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Thread: American Steelhead/Smolt?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Granite Bay, CA
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    230

    Default American Steelhead/Smolt?

    I came across this renegade report claiming there are summer run steelhead to 22 inches and outbound juvenile steelhead / smolt on the American. Any truth to this? Here are the excerpts:

    An added bonus has been the arrival of summer-run halfpounder steelhead to 22 inches joining numerous smolts from 8 to 14 inches, according to Mike Powers of American River Flyfishing.

    As for the steelies, hardly anyone is targeting them, but anglers dead-drifting rubberlegs and small caddis imitations from Sailor Bar to Watt Ave. are catching a combination of small steelhead that havenít made to the ocean yet, and half-pounders to about 20 inches.

    Here is the source: http://www.wonews.com/t-NorthernCAFr...va_071212.aspx

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    East Bay, CA
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    263

    Default

    I've said it once and I'll say it again:

    Leave the smolts alone. If you are getting 10" fish one after another, don't go home to get your 3 wt. Go find some fish returing back from the ocean. The smolts are our future steelhead, and, if you sore lip them now, they will be too smart to bite when they come back in a couple years.

    Disclaimer: This is not directed at anyone, just a general statement same as "Stay off the redds" (now that I think about it, do people avoid redds while fishing for smolts? Seems ironic).

    Rant over...

    See ya,
    Mike
    Eat it. Eat it. Simon says EAT IT!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Sacramento
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    1,174

    Default

    Fully supported!

  4. #4

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    I am going to disagree with you guys. If you are catching a ten inch hatchery smolt in july or august you need to keep it as part of your daily bag limit. They release those smolts in march april and may. The hatchery smolts you are catching are residualizing in the river and probably wont go out to the saltwater and will out compete with the few remaining smaller wild fish in the river. Taking up preferred feeding lies.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2005
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    Default

    So you don't believe smolts reside in a river system for a year before they go out to sea? Not sure science supports your position.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Thomas View Post
    So you don't believe smolts reside in a river system for a year before they go out to sea? Not sure science supports your position.
    Terry
    Most wild steelhead smolt after two years in some rivers and reach a size of about 6 inches.
    Hatcheries raise the smolts for a yr. After a year those fish are larger than their wild counterparts and can outcompete them for food and space. Do some of these fish smolt?
    sure it happens. Nimbus hatchery releases its smolts at garcia bend on the sacramento so a 10 inch hatchery smolt caught anywhere on the american has swam back upstream form the release site.

    Residualization of hatchery smolts is a big problem and there have been several studies done on it. The local bio for noaa (john Mcmillan) believes that some of these smolts that the hatcheries are releasing are sexually mature fish capable of spawning with adults.
    He has authored a study on rainbow trout spawning with steelhead and has even filmed it
    occurring. He has documented rainbows spawning with steelhead on tributaries of the elwha river recently.


    Here is a link to an article he authored.

    http://w.wildsalmoncenter.org/pdf/ra..._etal_2007.pdf

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
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    Sacramento
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    Shawn
    Thank you for the link. Some very interesting information. Unfortunately, I can only wish the American River had a fraction of the numbers of wild fish that the study focused upon. Furthermore, we could only dream the steelhead in the state of California had the power that our neighbors to the north give their prized fish. In the golden state, the vast amount of $$ go towards salmon. The American also presents some interesting factors that the "study rivers" may not have faced. Many of the fish that we are catching on the American are really Feather River fish that have made an early turn instead of traveling further north. I'm certainly not a professional, however, there are quite a few experts that read this forum. One of those fisheries individuals is close to finishing a book that documents the habits of steelhead in California. I do realize that hatchery fish do present real problems to wild spawning steelhead. With the building of Folsom Dam, those days are long gone.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Sacramento, CA
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    With flows at 4k it doesn't surprise me.
    "Did you catch anything".........."No, did you"........

    "Hey man, mind if I fish here?"....."Yes"...."Thanks man!"
    grgoding@yahoo.com

  9. #9

    Default

    That argument kind of goes out the window in light of the fact that there are pretty much no TRULY native/wild steelhead left in the post-Nimbus Dam AR system...

    There are naturalized fish or descendant smolts from adults which spawned naturally in the river but the probability that one or both of these parents was/were hatched in the hatchery is very likely and if you go back several generations, that probability (of 'test-tube parents') increases exponentially.

    It's valiant to protect wild fish but you need wild fish first...

    From a sporting, rather than biological or conservationist perspective, it's good to leave the smolts alone so that we get a better return of adults to fish for in subsequent years...

  10. #10
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    Never understood the guides who brag about the 30 10" stelhead they catch a day. Seems pretty misleading to clients.
    Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

    -Mark Twain

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