Steelhead in other parts of the country

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Itchy Dog, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Location:
    The Salt
    To much for generalisation!

    interesting, i found that the fish were not generally in a tight tolerance for weight. in the same system i found smaller 14-18" "jacks" along with fish up to 10-12 pounds.

    while i'm more excited to get back to the olympic peninsula this winter than any trip to a lake erie trib, it was a great experience and i feel fortunate to have experienced the great lakes fishery. it was nice to learn something new and have some previous perceptions of the great lakes fisheries challenged.
     
  2. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Messages:
    2,051
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    Washington
    Imagine if fishing for steelhead was like fishing for slimers. That is Great Lakes steeheading in a nutshell. And technically, correct, they are not steelhead but they will bust your knuckles just the same.
     
  3. Fishful Thinking

    Fishful Thinking Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Redmond, WA
    Do any make it out the St. Lawrence seaway and actually become sea-run?

    Rich
     
  4. Ryan Staudacher

    Ryan Staudacher New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Being a MI native myself and having targeted steelhead in the rivers and surf of the Lower Peninsula (L.P.), I would have to say that both Steelhead and Salmon fishing has a better success rate for those who fish Lake Michigan side of the L.P. side over the Lake Huron side.

    As for the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) not much of my own experiece there except for @ Sault St. Marie for humpies, which was run/fishing timing dependent.

    For anyone considering fishing in MI, I have to recommend checking out the small streams in both the northern lower and U.P. for Brook Trout. There are some larger lake run Brookies found by the mouths of various rivers, but the real adventure is found inland.
    Some of the stream are only like 5' wide and 12" deep, yet with the proper technique of sneak-up fishing many of these vibrantly colored beauties can be found.

    Fly fishing would be tuff due to foliage and small stream size, but using a traditional approach of long stick, line, hook/fly and a willingness to lay and crawl along the stream bank is how greatest success is found!
    I share this because it is a great adventure and simple fishing experience.
    As far as land/stream access goes, look up a local DNR (Department of Natural Resources) office and get some maps of state owned land, there is a bunch of state land.
     
  5. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Which tribs were you on? That sounds more like the norm for Lake Ontario. We call the jack Rainbow 'skippers' here. Coined by the offshore crew, picture one tripping a downrigger rod under power :)

    Quick google search revealed these numbers "Often you hear of Erie Pennsylvania referred to as the heart of "steelhead Alley". There is a reason for that. It's near by streams contain the highest density of steelhead in the world. Pennsylvania has committed to a continued stocking of well over 1 million steelhead smolts per year. Ohio stocks 400,000 in her waters. With these factors you have less than 90 miles of shoreline receiving over 1 1/2 million fish" This is lake Erie. Look at the small amount of shoreline PA has! Have never fished it..

    I can't grasp any concrete numbers for MI. Keep in mind we have shoreline on 4 of the 5 lakes and the figure will appear high. The largest numbers are stocked near populated areas [read south] Once you get so far up the northern L.P. they fall off considerably.

    Rich: No, not often. seems like I've read of some turning up along the N. Atlantic but can't recall.. Possible the river water warms to much to be appealing, I don't know.
     
  6. Itchy Dog

    Itchy Dog Some call me Kirk Werner

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Messages:
    3,895
    Likes Received:
    554
    Location:
    Doo-vall
    Home Page:
    So if these fish don't make it to the salt, what determines that they're steelhead, and not rainbow trout?
    I promise I'm not trying to start anything here, just honestly trying to get edjucated up.
     
  7. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    I'm in the dark there also.. Has always seemed like a misnomer to me. Likely it's simply the history of people refering to them that way. Our DNR mostly uses 'Rainbow trout' which is one reason It's tough to isolate fish planted as residents, from resident genetics, vs whats stocked from our anadromous Little Manistee strain on connected waters.

    Kind of like a 'Spey' rod.. spey is a type of casting and can be done on any rod. Rods are single hand or double hand. After a few decades the distinction blurs by popular misuse. Just try and find 'double hand rod' on ebay.. Good luck unless your browsing the U.K.
     
  8. Steelie Addict

    Steelie Addict New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kirkland WA
    Shotgunner,
    The Steelhead that are in Lake Superior originated from stockings raised from Washington Steelhead in the early 1900's. A change in geography certainly didn't change their genetics.

