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Author Topic: Small Skykomish Steelhead  (Read 3578 times)

Offline ridgefire

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Small Skykomish Steelhead
« on: December 31, 2023, 10:01:07 AM »
I have caught 4 steelhead in the last 2 floats that are in the 16-20Ē range. They have been clipped and unclipped fish. I have never caught them this size in the past. Usually they are 8-12Ē or adult sized. Any idea why they are so small? Also, yesterday I caught an adult hatchery hen that was spawned out. Iím assuming this fish has never made it to the hatchery and spawned in the river or they let it out of the hatchery. Not sure what our state is doing with the fish is the Skykomish but itís definitely different than it was. See picture for size reference.

Offline Platensek-po

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2023, 10:12:48 AM »
I donít know about the sky but on other rivers fish that make it to the hatchery are sent back out have a hole punched in the gill plate. Iíve caught them with 2-3 holes before. As to those small one Iím not sure. Could be they are returning earlier or didnít get enough to eat?
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Offline ASHQUACK

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2023, 04:33:01 PM »
Most likely small enough to slip through net mesh meant to kill bigger fish. State run hatcheries are kill hatcheries. Very few if any kelts are released to venture back to salt.

Offline Platensek-po

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2023, 04:42:36 PM »
Most likely small enough to slip through net mesh meant to kill bigger fish. State run hatcheries are kill hatcheries. Very few if any kelts are released to venture back to salt.

Why would they kill steelhead tho? They can go back to the salt and come back again the next year. Female steelhead have been known to spawn 2-3 times.
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Online Jake Dogfish

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2023, 05:02:41 PM »
Most likely small enough to slip through net mesh meant to kill bigger fish. State run hatcheries are kill hatcheries. Very few if any kelts are released to venture back to salt.

Why would they kill steelhead tho? They can go back to the salt and come back again the next year. Female steelhead have been known to spawn 2-3 times.

They spawn them to meet egg take goals.  Hatchery spawning is usually fatal.
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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2023, 05:36:19 PM »
Most likely small enough to slip through net mesh meant to kill bigger fish. State run hatcheries are kill hatcheries. Very few if any kelts are released to venture back to salt.

All kelts captured on the Cowlitz system are released at Mision launch to try to make another run.

Online metlhead

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2023, 06:48:47 PM »
I don't belive the Cowlitz hatchery releases kelts. Those released fish are fresh and have returned long before the hatchery is ready for them. Small steelhead are common there in August. The males may be similar to salmon jacks.

Offline Smokeploe

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2023, 06:57:55 PM »
Yes they recycle many times.  I was talking to the truck driver who drives the fish truck, they recycle 2-3 times per week.  They release either at mission launch or the ramp under I5.  During the summer months they release jacks, small returning steelhead into Riffe Lake 3-4 times per week. 

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Offline ridgefire

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2023, 07:00:37 PM »
Iím pretty sure they do not recycle the fish on the Sky anymore.

Online metlhead

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2023, 08:18:02 PM »
Recycle fish yes, but technically not kelts. All hatchery fish are killed. No kelts created.

Online HntnFsh

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2023, 08:18:29 PM »
I don't belive the Cowlitz hatchery releases kelts. Those released fish are fresh and have returned long before the hatchery is ready for them. Small steelhead are common there in August. The males may be similar to salmon jacks.

The Kelts are captured at Cowlitz falls and trucked to Mission bar.

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2023, 08:21:51 PM »
Yes they recycle many times.  I was talking to the truck driver who drives the fish truck, they recycle 2-3 times per week.  They release either at mission launch or the ramp under I5.  During the summer months they release jacks, small returning steelhead into Riffe Lake 3-4 times per week. 

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All recycled steelhead go to I5.

The mini jacks do go to Riffe.

Online metlhead

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2024, 05:47:45 AM »
Oh, hadn't thought of upper basin wild fish.

Offline nanum

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2024, 11:46:50 AM »
Rumor circulating around the Sky and tribs is it was during the plandemic. They released all hatchery fish in the pens because they were scared of getting the vid or something like that.

Offline jackelope

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Re: Small Skykomish Steelhead
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2024, 12:03:35 PM »
I caught 14Ē rainbows in the upper Sky drainage thin blue lines this past year with almost regularity. A 16Ē fish(rainbow) on the main river seems totally conceivable without any other thoughts coming to mind. There are definitely at least some resident fish in the main stem.
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