That red side and gill cover is just how they look on the east side, typical for this threatened subspecies. Behnke calls them "Oncorhynchus mykiss gairneri". They look just like Tomelleri's illustrations in "Trout and Salmon of North America". Not to be confused with "Trout Fishing in America".
We caught a bushel of them the other day. What I know about steelhead you could put into a thimble, but the old man tells me they always get more colorful the longer they stay in fresh water. I was bummed that we couldn't eat any of those lovely endangered Methow river replants. Rob.
Beaut fish :THUMBSUP there. Had a chance to fish the Methow one day before you. Mate from the local REI flyshop Brad Oakey took me there, gave me his flyreel, line to use, picked the fly and pointed out a likley spot. Really pissed him off when I caught one :TONGUE River Rage does exisit ..Nah just fun.. Great area up there and the locals nice. Dropped by the hardware for advice and hit the sevice station dinner in town for some good tucker! Bloody cold though for those with Aussie blood :BIGSMILE
Anyways heres the link to the pic and also one of a Chico Chum Salmon on Thanksgiving morning... thanks Brad really appreciated the fishing, hope you catch on soon mate!
Technically, all upper Columbia and Snake River basin steelhead are summer runs. The anadromous members of the gairdneri subspecies of Oncorhynchus mykiss (redband steelhead) enter the Columbia typically from May through September. The bright coloration is normal for fish that have spent a considerable time in fresh water. It's a long swim to the Wenatchee, Methow, Entiat, Okanogan or Similkameen and fish are often held up even longer in the Columbia when the tributaries remain at a too-high temperature in the latter part of the summer.
I thought some of you might enjoy a couple photos of recent catches. The colors of the smaller steelhead were beautiful. If you notice, in the second picture, my brother just hooked up. Unfortunately, as the water temperature cooled off, so did the fishing. They are still there, but quite lethargic. They definitely don't fight like they did a month ago!