    There are some rivers on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Ontario that have never had any hatchery stockings, but have terrific runs of Steelhead that had originated from straying fish.
    SA
     
  9. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Messages:
    3,157
    Likes Received:
    139
    Location:
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    If memory serves here ......

    The initial reason the GL area (lakes/streams) were stocked with Steelhead/Salmon smolts was the Great Lakes were over run with a scrap fish call (sp?) Alwig. (I'm sure I've got the spelling wrong:eek:) Anyway, the point was there were huge populations of these with little in the way of predation.

    Enter Big Fish that eat little fish. Most of the initial stock came from the Skamania Hatchery and one other one (blank on this one). Rest is history.
     
  10. shotgunner

    shotgunner Anywhere ~ Anytime

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Messages:
    835
    Likes Received:
    240
    Location:
    45th Parallel NW Michigan
    Steelie Addict- The question of whether these fish are Steelhead or not hinges on saltwater vs fresh rather than genetics. Small concern for me either way, they are a blessing. Especially the runs/fish that are shining examples of naturalised wild reproduction. THAT is a testement to some of what the GL basin has to offer.

    This is true. Not unlike other tribs in the basin other than were much closer to stocked tribs and recieve more strays because of it.

    Fred your close but Rainbows were already instilled in the late 1800's. Sometime in the 20's - 30's Sea Lamphrey made the lakes as an invasive species via commercial shipping. They eventually decimated indiginous Lake Trout, Coaster Brookies and other predator fish. The Alewife population skyrocketed to unbelievable numbers, shorelines covered with dead stinking bait fish. Coho were the first Pacific Salmon to be stocked, Platte River MI, in April 1966. Their success was unbelievable, returns for many years included 20+ pound examples.
     
  11. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    112
    Location:
    Eagle River, Alaska
    they should stock atlantic salmon there instead of rainbows... GL "Steelhead" as as much steelhead as the pellet heads in SC Alaska lakes in the 80s (brood stock came from karluk river steelhead)

    What gets me is the idiots in like Tennessee who think that any rainbow that runs up a river in the fall to feed and spawn is a steelhead...
     
  12. thesankers

    thesankers Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Richland, WA
    The state of Minnesota did a steelhead genetics study in the late 80s or 90s which established that the north shore steelhead are a genetically unique strain and they stopped planting steelhead in all MN streams to prevent genetic pollution. The fish have been there since the 1800s, and while not native are certainly wild. Steelhead in the great lakes were there long before the aleweves. The salmon were stocked in the lower lakes- not the steelhead- in response to aleweves. The salmon were then stocked in Superior due to their popularity in L Michigan. I remember skamania being introduced to MN waters in the 1970s in an attempt to create a summer fishery- it didn't really work. Most rivers (this being the north shore of Lake Superior- other areas are different) have a natural barrier (falls) within 1 mile of the lake and therefore it is a pretty limited fishery for wild fish that that average 4 or 5 pounds and very rarely reach 10 pounds.
     
  13. Hal Eckert

    Hal Eckert Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Messages:
    945
    Likes Received:
    145
    Location:
    West GLs
    We have atlantics in Lake Huron, were also stocked in Lake Michigan in the 70s in a few rivers did not take.

    Steelhead and salmon runs are down in Lake Michigan now, nothing like the 80s and 90s. Brown trout stockings are down too.

    But the fishing can still be really good if you hit it at the right times and rivers.

    :beer2:
     
  14. martyg

    martyg Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    161
    Location:
    The world at large
    I grew up in Buffalo and extensively fished the Niagara river, both above and below the Falls.

    The water below the Falls is, in my estimation, some of the best trophy trout water in he world, and I have fished a lot of water on several continents, including opening up river systems where one famous film crew is claiming to be the first to fish it. Bows (Steelhead) to 20 pounds, Browns to 25, Coho to 20, Chinook to 45 and Lakers to 15. It starts in Sept and goes all winter long.

    Above the Falls you just never know what you will hook into - Bow, Brown, smallmouth, muskie, northern...

    It is also some of the most challenging whitewater in the world - 120,000 cfs squirting through a tidy little Gorge.
     
  15. eio

    eio Large member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ballardopolis, WA
    Doubtful thats true, but regardless, I'd rather fish the Hoh, Methow, Sky, Deschutes (or any other PNW river) and get skunked than catch 10 steelhead fishing in Elk Creek, PA, Grand River, OH or the Chagrin River, OH.

    ...........but that's just me. :thumb: