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Thread: Yuba Steelhead

  1. #1
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    Default Yuba Steelhead

    Does the Yuba get a steelhead run?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAVID95670 View Post
    Does the Yuba get a steelhead run?
    Sure - they follow the salmon up...

    That's what we've been fishin' for the last few weeks.

    That's why you have to record your trips on the steelhead report card.
    - Robin

    "Yes, size does matter..."

  3. #3
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    I heard it best last weekend at The Fly Shop.....Steelhead is a myth established by Fly shops to enhance winter sales.,....

  4. #4

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    I catch plenty of what most people call half pound steelhead in the 18-22" range each year during the fall. These fish fight a bit harder and jump a bit more. Usually have the "sea lice" on them as well as a bit of a brighter color. that said they could just be fish that move up and down the river or what not. Each Winter, like december through Feb, clients hook a hand full of what I consider legitimate adult steelhead. Fish that are big enough that they have to have had to moved out to the ocean. The river ecosystem could not support a fish of their size. I can't imagine though that there are huge numbers of these that move into the system and I can't say they come in every year. the best year i had we hooked 11. the worst we have hooked 2. Anyhow that is my 2cents.
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  5. #5
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    Default Steelhead

    Now that's a steelhead! You hear of steelies caught on the Yuba like that, nice to finally see a photo of one. Awsome!!

  6. #6

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    Here's a link to a PDF of powerpoint presentation that provides a summary of the study that was conducted by Bill Mitchell and Jeff Kozlowski from JSA:

    http://www.yubaaccordrmt.com/Present...d_Mitchell.pdf


    The actual science on Yuba River “steelhead” pretty definitively shows that yes the Yuba does indeed have a very small anadramous component but that component is so small that there really isn’t a fishable population of actual anadramous “steelhead” produced by the Lower Yuba regardless of season. “Yuba River Steelhead” are much like "Trinity River Searun Browns" and are largely an angler created myth and the vast majority of “Yuba steelhead” allegedly caught by anglers are simply 4+ age class resident fish. There is definitely a small amount of steelhead present in the Yuba and there are definitely some that get caught by anglers. No Doubt. I think most of the fish caught by anglers who seem to think they are steelhead simply aren’t anadramous and the science surrounding Yuba steelhead makes that pretty clear.


    In terms of the angler created "myths" regarding "Yuba steelhead":

    1- "The presence of 'sea lice' proves the fish I just caught is indeed a steelhead".


    I live about 30 minutes from the Yuba and from about 1989-1994 I probably spent nearly as many hours fishing the Yuba as did Sam Craig and Randy Rigdon in a typical season. I’ve never caught a Yuba River ‘bow that was still carrying what I could definitively identify as a salt water parasite. I’ve seen somewhere around 50-70 pictures of fish taken by members of the local flyclub and by out of area anglers who stopped at the Flyshack of what they were definitively concluding as “sea lice” on their “steelhead”. I’ve yet to see a picture of “sea lice” on a Yuba ‘bow that wasn’t actually misidentified salminicola or some other exclusively freshwater parasite. The larger fish are generally the older fish and are the most frequent to have visible infestations of saminicola or other freshwater parasites.

    2- Half-pounders on the Yuba and the myth that multitudes of pounders are caught on the Yuba each year:

    Covered in this prior discussion:

    http://www.kiene.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7959

    And more specifically, JSA had a permit from NOAA to trap fish moving over DPD from Oct 2000 to April 2001 (when the permit expired) . They trapped a grand total of 71 fish (page 7 of 20) that were “potentially anadramous”. Scale sampling revealed that only 10 had an anadromous component in their LH. None of the 10 legit steelhead had a half-pounder LH component nor were any half-pounder sized anadramous fish trapped. From memory, a significant percentage of those 10 fish that had an anadramous component in their LH were fin clipped and likely had origins from the FRH and weren’t really “Yuba River Steelhead”. There simply is no real indication that there are currently, or have been in recent decades, significant amounts of anadramous ‘bows in the Yuba River.

    The "This fish is too big to be a fish with a totally freshwater LH" myth:

    If you look at page 17 (of 20) you’ll note that the growth curves of O. Mykiss within the Yuba simply dwarf the Lower Sac and other CA watersheds and lie at the upper end of the Upper Sac tribs which are considered to be some of the most fertile habitat on the west coast.

    If you look at page 6, note that none of the 400+ fish captured via hook and line by volunteer anglers was anadramous AND half-pounder sized and only 4 total fish (less than 1% of fish caught) were actually anadramous steelhead. Also notice that of the 17 fish caught via hook and line that exceeded 450mm FL, only 4 ( 23%) were actually anadramous and that the largest fish caught in the study were in excess of 25 inches and had totally freshwater LH's.

    The bottomline is that the dams on the Yuba coupled with the rather freak of nature substrate which is a product of all the mining activity that occurred in the Yuba drainage have created a rather aquarium-like environs where the resident fish have: ample cold water refugia in the hotter summer months, ample spawning gravel replenishment and off the hook recruitment, freakish substrate that provides massive amounts of interstitial void space that harbor a huge biota and biomass of aquatic inverts, and when we had salmon (back when the bulk of this data was collected) freakishly massive amounts of protein and fat in the drift during the fall and winter in the form of a lengthy and concentrated chinook egg drop, followed by an allevin emergence and the ability to wolf down the zipped up YOY and actually put on growth in the leaner winter months when the O. Mykiss in other CA watersheds are performing above the curve by simply maintaining body mass.

    The science indicates pretty definitively IMO that the Yuba is an extremely poor steelhead fishery where anadromy within the O Mykiss population is very much the small exception and is very uncommon and certainly not the rule. The Yuba simply shouldn’t be considered a steelhead destination nor the river that is literally paved with half-pounders in the fall that most anglers seem to believe it is. That’s simply a flyshop/guide and angler created myth. What it is in reality, is a river with an abundant population of very much larger than average resident fish where the freakish growth curve that the man-made environs present in the Yuba gets enough of the fish that get hooked to be the size equivalent of their anadramous counterparts from other watersheds.

    Anadromy evolved as a viable survival strategy amongst salmonids on the west coast specifically as a response to harsh in river conditions that were not conducive to maintaining high levels of population abundance. Anadromy is a crap shoot where the obvious trade off is extremely lowered levels of survival to spawning maturity with the benefit of extremely enhanced recruitment per individual spawning pair. Steelhead are no doubt the most adaptable of all potentially anadramous salmonids exhibiting multiple LH's within each watershed where they are present, and multiple survival strategies for each respective LH. The steelhead within the Yuba have simply adapted to the man-made, more fish friendly conditions present on the Yuba by and large by residualizing and not outmigrating to the salt.

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