Marks on Wild Steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by lightsailer, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. lightsailer

    lightsailer New Member

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    Hey All,

    Caught (and released) a nice 12 pound wild hen yesterday. She was fresh and bright and absolutely full of fight (I'm still tingling). She also had very noticeable marks and scars running vertically along both of her sides. Otherwise very healthy and robust fish.

    If I had to guess, they looked like net marks. I've heard about the netting that goes on out on the OlyPen. But, was a little confused to see something like this on the Sky. I'm new to WA., and don't know much about anything (only my second afternoon fishing on this river).

    Do steelhead get caught in salmon (or other) nets in saltwater? Anyone know more about what would have caused such conspicuous marks/scars? Sorry, no photographic evidence.

    Tightlines,
    John
     
  2. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Certainly steelhead, even wild ones, are sometimes netted (and sometimes even released) in salt water. They are also subject to predation by seals, sea lions and sharks that can leave some pretty serious scarring. I've caught some steelhead with healed wounds that one would think would have been fatal and some with up to half of their tails bitten away, which would seem to be a serious risk to their survival. The worst-looking was one I caught on the Tolt years ago with an enormous bite taken out of his back just behind his head, it was almost deep enough to expose his spine.
     
  3. lightsailer

    lightsailer New Member

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    The marks didn't look like a shark bite, and were not the punture wounds you would expect from the teeth of a seal or sea lion. Who knows? Sounds like it could have been a number of things.

    That's pretty amazing about the one with a huge bite out of the back of its head.

    These fish just boggle my mind. Think of the stories they could tell....
     
  4. speyneznbhm

    speyneznbhm been around

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    how fresh were the scars? tribal and state fisheries bio's run test fisheries to determine run sizes on many north sound rivers always been a issue here on the skagit you'd think redd counts would be less impactive my 2 cents

    john
     
  5. Ken Hunter

    Ken Hunter Member

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    John,

    Nice fish. Everybody should know that some nice wild fish are in the river now. I released a 37" wild buck yesterday just above the Lewis Street bridge. This bit of rain that seems to be coming through is just the ticket.

    We should all thank the State for closing down the river just because their hatchery fish arn't doing too well.

    Ken:beathead
     
  6. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    Ken, I believe they closed it due to wild escapement prediction, not hatchery count. It's been that way for 3 years, I think? Certainly stinks to have the Sky closed. Let's get those wild fish numbers up! What can we do? ;(
     
  7. speyflyfisher

    speyflyfisher Member

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    If the markers were fresh as if scales were removed by nets. It
    is possible the marks came from been line wrapped durning the fight.
     
  8. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    Wow! Only a couple of times out and you nick a nice twelve pound hen! Let me follow you around and take notes.
    Healed marks like that could be from a drift net in the Bearing Sea.
    All salmon, including steelhead, are tough and survive all sorts of things. In my "The Salmon Killers," I am going to describe how thousands of immature fish are released using an Alaska model gaff. Most of them survived. But when the sports got to them on the Sacramento River, they had all sorts of nasty scars on them. So you really don't know. In fact, very little is known about what happens to steelhead. :professor
    Boblawless
     
  9. lightsailer

    lightsailer New Member

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    The marks weren't that fresh. Some of the smaller ones had scarred over. I'm pretty sure I would have been able to feel, when it wasn't jumping and near the surface, if the fish had become wrapped up in my line during the fight.

    It did start going crazy at one point. Jumping everywhere and making some impressive runs. About 10 seconds later a jet boat came around the corner. The fish must have heard it from a mile away. It went back to a more controlled fight after that guy was out of ear shot.
     
  10. lightsailer

    lightsailer New Member

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    Thanks Bob. I learned a few things sleeping in a camper van, fly fishing in New Zealand and living off trout for the last few months. Of course, most of those lessons didn't have anything to do with fishing.

    Looking forward to the next installment of 'TSKs.' Will be looking around for literature on the natural history of these amazing critters in the meantime. I'm enamored after that last hen (should I be worried?). Keep up the good work.

    John

    PS: I saw 'steelhead' on the menu at a resteraunt the other night. Are these fish from Alaska? Does WA have a commercial steelhead fishery?
     
  11. scottr

    scottr Active Member

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    The Quinault Indians sell wild steelhead to certain restaurants and to the fish mongers down at the Pike Place market.

    These are likely wild fish and the restaurants and vendors must buy them from an authorized source (ie the Quinault tribe). I would ask where they get their steelhead and if they are wild or farm raised fish.

    I don't want this to turn into a tribes rant but I think it is disgusting that they still sell wild fish (these are not not hatchery raised as the adipose is still intact on the fish I 've seen sold at the market) when the runs are so poor. If it were me I would stop eating at that establishment and would go as far as to tell the owner or manager why I think it is wrong that they offer this fish on their menu and that is why I will no longer eat there.
     
  12. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    Before anyone gets too bent outa shape, I'm not sure whether the Quinaults trim the adipose fin off their hatchery fish. I know that when I was last fishing the Queets and the Salmon, the adipose was intact on the hatchery fish...the way you told the difference was by measuring the height of the dorsal fin...the hatchery fish had much shorter dorsal fins, probably due to their getting nibbled off when fingerlings in the hatchery. Those fish came from a Quinault hatchery. Just my wild semi-educated guess.:dunno - Jimbo
     
  13. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    I ate at a nice restaurant over on the coast a few years back (had razor clams washed with a bunch of white wine)and on my way out I noticed this twenty pound buck sitting on a bed off ice in a chest freezer by the door.
    I asked where it was from and was told that the Quinaults had brought him in to the cafe. I ranted and raved and I don't know if I had any impact, but I swore I would never be back, and I never have been back. It's hard on me, this conservation business; those were damn good clams I had to give up!
    Boblawless:thumb
     
  14. skyriver

    skyriver Active Member

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    Did the marks look like this? This is a very dark photo, but it actually helps show the (vertical swoosh) mark on this beautiful Sky hen I caught a few years back. April fish kindly photographed by some nice guys from a Bellevue flyfishing club. I'm guessing net or maybe a bird when it was a juvenile.
    Stacy


    http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/dc/user_files/368.jpg
     
  15. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Driven by irrational exuberance.

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