Deschutes Redside or Steelhead

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by stklein.issaquah, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. You could look at carbon isotopes. There is one that is a marker for having fed on oceanic life.

    But who cares. Over 20" is money and (from an angling perspective) if I catch one while swinging flies...It's all good.
    plaegreid likes this.
  2. That's a bad ass looking steelhead
  3. did you take a scale sample? of not, then we'll really never know.

    based on size and shape, I'd say steelhead. As mentioned, D redsides seldom get larger than 20"...I've seen a few, even held a few....but a fish the size of what you're holding, gotta be a steelhead. Interestingly, when that guy spawns, it may be with a resident trout or another steelhead...either way, his progeny may or may not head out to sea.
  4. While genetically the resident (rainbow) and anadromous (steelhead) life histories of the species are the same the two because of different growth rates and feeding habits can be separated most of the time. As mentioned scales might be the easiest to gain insight in whether a particular fish has a resident or anadromous life history. Not only do the two life histories have different growth patterns it is typical that they also have different growth rates. For example on my home river a 24/25 inch steelhead will typically be 4 or 5 years old (2 years in the river before smolting and returning as an adult "steelhead'. A fish with a totally resident life history would take 9 or 10 years to reach that size. Of course can get a bit more murky when the resident fish lives in a food rich environment would grow fast; in fact if the fish has feeding access to a food rich environment it may grow as quickly as a steelhead.

    Even though a resident rainbow and a steelhead may share the same genetics because they live and grow in different environments there may be subtle differences in body shape and coloration though trying to separate the two on those characteristics is more problematical than scales or isotope testing. To the pictured fish; to my eye it looks as if the head is bit larger than normal (could be the result of the angle of the fish in the picture). I have noted over the years that on fish that have spawned multiple times the head seems to have a slightly more consistent growth than the body resulting in "head too big for the body" look. This fish looks to be a male that may have spawned before. That condition would be more likely in a resident fish than a summer steelhead. Again that difference is not definitive but supports the idea that it MIGHT be a resident fish.

    Just to make life more confusing to those that might attempt to place the fish in nice neat "boxes" at least for coastal cutthroat and bull trout there is ample evidence of individual fish changing life histories in mid life after reaching sexual maturity. There is no reason not to expect the same behavior of the O. mykiss complex as well. In fact there are examples on some upper Columbia tribs. of fish having spawned before smolting at ages of 5 to 7 years. There likely are other life histories shifts but we typically have such small sample sizes that they are rarely detected.

    Paul Huffman likes this.
  5. It's a steelhead
  6. Gorgeous fish! Looks like the typical coloring of summer run bucks this time of year but whatever it is, it's a beautiful shot. By way of comparison, here's a shot of a 24" hatchery buck wearing lots of red that I got on Sunday.
  7. Freestone, you caught that on The De-shoots? Great shot!
  8. I had to do a double-take. At first glance I thought it was a water color painting. Second glance, I'm an idiot. What beautiful colors!
  9. That is an Atlantic Salmon.

    #science'd #atlanticsalmonmasterrace #mileycyrus2016 #bieberfever #yolo
  10. I think they are all amazing. I'm not sure the words "nasty old" and steelhead belong in the same statement.
    plaegreid likes this.
  11. Thanks, Bruce. I laid it on the ice shelf for the photo - and to keep it cool after I bonked it. Winter has it's advantages.
    Pat Lat likes this.
  12. Look at those colors! good catch!
  13. ^that guys a nasty old human who's not even worth listening to, I'll never understand why we think every comment someone makes is worth reading.
  14. ................
  15. Rob, please note that that fish is halfway submerged, even though I'm pretty sure in oregon it is not illegal to remove a steelhead from the water for a pic like it is here in WA. I believe that is from the influence of sparky's law which was not around in the 70's/80's, good for the OP for treating that fish respectfully. Also, with advances in camera technology the picture could be snapped in a few seconds while the fish recovered, which most likely took a moment.
    Sorry that we're not spoiled with so many steelhead in the river that we can refer to the fish with spawning color as "nasty".

    ohhh how things have changed...for the better

    I'm a fan of symmetry
    Irafly likes this.
  16. Get off my lawn!

    Go Sox,
    David Dalan and Pat Lat like this.
  17. Pat, I miss you dude. let's go fishing. Let's go swing some glow in the dark intruders for steelhead somewhere at 3 in the morning

    Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk
  18. I'd love to, but I'm too afraid somwone would tell us we were doing it wrong, as usual
    Travis Bille likes this.
  19. How anyone can look at the fish in this thread and not see how beautiful they are is completely beyond me.
  20. ...............

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