Steelheads VS. Salmon Species

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Evan Virnoche, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. Evan Virnoche Outerspeyz Fly-style

    Posts: 1,609
    Mill Creek
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    Maybe this is a retarded question but I am going to ask it anyways. I know that Kings are considered superior to Steelhead when it comes to holding water but how about pinks, coho, and chum?

    I couldnt help but notice that almost all of what i have considered steelhead holding water some designated that by me and other intel that guides and friends have shown me seemed to not be to productive the last month since the slimers moved in. I hooked pinks while swinging through the boulders sections that i normally fished for chromers. I even went to bobber fishing with a big bright pink stonefly and an egg dropper behind where the pinks were schooled up. I also noticed the pinks holding in anything from deep slow slots to 2-4 feet walking pace currents.

    do pinks have superiority in holding water? also do steelhead tend to sit behind the redds and gulp egg roe like i suspect they would?

    Perhaps the chromers moved way high into the systems because they hate pink slimers too?

    Salmo? Rolf? anyone have some of the great knowledge they would like to share with me or the forum?
  2. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,367
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +371 / 16
    I talked to the guys at PSFC and was told that salmon in general will push steelhead out of there lies. So i guess steelheading will be tough while salmon are in the river.
  3. HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    Salmon own the Fall.

    Steelhead own the Spring.

    That is a massive oversimplification of it but essentially the truth.
    Jerry Daschofsky likes this.
  4. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

    Posts: 1,361
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    So you guys are telling me that my chances of catching a steelhead are going to reduce as the fall comes along. AHHHHH SHIT.
  5. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,367
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +371 / 16
    Steelhead also own the winter
  6. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

    Posts: 1,361
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    Thanks for keeping the hope alive Thomas. Hey I heard you were yakking on the Sky a couple weeks ago. You alright now? Stomache bug?
  7. cuponoodle breakfast gritty

    Posts: 1,640
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    From the subject line I thought this was about the salmon fishing article in the recent issue of CCA's Tide magazine. It was about mooching and trolling for chinook, but the picture showed a guy with a flyrod holding a steelhead.
  8. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,367
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +371 / 16
    Dude i was sick as shit. I thought I was gonna pass out as I rowed the last 3-4 miles of the float.
  9. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    That sounds like a really shitty situation!
  10. underachiever !

    Posts: 602
    suburban hell
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    If you come across "steelhead water" full of salmon fish below the salmon with an egg sucking leech, bead, or other egg pattern.
    Dave Kaiserman and Klickrolf like this.
  11. Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

    Posts: 2,101
    Shoreline, WA, U.S.
    Ratings: +441 / 1
    Without giving up too much on the game, ill add a couple observations about this time of year.

    Salmon come in ready to spawn with hormones raging. Observe a group of holding salmon right now. Bucks are agitated, nipping at each other and establishing dominance while hens are being chased in circles. Just watching them for a few minutes you can sense the urgency. Every single pool from puget sound to the uppermost spawning tribs is stuffed with pinks right now.

    Steelhead are in no hurry. They are lounging at this point. They have been settled into their summertime home pools for a month or more and would love nothing more than to sit in that lazy tailout until the rivers cool, days grow shorter and the autumn rains send them further on their journey. They occasionally get inspired into random acts of aggression when their trigger is tripped, but for the most part they would rather just sit in their happy place.

    Suddenly the pinks have invaded and their serenity has been shattered by thousands and thousands and thousands of hormonal horny teenagers circling the pool. Its annoying. Agitating. Now the steelhead have become moving targets, exploring the pool for a good spot to kick back. In the riffle... Under the log.... Back to the tailout.... In the gut.... On the flat. Fuck there are salmon everywhere. They could be anywhere in the run right now, that one set of rocks or that one little crease isn't a sure thing anymore. But they are agitated and aggressive(ish) and will move to a fly a lot better than they did half asleep in their happy place last month. You just gotta find em. And then you have to speak their language.

    Tailed 4 yesterday while pinks where flopping in every direction and dying under my boots. Here is one...

    Attached Files:

  12. Danielocean Steelhead Virgin

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    The last two posts have been the best posts I have ever read.
  13. SilverFly Ancient Steelhead Sensei

    Posts: 373
    Camas, WA
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    With respect to true holding water where fish aren't actively migrating, then yeah, kings rule the roost so to speak. As for the pecking order with other species, I can't speak for pinks since we don't have them down here in SWW (not sure if that is a good or bad thing based on the variety of comments about them.)

    From what I've seen with silvers, I'd say they are dominant over steelhead, but nothing compared to kings. I've seen silvers and steelhead holding adjacent to each other in the same water, but not really "together". Seems like silvers tend to segregate in tighter schools seeking the slower/deeper water, or keying on structure such as boulders, ledges, downed logs, etc... Where the steelhead will be scattered here and there in the more "riffly" water.

    It's a different story when fish are on the move. I've caught kings, silvers, steelhead and even SRC's mixed randomly together in the same fast-water slots after a good rain.
    Klickrolf likes this.
  14. Klickrolf Active Member

    Posts: 551
    Klickitat, Washington
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    Salmo_g would know more about this than I so consider this an opinion or two, maybe 3. I've never done any "species interaction" type of study or data collection aimed at this but have been present to watch a few times, snorkling and just watching from the bank.

    Generally speaking, "fly-catchable" steelhead don't hold in the same type of water as chinook so it's not usually an issue for flyfishermen (maybe the Skagit shooting head has changed this?). This year the fall chinook run up the Columbia is huge, almost certainly the largest since all the dams were in. The steelhead run has been very poor (currently over 110K less than the 10 yr avg. of 320K to date). Since salmon tend to "school" they come in large groups, steelhead don't. When the salmon enter a river in schools they cover all the prefered lies in an area/run. I'm not convinced that it's a dominance type thing, maybe steelhead just move out to escape the commotion, maybe that's dominance? I've seen and caught both species in the same run on the same outing but it's not the norm from my experience.

    I doubt that the influx of other species will push the steelhead upriver. I'd bet they just find a quieter lie where fewer salmon are holding.

    Steelhead definitely will hang below spawning or ripe chinook hens. Steelhead may even head butt ripe chinook trying to push eggs out. Head butting has been observed, releasing eggs is the "assumed" objective.

    Don't know where you fish but if the dynamics are similar to what's happening in the Columbia tribs I'd say just keep fishing the water that you like, you might not end up with a steelhead but it will be worth the effort regardless of the result.

    Edit: see the previous couple posts pretty much covered what I was trying to suggest, agree with both.
    Rob Allen and BASS_TURDS like this.
  15. Rob Allen Active Member

    Posts: 879
    Vancouver WA
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    steelhead may be intimidated by chinooks but sea run cutthroat are not, always thought that was cool. I think a 12 inch sea run could stare down a 50 lb king any day. Used to catch them on the Washougal holding right in among the chinook.

    I have caught steelhead out of the middle of coho schools so i don't think they are an issue. dunno about chums or pinks.