Wenatchee open to Steelheading

#4
surprisingly it has been pretty mellow, have heard of few nates being caught so far, guessing not many hatchery fish left in the system.

random wenatchee river steelhead question, but does anyone know if the hatchery fish will pass through lake wenatchee and continue onto the tribs (lil' wetsnatch and white river) like the wilds? or does the lake act as a barrier? have heard rumors this occurs on the quinault
 

BDD

Active Member
#5
random wenatchee river steelhead question, but does anyone know if the hatchery fish will pass through lake wenatchee and continue onto the tribs (lil' wetsnatch and white river) like the wilds? or does the lake act as a barrier? have heard rumors this occurs on the quinault
Yeah, they can and are called strays. It is a big problem with spring Chinook in the Wenatchee and its tribs, primarily the Chiwawa. Often they are culled at Tumwater Dam to try and keep them off the spawning grounds but I don't think they operate the trap in the spring for steelhead so hatchery strays from anywhere can migrate up the lake to the White or Little Wenatchee. Of course, the fishery is designed to remove hatchery fish, including strays but unfortunately, we don't catch them all.
 
#6
What's the deal with all the unmarked hatchery fish? If they aren't all gonna be clipped then I'm curious what the point of all the worry is about removing the brats?

Or is the botched dorsal, ragged fins and rounded noses a new trait of wild Columbia trib steelhead? Here's one from Sunday, seemed obvious to me despite the adipose... See it a lot but maybe I suck.
 

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#8
What's the deal with all the unmarked hatchery fish? If they aren't all gonna be clipped then I'm curious what the point of all the worry is about removing the brats?

Or is the botched dorsal, ragged fins and rounded noses a new trait of wild Columbia trib steelhead? Here's one from Sunday, seemed obvious to me despite the adipose... See it a lot but maybe I suck.
I was kind of curious about this myself. I caught a few on the Methow River back in October that had an appearance similar to what you described. Yet, they still had an intact adipose fins.
 
#9
I don't take a lot of pics on the col tribs but scanning through the ones I do have, the funky dorsal seems to be really really common even on otherwise "clean" fish. I never noticed that before I guess. But others definitely have shredded or worn fins (like the pic) and really stand out in appearance from the vibrantly spotted and colored fish I perceive to be truly wild. Who knows, that's a lot of dams and such to navigate. And with all the harvest along their route maybe we just get to sample what remains. Either way seems like a lot of fish. But maybe I'm just good at catching manky steelhead. But if they need help clipping fish I would get outta the house for a day and go help.
 
#10
What's the deal with all the unmarked hatchery fish? If they aren't all gonna be clipped then I'm curious what the point of all the worry is about removing the brats?

Or is the botched dorsal, ragged fins and rounded noses a new trait of wild Columbia trib steelhead? Here's one from Sunday, seemed obvious to me despite the adipose... See it a lot but maybe I suck.
I caught well over a dozen unclipped hatches this past fall. Including several with ad-intact, but a clipped pec fin (can't whack them).
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#11
Jake,

Yes, hatchery fish might stray above Lake Wenatchee, but the numbers that do are probably quite small. Generally the farther a place is from the point of origin of a hatchery fish, the lower the probability that it will stray there, meaning most straying occurs farther downstream and closer to the hatchery at Wells Dam.

Sean,

Groups of unmarked hatchery fish are released so that the interception rate of those fish can be compared to that of the marked fish. This is necessary to estimate the survival benefit to the unmarked wild fish. In addition, because not enough wild fish survive to maintain or recover the populations of mid-C steelhead in most years, unmarked hatchery fish are relied upon to augment natural spawning escapement, particularly in lower than average survival years.

Sg
 
#12
Jake,

Yes, hatchery fish might stray above Lake Wenatchee, but the numbers that do are probably quite small. Generally the farther a place is from the point of origin of a hatchery fish, the lower the probability that it will stray there, meaning most straying occurs farther downstream and closer to the hatchery at Wells Dam.

Sean,

Groups of unmarked hatchery fish are released so that the interception rate of those fish can be compared to that of the marked fish. This is necessary to estimate the survival benefit to the unmarked wild fish. In addition, because not enough wild fish survive to maintain or recover the populations of mid-C steelhead in most years, unmarked hatchery fish are relied upon to augment natural spawning escapement, particularly in lower than average survival years.

Sg
Thanks Sg, I've heard that the PUD is responsible for a majority of the unclipped hatches in the wenatchee, any truth to that?

edit:
Yeah, they can and are called strays. It is a big problem with spring Chinook in the Wenatchee and its tribs, primarily the Chiwawa. Often they are culled at Tumwater Dam to try and keep them off the spawning grounds but I don't think they operate the trap in the spring for steelhead so hatchery strays from anywhere can migrate up the lake to the White or Little Wenatchee. Of course, the fishery is designed to remove hatchery fish, including strays but unfortunately, we don't catch them all.
Thanks for the reply!
 
#13
Sean,

Groups of unmarked hatchery fish are released so that the interception rate of those fish can be compared to that of the marked fish. This is necessary to estimate the survival benefit to the unmarked wild fish. In addition, because not enough wild fish survive to maintain or recover the populations of mid-C steelhead in most years, unmarked hatchery fish are relied upon to augment natural spawning escapement, particularly in lower than average survival years.

Sg
Thanks for the reply. Interesting info as usual! I will learn to love the ugly ones I guess... or lie and say they were pretty.