Deschutes Redside or Steelhead

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

  1. Fish are food. And I realize we'll get nowhere in this chat. So I will stop contributing to this tail chasing conversation.
  2. Irony... You can take your own advice and STFU anytime;)
    Pat Lat and cabezon like this.
  3. No blood, no foul. You're OK in my book.

  4. Rob, don’t judge a horse or steelhead by its colors. If today, you caught a dime bright steelhead out in the ocean would you consider it a "nasty old steelhead"? If not, why? If that fish enters its home river next month, it is currently just as many months away from spawning as are the summer 'redband' steelhead in the Columbia system. Redbands did not get their name from having a dime bright appearance. The coloration of Columbia basin redband trout/steelhead does not indicate that it is an old boot, past its prime, nasty or any such thing as these fish are months away from spawning and are not sexually mature yet. The red coloration is an example of their secondary sex characteristics, a brilliant display of colors much like a peacock's plumage and like in birds, the males are often the most colorful. While it is primarily used to attract a mate, I see the pronounced red to redish-purple coloration in many Columbia Basin redband trout/steelhead year round, even in tiny fish, though in some individuals, again mainly males, it will become even more pronounced before spawning in late spring. In other individuals, I see this red coloration all year, be it a small creek tiny redband, an August steelhead or September resident trout. Heck, in the Upper Columbia, I see it in cutthroat too. Maybe they have redband blood in them or maybe it is a life strategy or maybe they want to look pretty like the rainbows, but I have caught cutthroat year-round with beautiful red to purple coloration, especially on their gill plates and bellies. None of this red coloration means that any of these fish are “nasty old fish” that are past their prime or just off redds or old boots. It is just the color they come in; like I said, redband trout did not get their name for having a silvery body.

    As for the dark color of their bodies, trout have a remarkable ability to adapt their coloration to their surroundings. Where I fish in the UC basin, the vast majority of trout I catch - both cutthroat, resident rainbow and steelhead and bull trout tend to have a darker body than fish from other basins, especially coastal basins. However, this coloration more closely matches the rivers in which they live. A dime bright fish that reflects the colors of the ocean would be easy prey for the osprey and eagles just as a brilliantly colored redband would be easy prey as it cruises the ocean shoreline. The brightest fish I catch where I live seem to be hatchery steelhead under 15" that have residualized or haven't out-migrated yet – and I often wonder how much out-of-basin genetics they have. In any case, in general, many of the trout - cutthroat, bull, rainbow/steelhead - tend to have a darker appearance all year round than what you might be used to seeing.

    For example, here is a Westslope Cutthroat caught in August, a dark fish for sure:

    Aug 09.jpg

    Here's an example of a cut with lots of color that was caught in summer:

    red cutt.jpg

    And, here is an example of a steelhead caught in October that is 6-7 months away from spawning so it is hardly 'past prime':

    Oct summer run.jpg

    As I said, do not judge a horse or trout by its color.
    plaegreid, triploidjunkie and Pat Lat like this.
  5. Admittedly it's just a couple, but all the deschutes steel I've caught have been pretty colorful.
  6. Point taken Freestone, I suppose we on the west side are a little obsessed with brightness. The fish pictured appears to have spent quite a few months in fresh water (some of these fish may enter the Columbia as early as May or June and rely on their own fat reserves for survival until spawning occurs) and suspect that, for that reason, they would offer pretty poor table fare and lack the energy of a more fresh run fish.

    Here are a couple of sea-run cutts from the river and a summer-run steelhead in September.

    DSCF0148.JPG DSCF0172.JPG DSCF0054.JPG
    Freestone likes this.
  7. Gorgeous fish, Preston! The difference in the coloration of the fish in your photos vs the pics I posted definitely illustrates the diversity of color and explains the difference in people's perception and judgment. While I have certainly caught lighter colored individuals in the UC system, I have come to appreciate the many shades and variations of color of our inland trout and find them even more beautiful than 'pale' fish, lol.
  8. This sounds pretty arrogant to me. you guys weren't doing everything right back then that's why we hardly have any maybe bonking all those wild fish had something to do it with it that's what we did in the 80's. where's the ethics in bonking all those wild fish back in the day. Quit pointing the finger because it your generation that let our steelhead runs decline. My generation is trying to pick up the ball that you guys dropped. Thanks
  9. Boy.... now we're blaming my generation???? (I'm in the same as Rob's).

