Hatchery or wild?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by generic, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. generic

    generic Justified

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    What is it?

    [​IMG]

    Before I get the "Don't pick up wild/native fish" lecture, let me explain this one...because I have a question to go with it.

    I took this snapshot from my head-cam video. You can't really tell from this pic, but what I can tell you, is that when I was landing it - there was no doubt in my mind that it was a hatchery fish. From the top view (when I was looking down at it) there was the obvious healed scar from the clpping process. However, I didn't notice how much of the fin was left, until I picked this one up.

    Now, I'm no steelhead slayer by any means, but after 12 plus years at this, at 20 or so a year, I think I have a pretty good eye when I'm landing these fish to tell whether it's a hatch brat or not. However, when I catch a wild fish I don't even bother using the net, unless I can't release the fish on the first try with one hand. Therefor, I don't have any picks of wild fish to compare it to, because I don't take them out of the water to get a good enough shot of them.

    Notice by my hand, with the tail curving down, the fin still barely sticks up. Which you can imagine when I was landing it, it didn't stand out that much. It seems to me, that I've been catching more and more of these "half clipped" fish over the past year or so. It's kind of frustrating.

    Have any of you here experienced this?

    The good news is, I did go 4 for 5 to hand on Thursday. 2 brats, one wild, and this one - which I released on account of not wanting to risk it.
     
  2. Jmills81

    Jmills81 The Dude Abides

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    My guess is that it's a mis-clip. I had a fish last year that looked just like that and I let it go. As you did, I didnt want to mess with the potential fine if it was wild.
     
  3. Klickrolf

    Klickrolf Active Member

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    I've seen lots of these "short clips". You know it's a hatchery fish because the adipose is "mostly" or "partly" gone. Any healed over bump is a clear indication of hatchery origin.
     
  4. generic

    generic Justified

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    Is it just me, or does it just seem like there's been more of them over the past couple of years? I mean, even with the record runs in '01 (or '02 was it), I never came across even one like I have lately.

    Yeah Jmills, it's sooooo not worth the fine I'm sure. I don't even know what it is exactly, but I'm sure they'd make an example out of you.
     
  5. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Its a hatchery fish and legal to keep. Whether the game warden feels like writing you a ticket is up to him. They can write a ticket for anything and then its up to you to go to court and fight it. Kind of sucks that your guilty until proven innocent. The regs read a hatchery fish has a clipped adipose fin with a healed scar. Not a clipped fin flush with the back of the fish. The problem is its all up to the game wardens discretion, it could be a hatchery fish with a completely removed fin and he could still write you a ticket then its up to you to take the time off work and spend the time and gas to go fight the ticket. Kind of a messed up system if you ask me. That being said most of the game wardens and fish checkers I have ran into are pretty fair when it comes to this topic of missed clipped fish. The risk is always there though.
     
  6. generic

    generic Justified

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    Yeah Jonathan, I'm sure you're right. I imagine it probably depends on the river (and or warden) as well. Some rivers have true natives and you can't even take the fish out of the water, vs the river I was at, there are no natives left - just reintroduced wilds. Might not be as big of a deal...:confused:.

    I still think it has been happening more lately than it should. Like Jmills said, I didn't want to risk it. I've never been checked, but I can almost guarantee you that if I had kept that fish, a warden would have jumped out of the bushes :p.
     
  7. Irafly

    Irafly Indi "Ira" Jones

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    Now add in the fact that you have to keep hatchery fish in some waters and this fish really becomes a dilemma. I think you made the very wise choice by releasing it.
     
  8. Irafly

    Irafly Indi "Ira" Jones

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    Yes, by the way I did have this happen once and a biologist was there at the moment. He told me that it was a possibility that the fish was wild but not likely and that the best thing was to release it. Luckily that is what I wanted to do.
     
  9. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    They clip those fish by hand and use a fingernail clipper to do it with. They don't always get the whole fin. After you have done the first 100 the rest only get half done. If it was me I would of kept it.
     
  10. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Mis-clip. I'd have killed (if I was looking for a meal) without hesitation :)
     
  11. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    What did the dorsal look like? Any time I've seen a partial clip, the torn or goofy looking dorsal on a hatchery fish is a dead giveaway. Not that I think your instincts aren't right on.

    The regs don't differentiate between native vs. wild. All have to stay in the water. Also, there's a new study out which is mentioned in another thread on this site which suggests there might be much less difference between hatchery descendant 'wild' fish and native fish than we think (especially if the hatchery fish were taken from the same native stock).
     
  12. generic

    generic Justified

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    I haven't personally noticed a consistent difference from wild to hatchery, when it came to the dorsal fin. However, I did go back and look at the video, and it looked perfect.

    Good point on the wild/natives out of the water, and I didn't mean to be misleading. At the end of that original post when I followed it by saying, "Might not be as big of a deal...", I'm simply implying that if it should happen, there may be more grace (depending on how long it was out of the water) verses some of those rivers where true natives exist, and if there has been a problem with this behavior being abused. I can usually just shake the end of my rod and get the hook to come out. That's one of the many pluses of a head-cam.
     
  13. Troutrageous

    Troutrageous Active Member

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    I've handled lots of steelhead for work, and I think the dorsal is a dang good indicator, at least in my area. Almost all the hatchery fish I see have the messed up dorsal, and its pretty rare on wilds.
     
  14. generic

    generic Justified

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    I wonder if it's (for a lack of better words) a local or regional thing. I know that may sound kinda silly, but I went back and looked at some of my vids, didn't notice any real difference. I've only had my head-cam for one full steelie season plus one outing this year. Only saw two that were clipped or goofy, all the rest of them seemed perfect.
     
  15. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

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    probably a hatchery fish but would want a good view of the dorsal to be sure....