WELTZ: Steelhead a sub-species of rainbow

I have always believed and taught in my classes that steelhead are nothing more than a sea-going sub-species of rainbow trout. I also say that it is not the craftiness of this fish that makes them so challenging but more the external factors that regulate their feeding activity. Recently, a study done by Mark Christie of Oregon State University has confirmed my beliefs.One of the more useful bits of knowledge gleaned from this study is the interdependence between these sea-going giants and resident fresh water relatives. Fifteen years of analyzing 12,725 of these giants has shown that 40 per cent of their DNA is from wild resident rainbow trout and not other steelhead. Co-author of this study Michael Blouin, professor of zoology at Oregon State, commented: “One implication of this study is that the genetic contribution by wild trout is diluting the input of genes from hatchery fish to wild steelhead.”Once again we can see that fish know what they are doing and that we could learn a thing or two from them; provided we are humble enough to be taught.The reportThe sun has finally returned. While we may still be experiencing frost in the mornings, spring fishing is under way in the western Fraser Valley and we can expect the ice to be off our eastern valley lake before the end of the month. Kokanee are on the radar. For better success try to concentrate your fishing from late morning through mid-afternoon, in and around the northwestern sections of your favourite lake with: Chironomid, Bloodworm, Big Black, Woolly Bugger, MicroLeach, Sixpack, Dragonfly Nymph, Halfback, Doc Spratley, Buggy shrimp, or Zulu.The Fraser River and sloughs are good for cutthroat and dolly varden. For cutthroat try: Rolled Muddler, Mickey Finn, Eggo, Tied Down Minnow, Epoxy Minnow, Winter Stone, Flesh Fly, Professor, Lioness, Coachman, Zulu, Chez Nymph. For dolly varden try: Large (#4 to #1) Eggo, Dolly Whacker, Bucktail, Epoxy Minnow, Big Black, Muddler, or Zonker.The Vedder River is good for steelhead, dolly varden and resident rainbow. For steelhead try: big Black, Popsicle, Steelhead Nightmare, Polar shrimp, GP, Thor, Squamish Poacher, Kaufmann Stone, Purple Peril, or Eggo. For rainbow try: Rolled Muddler, Mickey Finn, Eggo, Flesh Fly, Kaufmann Black Stone, Black Gnat, Zulu, Chez Nymph, Big Black, Sixpack, or Renegade.The Stave River is fair to good for steelhead, rainbow and cutthroat.The Chehalis River is good for steelhead and cutthroat. The Harrison River is good for cutthroat, and rainbow.You can find more at “The Reel Life Press” by Jeff Weltz

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