    It was the parents of the Baby Boomers who may have dropped the ball, not the Baby Boomers. And really, it wasn't just fish that was exploited to the brink of extinction. All our natural resources were taking a major hit BEFORE the Baby Boomers showed up. If anything, we were the first to attempt to stop the decline of natural resources the generations before us had started.

    Anyway, Rob is just being Rob.

    It's a beautiful fish. I don't give a rip if it is "chrome" or not. Personally, I think a steelhead is much more attractive when it is showing color.

    I still take exception to blaming the Baby Boomers for the decline of our natural resources... nothing could be further from the truth!
    FinLuver likes this.
  10. I think what rob's little argument really boils down to is that some people just see pictures as a form of trophy. Others just see beauty in nature's majestic color palate.
    When I first started fly fishing I was so confused when people would show me a picture of a dime brite steelhead that they were so proud of; inside I was thinking how boring and plain it looked. Just like all the other chromers I had seen. I kept scouring through pictures on the net, show me some color, leopard spots, crimson sides and olive backs. I still feel this way, about all rainbow or cutthroat.
    It was not untill later that I realized that the guy with the pic of that chrome bright hen, he was just trying to tell me that he was the man, and I needed to know that and respect his mad fish catching skills. To bad I was to ignorant to know it, I just thought he was stoked to get a fish even if it was all boring and silver.
  11. So how about the 49ers? That Joe Montanna is something else!
    FinLuver and Mark Kraniger like this.
  12. Baby boomers are a constant source of humor in my office. Where there's a problem.... there is a boomer. Every time.

    The best part with boomers is that they have no generational self awareness or humilty. Nothing is ever their fault.

    Back at ya Gene :).

    Go Sox,
    constructeur likes this.
  13. Just posting some upper Columbia fish caught just above Bonneville dam. Yes, I have had to re-train people how to fight steelhead on the westside because they were used to the higher-up in the system (weak fish from the miles and miles of travel) they just broke to many lines after all my hard work of getting them on fish! Usually the first runs.

    The first time I caught a steelhead below Hells canyon dam in the mid 80's I swore it was a trout with it's big spots and color. I had just never seen a steelhead like it! When I took my daughter at age 10 she had already caught numbers of steel above 50 and the first 10 pounder that turned sideways at the side of the drifter she "FREAKED OUT" screaming "HUGE TROUT" she also, like me, had never seen steelhead with that big of spots and we hardly ever caught dark fish on the west side because we consider those old spawners and we have the chrome to chase an it was unethical to greatest extent for the good fisherman. The difference is the chrome we have to target when upper river fisherman get what they get, fish that have been in fresh water a long-long time! heck my buddies quit fishing Idaho and Eastern Oregon steel after fishing with me on the west side and getting their ass tore-up by rocket chrome. And once they ate one they wanted "MORE"

    I don't go to Idaho or the snake to catch steelhead - have no reason too - But I sure love their trout :)

    I think for the upper region those fish are beautiful!!

    The first fish is a hatchery for the BBQ and my friend Bartfly .....peace -

    sexi steal 004.jpg sexi steal 005.jpg sexi steal 009.jpg sexi steal 041.jpg sexi steal 014.jpg
  14. And those Bronco's!!! Elway is sooo money!
    FinLuver likes this.
  15. Well I'm not quite sure that's the most accurate representation of what caused this thread to swirl the toilet. I don't think anyone here is "proud" of that fish as it sounds like the OP didn't catch it. It also not what I'd consider a "hero shot" but just a simple picture of a colorful fish.

    Why are you so sour all the time Rob?

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