Steelhead or SRC?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Maurice "Mo" Miller, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. Maurice "Mo" Miller Twanged Tackleberry

    Posts: 29
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
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    I fished the beach just north of the Camano Island State Park boat launch this morning and caught a nice 18" trout. At the time I believed it to be a Steelhead but others have made me doubt my conclusion. Is there and easy way to differentiate the species without handling it too much? A quick look while releasing him did NOT reveal any marking or coloring on the underside of the jaw.

    For those interested in the particulars I caught him on the outgoing tide about 3-1/2 hours prior to the low (-1.8). Water was smooth with a slight eddy current flowing, inside of the kelp bead. It was about 10' in the area of the first strike. My fly (#4 red tail, gold tag, gold chenille body, white hackle, a few strands of pearl crystal flash, a hackle feather tied back and flat over the back with a natural bucktail wing.) was on 7' leader on a floating line less than 24" deep. He struck it hard, I paused, just began to start my retrieve again slowly when he took it again and I had him hooked. Good fighter!

    Soon after the baitfish activity died down and we didn't get another strike. The seals were having a ball juggling salmon out beyond the kelp. Next time I might consider using my float tube to get out there a little farther. All and all, a good day! :thumb: :beer2:

    -Mo
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -Yoda
  2. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    I am no expert but the red slash below the jaw of SRC can sometimes be extremely faint. From my experience SRC will always have a noticeable orange/yellow colorization to their pectoral fins below their gills. When releasing SRC I leave them in the water and just need to take a quick look at the pectorals fins if it is a bright SRC and there is a question that it might be a resident silver.
  3. Maurice "Mo" Miller Twanged Tackleberry

    Posts: 29
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
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    The coloration led me to believe it was a Steelhead. Nice pink sides and cheeks. Still not 100% sure but he sure was fun to catch.
  4. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    Cascadia
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    Mo- The most reliable way to tell a cutt from a steelhead in the salt is the hyoid teeth (small teeth on the back of the tongue where the gill arches joint it) on the cutts, and none for steehead.
  5. Preston Active Member

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    Nailknot,
    As is the case with so many other things, terminology keeps changing; what used to be hyoid teeth are now basibranchial teeth. Curt Kramer thinks that most of the largest sea-run cutthtroat are actually cutthroat/rainbow (steelhead) hybrids and the basibranchial teeth are, in many cases, reduced though still present and detectible.
  6. Nailknot Active Member

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    Cascadia
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    Tomato, tomato ;)

    You're right Preston. Interesting note about the larger fish. I guess the absence of basibranchial teeth would mean a pure cuttie?
  7. pwoens Active Member

    Posts: 2,570
    Spokane, Washington, USA.
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    In the reg book a steelhead is classified as a ocean bearing rainbow over 20 inches. Thats probably not verbatum but I think the general definition is that its a rainbow over 20 inches and it swims to the ocean and back. :confused:

    Either way....18 inches is a nice fish!!
  8. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    Cascadia
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    Patrick- A fish born to steelhead parents, who is living in the ocean at 18 inches, would be a steelhead. Or else he would be a very confused young fish. ;) The 20" deal is very arbitrary.
  9. pwoens Active Member

    Posts: 2,570
    Spokane, Washington, USA.
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    NK...well, in this day and age its probably a confused adolescence so we had to find a way to define them....and until they reach 20 inches we dont define them as steelhead....atleast the book published yearly by the organization known as the WDFW doesnt define them by any other way....cause that book, written by the most correct group on the planet, is the most correct book we have :beathead:

    sarcasim throughout my post(s)...sorry for not using the sarcasim smiley :p
  10. Preston Active Member

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    Nailknot,
    Nope, I think you may have misspoken (mistyped?); the complete lack of basibranchial teeth would indicate a pure rainbow.
  11. Nailknot Active Member

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    Now Mo must be good and confused. Thanks Preston.

    No small teeth on back of tongue=rainbow.
  12. wet line New Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Burien, WA, King.
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    Nailknot, now you got me confused LOL! I am NOT sticking my finger down the throat to find teeth and that is all there is to it!

    I don't know how to explain it but a sea run just looks different! There will always be slashes under the gill plate or just behind it. The slash may be very faint or very thin but it will be there! It is how they look and that is just experience. Cutts generally have a bigger head. Cutts generally show more spotting. Cutts NEVER show red in the gill plates nor along the lateral line. If there is a golden yellow hue on the gill plates or fin tips it is most likely a cutt.

    Dave
  13. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Dillon, Mt
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    Dave

    Boy, you do pretty well for somebody that I never see catch any of them fish. Do you read a lot?????????? :rofl: :rofl:

    Jim
  14. Maurice "Mo" Miller Twanged Tackleberry

    Posts: 29
    Camano Island, WA, USA.
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    This fish had nice rosy cheeks and pronounced pink along it's sides.
    It looked rainbow to me. I looked to see if I could spot the slashes under the jaw when I removed the hook and it they were absent.

    I tried to catch him again today but no luck. A few follows and small bumps but the water was so clear I could see them and I'm sure they could see me. They seemed a lot more cautious today. Oh well, I still had fun.