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klunker 02-11-2013 10:53 AM

Steelhead with bad Gill Plates
Here's a picture of a steelhead I caught in a small Trib. River last March. If you'll notice the gill plates are short, they don't cover the gills completely. Also note there is a slight amount of blood coming off the gills.

After I netted this poor guy I noticed that it had blood coming down its side. After closer inspection I noticed the gill covers were smaller than normal. I snapped this picture before I sent him off to fight another day. He seemed fine other wise.

Any body know anything about this condition. From what I have heard it's caused by a virus in the hatchery.

schaef 02-11-2013 12:34 PM

Re: Steelhead with bad Gill Plates
I don't know the cause but I've caught 2 steelhead in the past 2 years that have the same issue with the gill plates. They weren't bleeding but I was surprised that part of the gill was showing. They seemed fine, i just assumed it was an injury of some sort.

kwb 02-11-2013 01:29 PM

Re: Steelhead with bad Gill Plates
It's certainly a common trait in hatchery steelhead, I am not sure if it is a virus, but definitely not uncommon in hatchery steelhead.

The ones I catch with the issue it doesn't really seem to effect them, just makes them more vulnerable to injury during the fight and when you land them...

I see it in Skamania strain steelhead all the time here in Southwest Michigan...

wt bash 02-11-2013 02:38 PM

Re: Steelhead with bad Gill Plates
Our hatchery rainbows are like that too, I haven't seen many steelhead like that though. Just a guess but I think it might have to do with how long they are kept at the hatchery but its probably genetic.

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