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Driven by irrational exuberance.
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I bet the shorter leader casts better than the 12' leader, especially the lead eyed leech.

On DDs web content, he says he doesn't like those Lamson Litespeed reels, doesn't he?
 

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I hear a TRUE Winter/Summer Steelie does not have one hint of red or blush on its entire body, in my case those are rare. I'm assuming that my fish in the pic is probably a Steelie that is on its second year of spawning, light blushing at 7-8lbs. Steelies I guess that 15lbs+ All-chrome-Chevy-Bumbers are 3-4yr first spawners,etc.
Does it mean that ANY Steelie with light/heavy blushing has spawned more than once or twice? In other words the darker the Steelie, the more its been at spawning? Hmmm...


"Follow Me and I will make you fishers of Men"
Matthew 4:19
 
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Nice fish SkyCries.

It is a summer fish though regardless of its life cycle vis a vis spawning. You won't find a winter run that colored up this early. Nor is it likely that you will see one even in April with that coloration. The wild fish come in sexually mature but in most cases void of the coloration we usually associate with such maturity.
 

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Just an Old Man
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What do I know---I'm just an old man

Why have a discussion on what season fish it is. It is a beautiful looking fish and I would be proud to catch a fish like that. Who cares if it is a winter or a summer fish. Let him Gloat.

Jim
 

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Sinktip, I'm confused. Are you saying that winter fish are not colored, though sexually mature, when they first enter fresh water? And that wild fish are chrome when entering in April? Certainly winter fish don't stay bright chrome the entire time they are in fresh water. Or is there something specific about SkyCries' fish that gives it away as colored like a summer run? Here is a link to a "colored up" winter fish (speaking of Dennis Dickson):

http://www.flyfishsteelhead.com/gallerydickson1z.htm
 

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Virtually all winter fish are chrome bright when entering the rivers. Most of these fish will not be spawning until the late winter or early spring and, yes, they will color and darken up as they approach their spawning time. In the case of wild Skagit River fish, for instance, that may not be until June. Any "colored" steelhead caught at this time of the year in a coastal or Puget Sound river will almost certainly be a summer run (technically, all Upper Columbia and Snake River steelhead are summer runs).

Steelhead which survive spawning and return to saltwater quickly lose lose any "rainbow" coloration, often even before leaving the river. I've caught kelts that were silvery bright; the only indication that they had spawned being the sunken flanks, frayed fins and lack of energy.
 

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Nice looking fish w/gorgeous coloring. Reminds me of a resident rainbow.

The color of a steelhead is dependant of how long it has been in fresh water. All steelhead are chrome bright when entering a river, regardless of their previous spawning cycle. A winter run that enters in february will probably be colored and getting close to spawning in April. On rivers like the Skagit though, chromers will enter throughout the month of April. Coloring on a steelhead just means that it has been in fresh water for a few weeks or more.

Your fish is a one or two salt summer run. Like Old Man said though, it's a great looking fish that anyone would be proud to catch and whether it's a summer or winter run really doesn't matter. I just wanted to help clarify a few things.
 
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Nailknot,

Preston explained it very well in his reply. What I was trying to point out was that SkyCries fish was "sun tanned" a bit and that gave it away as a summer run fish. Nothing bad about that, it has just been in freshwater for a while. Yes you will get early entering winter fish that will color up before they spawn in April-June. You will also get crome bright fish entering the North Sound rivers in April and May that will be spawning within days. They are sexually mature upon entering the river although they show none of the coloration we often associate with it.

Oldman,

I don't believe anyone was looking to trivialize the fish that SkyCries landed. It is a pretty fish and he should be very proud. This discussion was simply to clarify what exactly that fish was: summer or winter run. In my mind, gaining a little knowledge is a good thing, no matter ones age.

st
 

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Dudes, you are all confusing me! Hehe.
Ok let me understand that the bottom line is:
-ANY Steelie with color caught in the Winter/Summer months is a run from opposite of that season?
-ANY Steelie Chrome-Bumpers caught in the winter/summer months are TRUE to that season run?

~STEELHEAD 101~ ><>

"Follow Me and I will make you fishers of Men"
Matthew 4:19
 

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I didn't mean anything negative in saying that it looks like a summer-run fish. It's a beautful fish, and I would be very happy to have caught it.

As the above discussion shows, the life cycles of the fish in our local rivers are very confusing, and I'm still trying to learn more.

Does it make a difference? Well, I suspect that knowing whether one is fishing over summer-runs that may have been in the river for several months or fresh-run winter fish may make a difference. I might expect the winter fish to be more aggressive, and I might look for them in different types of water, as they are more likely to be on the move.

Joe
 

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I might expect the winter fish to be more aggressive.
Joe
Actually the truth is just the opposite in my experiance, Winter run fish have been much less agressive, in MHO due to the colder flows. You will notice after catching fish during the summer for a few months, they are extremely agressive and highly acrobatic, making long, fast runs, and fight extremely hard while being tired. Winter fish on the other hand tend to be more lathargic (due to the colder tempatures), pound for pound, the level of agressivness has statisticly been higher for me during July, August, and September. Although winter fish are on average larger fish, they do seem to loose steam when the frosts set in, but that's not to say all Winter Steelhead are logs.
But to comment on the basis of the post, Nice Job Skycries, These are the fish that keep me on the rivers year-round, and yes, I am still on them when they all close (exploring of course). :THUMBSUP :EEK :THUMBSUP
 

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Good point Randy. Those steelhead are crazy fish! Late summer/early winter or early summer/later winter or... I love them in all ways. Those fish are integrated with rivers in ways our simple minds don't understand. I'm just glad they are in our rivers! Hey we have rain let's go fly fish for some amazing steelies and maybe a dollie or two.

Skycries: I think the point people are making is complicated simple (pun intended): a fresh winter fish is bright chrome, heck, any fresh from the salt fish is chrome (for the most part). Winter fish color up as they enter fresh water to spawn, i.e. the idea of "Spawning Colors." Fish that have been in the river for a bit are more colored. Winter fish that have been in the river for a week or more might not be "chrome bumpers" but they are still winter fish. Summer fish stay in the river longer before spawning, and get more colored. Chrome=recent/fresh. Hens stay brighter than Bucks generally. The rest is up to the funky individual steelie and the hatchery runs, and the versatility that ensures the survival of the sea-run rainbow. Awesome fish -- They are distinct spawners (not that they don't interbreed as well, and some don't run to the salt and.. dang these fish are adaptable!) So I guess a recent fish, a winter fish, would be brighter than the hen you caught, but nobody knows for sure what the intentions of your fish are. I defer to her. Well, that's my (lack of) understanding anyways. Great fish! Some good books out there to confuse you even more :) Summer, Winter, Kelt... Anyone... Bueller? :)
 
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