they are caught fishing from the beaches of Whidbey Island.Bush Point,Lagoon Point,Mutiny Bay,etc.This is winter fishing,not summer.
  4. We were fishing from shore
  5. Ocean netters (commercial) catch the crap out of them.
  6. What type of ocean netters are you referring to?

  7. Commercial salmon outfits. Trey the man Coombs talks about huge steel incidentally caught in the sound. Bound for ? Skagit me thinks. Supposed to be released but who really knows.
  8. I grew up fishing at Illwaco.
    All summer, every summer.
    My Dad had a sport commercial licence all throught the 70's and we used to be able to fish 6 rods regardless of the nUmber of anglers on the boat. We would catch 50 or so and sell 'em as troll caught every day.
    The old man could write off his fuel and motel and bait etc. and basically fish for free all summer.
    Anyway we used to catch 2 or 3 steelhead every summer out in the ocean. We were perplexed at first, trying to determine the species. The fish had spots on the tail like a chinook but a white gum like a coho. A real head scratcher to us. The way we determined that the were steellies was the squared off tail. These fish ranged from 15 to over 20 lbs. I wonder how big they'd of got in the river?:dunno
    My 2 cents
  9. I think you need to be carful when you paint with such a broad brush.

    You haven't put forth any hard evidence of anything. The only ocean going salmon catching that I have ever heard of was totally illegal foreign flagged drift netting.

    If that is still happening after all these years it is a crime and a travesty.

    Now the post by Leaky Tiki and I will not put words in his mouth, but is sounds like a little hobby of trolling caught only several per summer.

    Commercial salmon fishing. That includes many different types of gear. Purse seining, gillnetting and licensed trollers. I know of one ex troller on this site. He can speak better than I of his incidental catch of steelhead.

    As for seining, the closer one is to the sound, the likelier of catching a steelhead. Not much chance in the ocean.

    Many steelhead are caught in tribal nets in the river. Still a long way from the ocean. I'm just saying one has to be careful with what one says, as there are lots of fine people making a living on the ocean in a very regulated manner.

  10. As I reread my post I meant we used to catch a mixed bag of coho and chinook (ie 50 fish a day) with the very, very occasional steely in the mix

    Somehow, I thought that that was the topic of this thread. Steelhead in the salt.

    I was sharing my experiences of catching the occasional steelhead in the ocean. Yes it happens OK?

    LT :beer2

    P.s. Our "little hobbie" Was fishing close to one hundred days between april and september. K?
  11. I totally got your point Leaky, 2 or 3 a season. That is the point I was trying to make. Commercial catching of steelhead is very incidental. Especially from U.S. salmon fisherman. Definitely happens but the numbers are very low.

    If a person wants to help steelhead survive and multiply and prosper in the ocean, work to get nets out of rivers. The Skagit has been decimated since the Boldt decision. Gillnets in rivers. Criminal decision by judge Boldt in my opinion.

    One needs to be specific as to gear type and location other than just saying commercial salamon outfits in the ocean. That is all I was trying to say.

  12. Right on Mark,
    We are on the same page.
    Gill nets in rivers are a HUGE problem, and should be abolished IMHO
  13. I don't know about the Salt but I do know Washington and Oregon has put forth a proposal to up the incidental rate from 2 to 5% for Steelies in the Columbia which is not good. x(
  14. Catching steelhead in the salt is not all that common but is doable. Few are caught on inside waters because people are fishing for salmon primarily and the steelhead in general aren't in the same depths as their cousins.

    There are some areas in the central sound that I have had some marginal success fishing for chrome. However it is difficult to fish for small runs of steelhead when larger runs of Kings are around. I was taught the technique back in the 70's by a man who continuously caught 20 or so steelhead in the salt each year in Puget Sound.

  15. I would love to learn what that technique is if you ever wanted to share. -Nick
  16. I recently read in Steve Raymond's Steelhead Country that on extremely low tides, after a dry spell, in the winter, that steelhead can be caught off of many small creeks. They hold up at the mouths waiting for water to rise again. On the low tides, they can be caught in the tidal pools. He goes into great detail on catching steelhead that are still actively feeding in the salt. This was something that I have added to my list of Must Do's. I dont think there would be a hotter steelhead than one caught in the salt.
  17. I just got through reading that too. I have to say it does sound exciting. I really would like to try that too. But I ain't gonna hump no groceries around for some ole lady!(hee-hee):rofl
  18. Boldt a criminal decision, eh? Judge Boldt was interpreting language in a treaty. If you've ever read the treaty language, it is pretty obvious what the natives bargained for when they signed up, and that until the Boldt decision they were being screwed royally. It was non-native fishing that played a huge role in decimating anadramous runs prior to the 1970s. Indian netters got blamed for it, despite the fact that commercials were taking upwards of 95 - 99% of the fish before they even made it to the rivers. Somehow that was okay in the minds of the general population (and apparently okay in your mind too), but Indian gillnets in the rivers was an atrocity. Somehow, thanks to posts like yours, this asinine misinformation survives to this day. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see Indian netting gone or cut back, because it sure as hell isn't helping things today, but blaming Indian netters for the sorry state of our anadramous runs is bullsh*t.

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