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lancer09 12-21-2010 02:07 AM

An intriguing question.
I'm posting this here but if it draws attention I might move another discussion over too the coldwater section.
Now i know most people do not consider lake run rainbows true steelhead, but some poeple do. For those people, what differentiates them from just your standard run of the mill still water rainbow.

Nextly, I know there are some rainbows that live in Table Rock lake, as some people we share a dock with down there catch a few everytime they go out... trolling deep beneath the dam. I've seen a few and they are bright silver, no pinkish or green coloring to them at all, just silver. Would these be considered "steelhead" by those who consider lake run rainbows steelhead? If not would they be if they made runs to some of the creeks that flow into the lake, particularly in winter?

Just some food for thought.

milt spawn 12-21-2010 05:44 PM

Re: An intriguing question.
Check out Great Lakes Guy vs. Pac NW Guy in the Fly Fishing Humor Forum. milt.

wt bash 12-22-2010 10:25 AM

Re: An intriguing question.
That's a good question. I guess a safe term might be anadromous rainbow.

milt spawn 12-22-2010 02:17 PM

Re: An intriguing question.
There's also the debate within the debate, Hatchery v. Wild. milt.

Ard 12-22-2010 03:00 PM

Re: An intriguing question.
With rainbow, brown, brook trout, and char, there are 'Coasters' and 'Salters', These are fresh water species that are able to assimilate between fresh, brackish, and saline waters and their metabolisms handles the variances of Ph and salinity. What I am writing is off the top of my head but with some research you will find that what I am saying is supported by biologic studies of many salomoids. Here in Alaska there are strains (watershed specific) of rainbow trout that have evolved by way of their migratory nature into both coasters and salters or sea run fish. When I say coaster this is the behavior of leaving the estuary area of a creek or river and actually spending a good deal of time in the brackish and saline waters that are found along the coastal areas and returning to the mouths or tidal lagoons of their home watershed. These fish produce a spring spawning run that is no less exciting as true spring steelhead returning to spawn. They are generally larger than any trout that has not taken to leaving the mid or upper reaches of the streams.

As for real 'sea run' fish other than Pacific steelhead, the char here do go to sea in certain watersheds and these fish attain respectable size by living this way. The char return often with summer salmon runs but they are fall spawner's so you can always expect some fresh fish in late fall depending on what river or creek you are focusing on.

When I lived in Pennsylvania I used to fish the streams that feed into the Finger Lakes for the spring run rainbow trout. Catherine's Creek which flows into Seneca Lake at Montour Falls is the most famous run but there are lesser known streams that see some big fish. These rainbows average 5 pound (at least they did in the 1980's) and fish of ten pound are not uncommon; same behavior as steelhead but they do not leave Seneca lake and go to sea.

I could go on with tales about where I targeted a stream or river because it flowed into a big lake or to sea for trout who were returning to spawn but I think you get the picture. The most famous traveling trout I have ever heard of was a rainbow tagged and stocked by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission in the late 1960's. The fish was released in the upper Allegheny River and was recovered some five years later by a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf Of Mexico. Urban legend? I got that on good source and have always believed it.

When I catch a big trout that I have every reason to believe attained its size by traveling to the Ocean I call it a Steelhead. When I fished the Finger Lakes and caught lake run trout in the creeks I always thought of them as steelhead and never paid too much attention to actual taxonomy. Your fish is what you call it,


milt spawn 12-22-2010 06:53 PM

Re: An intriguing question.
There are also coastal cutthroat in the Pacific NW. milt.

Ard 12-22-2010 07:51 PM

Re: An intriguing question.
Forgot that, I've never ran into them so they fell into the out of sight out of mind catagory :)

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