Steelhead or Salmon.?? ..please help w ID

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by BruceAC, Jan 15, 2010.

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  1. Aaron H

    Aaron H New Member

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    Very rarely do I post in threads like this, but when I see people slamming others I get irritated. This forum was created for everyone to share their fishing experience, thoughts, trips, gear etc... It’s a informative place for all of us to learn. Some will have a greater learning curve then others as they experience the wonders of fly-fishing. I don't see why folks have to make comments that come across in a derogatory manner. I would agree that we all should have a basic understanding of the fish we fish for, and for obvious reasons at that. I think we all could agree that pictures are one thing, but actually going out and catching the fish is another. There are many different stages fish go through and it can at times be difficult to ID fish especially if they are in between phases, and if you are learning. The guy asked a simple question. Help him learn.
     
  2. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Well, here is a hint. There are only two fish in the picture so right away you have a 50-50 shot of being right or wrong. Look for the tell-tale signs; black gums and heavy pearlescence in the tail.
     
  3. jpooh

    jpooh New Member

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    i went to their website and looked at all of the pictures. heh.

    The ones in the coho pics look like coho's to me. the thick tail wrist and long extended anal fin rays both say coho for the fat bright fish on top. coho's can have dark mouths too. most of the websites pictures are too low detail to really look at tail spotting.
     
  4. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    You are right about the ability to detect spotting patterns in most pictures. In the one I'm referring to, the anal fin is not extending but retracted so that won't help in identification although you are correct, an extended anal fin is a great way to differentiate between coho and Chinook. As coho sexually mature, the area around their mouths can darken along with their bodies, but typically the inside still stays white or gray. However, in ocean fish like the one I'm referring too, there is a HUGE difference in color between the gum line of coho and Chinook.
     
  5. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok, one big question for you if you've handled SOOOOOOOO many spawner silver salmon. There is one big distiguishing thing that makes me think this is a buck. That's all I'll say. If you've handled as many, you'd spot it RIGHT NOW! Hint:it's not the kype. ;)
     
  6. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Hap,

    You seem like a great dude. If you ever make it back to Ellensburg, let me know and I'll buy. I like your sticktuitiveness on your opinions even if they are wrong. :rofl:

    However, I gotta disagree with you again on the coho being a female. I have had the opportunity to spawn a few coho. Aside from the partial kype and color, another feature of spawning salmonids is the difference in belly between bucks and does. Bucks look and feel like picking up a 2 X 4, very solid and square. Hens have a soft, sagging belly from the maturing eggs within. Obviously I didn't feel that particular fish but the underside of the fish posted has more of a solid look than saggy.

    Just my opinion.
     
  7. Dehlan G

    Dehlan G Member

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    The one on the top looks like a King (chinook). Both of them don't look so fresh
     
  8. Yooper

    Yooper Member

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    Male Coho for sure
     
  9. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    OM, at least the guy fishes as opposed to being a force of negative energy on a flyfishing forum. Worthless.
     
  10. Daniel Nelson

    Daniel Nelson BAMF

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    wow...positive thread guys.
     
  11. hap

    hap Member

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    Let's apply a few numbers to the photos and see if that helps folks get past the Beauty Contest Dilema they have made.

    The fish in the picture is well beyond halfway to fully mature and ready to spawn. Perhaps three-quarters would be my guess on spawning and the timing would bear that out reasonably.

    The fish has a kype very much in the middle of the normal range for a female coho of said age.

    The fish has a kype at the extreme small end of the normal range for a male coho. A glance through the links provided should prove to any open-minded individual that male coho usually have far more kype by this stage of maturity and most are FAR beyond this level of kype enlargement before the first blush of red. That happens by the way, more reliably, later in the run.

    Coho hens tend to turn significantly more gray than males. This fish is significantly more gray than the average male.

    The dorsal fin differences are not clear in the picture... But there is NO hump and most males this red would express a distinct hump.

    Females start dangling a little flesh when they have started dropping eggs, but the lack of wear on the leading edge of the ventral fin and tail says there has not been any spawning for this fish yet.

    As to contentions about hard versus soft bellies I have my doubts the feelings would express themselves well in a photo. I understand the concept, but think I could tell that better with eyes closed and fish in hand.

    So by my figuring the fish is 75% developed color and age-wise; kype is average for females, significantly less than 50% for males; Hump is 100% normal for hen, significantly less than 50% for male; color is far more female than male on average; ventral fin, vent, and "softness" are no-shows to my eye. These are WAGs rather than precise numbers, but the preponderance of evidence is for female.

    There is no slam dunk, "100% this is a hen", but if you examined 100 fish of this color, kype development and form, the vast majority would be hens. If this does not explain it well enough for you to understand I suggest a case of refusing to see, rather than failure to see...
    art laughing
     
  12. hap

    hap Member

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    Is that what you said about the picture of the Atlantic?
    art
     
  13. hap

    hap Member

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    I seldom make it to E'burg but my father is buried just west of town. I would let you buy me a beer next time I am through. We still have a fair piece of land in King County.
    art

    BTW if you only knew... ;)
     
  14. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Hap,

    Here is my rebuttal. Color is a hard characteristic to base ID on in species and gender. Take a look at the two pictures below. One shows a female that doesn't have any kype at all and is very gray in color. Although the other picture merely shows a pile of fish that have been spawned, you can get an idea of the color. Most fish don't display a large kype either. That is why most folks use meristic counts (fin rays, pyloric caeca, etc.) as making a positive ID. Generally speaking, female fish don't develop sexual dimorphism traits as much as males; kype, color change, humped body, etc. Rather than doing this, they put their energy in somatic/gonad growth and development. The buck, in order to mate with as many females as possible, are the ones that really put on their spawning colors and develop drastic body changes. The actual spawning act takes only a few days perhaps while maturing may take months. Therefore, unless the fish is actively spawning, you would not see evidence of that (i.e., tail/fin wear and may or may not see a protruded vent) but still may develop color and kype for several more weeks. I am still not convinced that the fish is a female but I am glad we have been able to keep the discussion cordial.

    I'm not sure what you meant about your Atlantic comment except that it goes back to our previous discussion. A list of websites was presented showing different coho salmon. In one, I'm pretty sure one was misidentified as a Chinook. I was merely pointing out some obvious ways to differentiate between coho and Chinook.

    Regardless of whether the fish was male or female, the important thing is the fish was released and will hopefully be able to spawn, unless it was a hatchery fish. :rofl:
     
  15. Bill Dodd

    Bill Dodd Bill's in a time out.

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    iagree iagree

    OMJ lighten up...
     
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