Big Upper Yakima Rainbow

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Bill Dodd, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Zen Piscator

    Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

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    100 years and nutrient loading....rainbows of the yakima have 10 fold the lifespan of all other rainbows because the hatches are so shitty they have nothing but caddis to eat... As a survival mechanism they live 70-100 years to attain spawning size because the growing season is so short and lack of food so dire. I figured you would know this being a professional and all...
     
  2. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    It's a nice fish for the river. And I also have taken nice fish out of the upper Yak. But I don't talk about them or show pictures of them. Too many bad comments about what is caught and where it was caught at.

    We should all be proud of what we catch and to hell with anybody that doesn't like the way that it was done. It just torques my ass the way other people judge what was done even when they weren't there.

    I've spoken my piece, so there.

    Jim
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones flytosser

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    That's a good question. I have sensed that the average fish size on the Yakima is going up. Does anybody else get that sense?

    I know there is still a fair amount of poaching going on in that stretch of water. So, as in all of our streams, enforcement of the regs is an issue.

    I am sure you fisheries guys could school us on nutrient base as Zen mentioned. Does the Yakima have the necessary bio-mass to support older, larger fish?

    Does the ever changing flows during irrigation season hinder bug life? Especially during the big run up in the summer and the draw down in the fall? Are there negative effects of local agriculture, beyond irrigation, that prevent there from being more bugs?

    Does the success rate of spawning salmon reaching the areas above Roza Dam create more high protien food sources for the trout? Would the Yakama Nations desire to add additional hatchery salmon help or hinder the life span of the trout?

    What are the negative effects of all the cheap beer, poured or pissed, into the river by CWU students? Not to mention all of the coconut scented sun tan lotion. ;)

    Curt - I know you are more qualified than I to answer your own question and that there are many more issues surrounding a given fishery than harvest. So I'll ask you, what do YOU think is the reason that we don't see more fish in the 20" range on the Yakima?

    Jim Jones
     
  4. ewhitaker75

    ewhitaker75 Member

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  5. creekx

    creekx spent spinner

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    No doubt, I'd estimate that fish at about 20", an impressive specimen anyway you look at it.
     
  6. Jason Decker

    Jason Decker Active Member

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  7. James St. Clair

    James St. Clair stclairj

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    Ewhit-

    That fish from worleys might be a bit longer, but it looks quite a bit skinnier. Rib bones easily visible throught the skin. Either recently spawned female rainbow, or possibly female kelt. The body shape, not to mention the color and spotting makes jeffs fish look more like a steelhead to me. I think if you were to measure and weigh those to fish you would find little difference in length, and a huge difference in weight, with steves fishing coming in on top. Also, on steves fish you can tell that big girl is loaded with eggs, look at the ovipositor sticking out and how fat she is. Anyways, just my opinion, could be totally off.

    James
     
  8. Bill Dodd

    Bill Dodd Bill's in a time out.

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    Yes Steve's fish looks way bigger to me, But as Pete always says ( It's not the size of the fish that matters it's the furry of the attack)..

    James you should be studying. JFK. :cool:

    Bill.
     
  9. ewhitaker75

    ewhitaker75 Member

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    I wasn't trying to make a contest out of it, just was putting it out there for all to see...I'm sure both Jeff and Steve had the same big smiles on their faces when they got their respective fish to their nets and that's what really matters.
     
  10. bigtj

    bigtj Member

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    The thing that surprises me is that the Yak doesn't spit out bigger fish than that. My home water is a western freestone..not in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming or Colorado, that is at a higher elevation in a similar environment and neither of those fish would be considered "huge" or "toads". In fact, I would call a 20" fish a great, solid fish, somthing that would make my day, but I expect to pick up 20-40 fish like that a season on my home river, and more like 10-20 in the 22-24" range (yes I do tape my fish I'm not talking fish stretched out 2 or 3 inches). I wonder why you don't see 22-26" fish on the Yak. Maybe it's something with the water quality of life span of the fish. Who knows. Just seems kind of strange. Given the environment and the size of the river I just would expect to see some bigger fish than that as a ceiling. Anybody know the reason why?
     
  11. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

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    Nice trout/steelie and full of eggs. I hope she has the energy to spawn.
    For Rainbow trout to get that size they have got to go to the sea or there has to be lots of food in the river.
    I vote that fish is a sea run. Yes boys and girls Steelhead are rainbows to began with.
    Not all rainbows go to sea, same as cutts, same as Dollies
    Damn nice fish!!!!!!
     
  12. James St. Clair

    James St. Clair stclairj

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    That first fish IMHO is a resident rainbow, I highly doubt that it is a steelhead. There are plenty of rainbows in states where there is no way of getting to the sea that are far bigger than the first fish on the post. After working as a biologist on the Yakima river for a season, snorkeling, shocking, and pumping fishes stomachs, it is easy to see that there is food available for fish to grow that big, and there are more than a couple of fish that big present. Some of the stomachs we sampled were from fish near that size (not spawning though, so not as full of eggs and fat). The contents contained numerous fish bones, crayfish claws along with many insects. Just the shape and coloring says rainbow all over it.

    After completing the study I worked on, I have a couple of theories why the majority of fish don't grow that large. The first is the flip flop. I think this is one of the worst man made, agricultural influenced, and dam controlled, ideas that we have come up with (but Yakima County also produces more apples than most countries, so its hard to deny one of our satets biggest agricultural industries water). The majority of fish feed on insects, and other macroinvertabrates that live in the riverbottom substrate. When we jack the flows up in June, the bugs spread out and move closer to the banks over the course of summer. We then drop the river over a couple of days in September and expect the bugs to "quickly move" as the water drops. This equates to major bug loss, and thus less food for each fish.

    The second reason is competition from precocial hatchery fish. Chinook salmon are released as juveniles and smolt from the Cle Elum Hatchery every year. More and more of these fish are using the precocial life history strategy, where they become sexually mature in the river in less than one season, and then wait for the big females to come back from the salt. They then sneak in while the females are depositing eggs and spray some milt. Its pretty crazy to see under water, quick little guys. Anyways, more and more of these fish staying in the river during the summer months (the rainbows optimal growing season) means more competition for food and habitat. Couple this with the above, and you get more, smaller fish. The reason a few fish do get that big is a culmination of genetics, dominance, and luck.

    I am sure there are many other influences on resident rainbow size in the Yakima that I am missing here. I guess I shouldn't say these are "my theories", because there are others that have come up with these ideas. Anyways, not "telling", or "asking" anyone to agree with me, just putting in my two cents.

    Ewhit-

    I didn't mean to make a contest out of it either....my bad dude. You are totally correct, both really nice fish, and I am sure Jeff and Steve were totally stoked when they got them to hand. Hope I didn't offend.

    Bill-

    I am studying, I am really good at multitasking...:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: ! JK dude. Talk to you soon.

    James:beer2:
     
  13. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones flytosser

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    James,

    Thanks for that insight.

    Jim Jones
     
  14. Gary Thompson

    Gary Thompson dirty dog

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    All good things to know. The more we talk to each other the more we learn and learn'in about fish'in is a good thing.
    Lets hope it last forever.
     
  15. JEB71

    JEB71 New Member

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