New to snohomish again... and clueless on small streams

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Tom Knoberson, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    "parr marks: Dark, oblong or oval markings along the side of the body of most trout and salmon. Particularly prominent in juvenile fish (as camouflage for avoiding predators); typically reduced or absent in adult salmonids."
    Trout and Salmon of North America, Robert J. Behnke, 2002

    It's sometimes very difficult to say anything absolute about nature.
     
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  2. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

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    Thanks Preston
     
  3. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

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    Dragging up an old thread... When I was in Ca. I fished a stream that had both resident rainbows and a small steelhead run. I noticed two distinct size barriers for the parr marks. Seven inches and eleven inches. I suspect that the resident fish were at least partly hybrid with planted trout from the lake above the stream. And that the fish which "matured" at seven inches were likely resident and the ones at eleven inches may have been steelhead parr/smolts. No way to know for sure because I'm not a fisheries biologist! But it seems obvious to some degree. And I suspect, since they DO truck steelies over the falls in the Sky, that the apparent large size of the par marked fish is indicative of one of two things. Either those little creeks are rearing grounds for steelies, or the resident fish that live in the main stem river are large enough that those tribs serve as rearing grounds for residents. Either way those fish are juveniles and those tribs are rearing grounds. I mean, if all the fish are parr marked!?! I know this is the case with many western cascade streams, but I might be inclined to NOT pester those fish on principal.
     
  4. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I was always under the impression that if the fish were small, 6 to 10 inches that they were smolts. Fish bigger than that 11 inches and up were resident fish.

    Many years ago they dropped lots of fish out of Whitehorse rearing ponds that were 7 to 12 inches long. For two weeks, they hit everything you threw at them. Then the fish started to die off. They weren't hooked bad that just started to die. I thought that they were to big to release or that there was something wrong with them.
     
  5. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

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    Stocking fish in waters that support native trout?!? My mind is "whirling" at the thought.
     
  6. dflett68

    dflett68 Active Member

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    they truck steelhead over the falls on the sky itself, but do they truck them above the falls on the tribs? i doubt that, at least on the one i've been referencing. and you can't fish those tribs below their barrier falls because they are rearing grounds. so all of the fish i've posted pics of are from above multiple barrier falls and are clearly residents. i have seen one fish show itself at over 14". to suggest an 11" fish in such a stream is not sexually mature seems implausible to me.
     
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  7. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    From what I've seen, not that I'm any kinda expert or anything, the presence of parr marks and the size at which they are sexually mature is highly variable and environmental. Sexual maturity is a result of age, not size, of course. And the size at sexual maturity is a result of growth rate based on the availability of food, temperature, oxygenation and chemistry of the water.

    I once caught about an 8-inch trout in a little creek I was checking out near Maple Valley that was a dark colored rainbow, with parr marks, and a very distinct hooked jaw. It was healthy , though not fat. This 8-incher was in fact the largest trout I caught in my several trips to that little creek and came from the sweet spot in the only real honey hole that I found. I came to the conclusion that this was a breeding age male, and that it was likely the alpha fish in the pool since I'd probably caught or seen just about all of them.

    There's another little crick down there I fished quite a number of times, and the largest fish I was getting there were 10-inches - not many of those lunkers though! They were clearly the mature adults in the system, and the 8-9-inch fish also exhibited mature traits. The color of all the bows in that system was extremely dark, and they all had parr marks. That high gradient plunge-pool-after-plunge-pool creek is in heavy forest. All that shade was clearly the reason for the dark coloration, and if I had to venture a guess, for the retention of the parr marks as additional camouflage.

    I'm sure we've all noticed the dark waters produce dark trout, and bright waters bright trout. It's simple natural selection. Heck, give em enough time in a system and they change color substantially, just look at the silver-sided blue-backed Beardsleii... they match their environment perfectly.

    Just my empirical observations, maybe worth 2-cents.
     
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  8. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    You can't call the Beckler a rearing pond. It does get Steelhead. And the same can't be said for the Foss or the Tye. I've caught 18 band 19 inch fish out of the Beckler. I don't believe that these were Resident fish. I believe that they were first timers. I got me a 21" Steelhead out of the Foss. It was laying in among a pod of Sea Run Cutts.
     
  9. dflett68

    dflett68 Active Member

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    that's true. the original post, and i think most of the discussion, has been about small stream tributary fisheries. at least by my standards, the beckler, foss, miller, et. al. would not be categorized as small streams.
     
  10. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

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    I didn't know you you were talking about falls on tribs. Those would have to be resident fish of course.
     
  11. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

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    That's entirely logical and fascinating. Maybe we need to stop calling them "parr marks".