S. Fork Snoqualmie Rainbow - Age?

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#31
How long did it take for this fish to grow to that size? All its life, or like Smalma said, 6 to 10 years for a wild resident rainbow. That's quite a catch for that system; congratulations. Easily as rare as a 20 pound steelhead in anadromous waters.

Sg
 

Lex Story

Angler, Gastronomist, Artist, Jarhead, Geek
#33
IMHO Most of the triploids at that size would have a disproportionately small head. This guy seems well proportioned.
 

squaretail

Respect the FISH
#34
Everyone,

Thank you for the information on the age of the fish.

The fish was caught on a 9', 4 wt. setup. I was using a 9' 4x leader, with about 2' of 5x tippet. The fly was a size 18 red humpy, super sparse as the fly had been beat up on previous outings. I watched the fish for about 10 minutes prior to casting. The fish had been feeding, very religiously, about every 75 seconds. It would come up and sip, leave a bubble on the surface, and go back down...then repeat. I made a downstream cast of about 35'...mended...mended...and it hit. It took about 10 minutes to land, take a quick photo, revive and release. It swam away unharmed.

www.squaretailfishing.com
 
#35
that looks nothing like a normal triploid. and yes, rainbows do get that big in those rivers, he is not the first one to catch one by any means. most guys who catch them dont say anything... that fish is simply the product of a beautiful river, it probably learned to eat small trout and sculpins and that is the result. that fish is perfect.

there are certain places on these rivers that have them for various reasons, almost all of them are naturally occurring.
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#36
That's certainly a beautiful fish, and by far larger than the dinks that mostly come to hand fishing in the forks.

I'm curious though that it appears to be a rainbow. To the best of my knowledge, rainbows have never been stocked on the SF, although some may have washed down in the outlets from higher lakes that drain into the stream (and not just the SF, but the other forks as well.)

The native trout found in the forks are coastal cutthroat whose ancestors date back to the last ice age, about 13,000 years ago. Since those pesky barrier falls separate the forks from the sea-run rainbows (ie. steelhead) in the main stem below the falls, it seems extremely unlikely that there's ever been a population of RBs in any of the forks.

In any case, since CTs and RBs aggressively interbreed, it also seems highly unlikely that the fish in your photo is a native RB or even a CT x RB hybrid. Hybrids usually (but not always) exhibit the distinctive throat slashes of the CT. But aside from the throat slashes, hybrids also almost always have the CT's telltale teeth at the base of their tongues, which is the most accurate way short of genetic testing to identify one as a hybrid.

As an sidebar to illustrate how readily CTs and RBs hybridize, RBs have been periodically planted into a large (~380 acres) lake north of North Bend for nearly a century. The lake is home to a self-sustaining population of CTs which have either interbred with the planted RBs or eaten them. Within a few years of their introduction, the planted RBs appear to have simply vanished as they hybridize with the much more numerous CTs.

I'm not aware of any private hatcheries on any of the Snoqualmie forks, since state law specifically forbids private individuals from rearing trout (unless under special exception like TroutLodge). There ARE private ponds though whose owners periodically (and legally) stock them with RBs. I know of one in particular on the NF that's fed by a tributary stream that's separated from the NF by a grate. That grate has washed out at least twice during runoff, allow the stocked RBs direct access down into the NF. But as with the lake fish mentioned above, they don't form distinct self-sustaining RB populations, but rather interbreed with the CTs to form hybrids over time and seemingly disappear.

My strong suspicion then is that your big fish is an escapee from a private pond that found its way into the SF during a runoff flood. Given how relatively sterile the forks are, the pellets a private pond owner would feed it would also explain its unusually large size.

BTW, the brook trout that are also found in the forks were originally planted in high lakes by USFS and King County back in the 1920s and 30s and similarly washed down to form the self-sustaining populations that inhabit the forks today. Since BT are unable to hybridize with either CTs or RBs, their populations remain visually distinct from CTs and hybrids, and thus much easier to positively identify.

K
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#37
BTW, I forgot to mention in my post above that if you collect a few scale samples, they can be easily and inexpensively analyzed to precisely determine a fish's age.

K
 
#38
Great fish no matter how it made it into the SF. I have fished the SF quite a bit over the past few years and have had a few 14-17 inch fish in the past couple of years. Never seen anything this large .. makes me wonder what it would do to my friend's "0" weight he uses on the SF all the time.
 

JesseC

Active Member
#40
You can tell that it's a miniature rod in the picture. This fish is actually 11 inches tops. ;)

Kent, thanks for the generous reply. If it is a pond escapee, that makes sense that it'd pick off a humpy. A natual fish in that river would have to be a bit more discerning to grow that large.
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#41
. . . If it is a pond escapee, that makes sense that it'd pick off a humpy. A natual fish in that river would have to be a bit more discerning to grow that large.
Thanks for your kind words Jesse. Actually, I released the nice 14" CT below in early August from the SF that did indeed fall for a red Humpy.

K

 
#44
The fish was caught on a 9', 4 wt. setup. I was using a 9' 4x leader, with about 2' of 5x tippet. The fly was a size 18 red humpy, super sparse as the fly had been beat up on previous outings. I watched the fish for about 10 minutes prior to casting. The fish had been feeding, very religiously, about every 75 seconds. It would come up and sip, leave a bubble on the surface, and go back down...then repeat. I made a downstream cast of about 35'...mended...mended...and it hit. It took about 10 minutes to land, take a quick photo, revive and release. It swam away unharmed.
Thanks for that but, could you please provide GPS coordinates for the EXACT location?




J/K :clown:

As has been said... Doesn't matter how it got there, it did, you caught it and it's a GREAT fish!