first winter fish? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: first winter fish?

11-29-2005, 01:59 PM
Anyone get one yet?

I'm hearing stories like a friend of a friends uncle got one.

I usually have a chance to swing around the T-Day holiday but not this year.

11-29-2005, 04:04 PM
I got one in early November on my only trip out. I'm away from home now but imagine I'll get another crack at 'em in early December water conditions permitting (always a big IF).

This was a new fall fish and more like the summer/fall fish of more southerly waters, ie, a river-maturing fish instead of an ocean-maturing fish.

I learned the terms "ocean-maturing" and "river-maturing" from a trout biologist working on a steelhead project last year. He said he'd got the term from biologists in BC. I really like the term as opposed to "summer" or "winter" fish. Our river-maturing fish will generally enter in Oct through Dec and may be around as long as until June before leaving. Our ocean-maturing fish generally are a March, April and May event.

Thought I'd mention this as I really like those terms and haven't seen them used on the board before. With steelhead having a range from CA to AK in both inland and coastal environs, I think it is more descriptive in that context. I don't expet people to stop using "summer-run" or "winter-run", etc, but I'm curious if others have heard or use these terms.

11-29-2005, 06:48 PM
Good term of description! The Mick picked it up this past year and we have used it a couple of times to clean up a (very) few arguments re. run timing.
Hey glad to hear you ran into one I know right where you caught it just not which spot! :chuckle:

11-29-2005, 07:26 PM
I like the term just not sure I would call a March fish an ocean maturing fish (although I could get over that). Rather, we all remember those Lass' who matured a little faster in our youths. I always viewed winters as coming around a little faster. Similar to a Pink or Chum (salmon, for Malcom) that changes quickly vs a Spring who takes more time.

11-29-2005, 08:41 PM
Ya, we both picked that terminology up at the same time and place and in a very pleasant riparian classroom I might add. :wink:

Andre - there's always some grey area when we use these black-and-white terms. There's gonna be some grey areas around the spawning period with some fish. Nevertheless, it's descriptive to the character of the fish rather then the time of year and

Your analogy with the (Spring) Chinook as a river-maturing fish is good. It's interesting that they are similar to steelhead in that they are the only species of the pacific salmon (Correct me on the Cherry) that have both ocean-maturing and river-maturing fish.

11-29-2005, 09:50 PM
My earliest true winter fish was one Nov. 6th, dime bright in fact some of the scales fell off at the end of the fight. That's fresh from the ocean!

Andre, that boulder garden (actually several) we fished haunt me as early arrival depots. :Eyecrazy:

11-29-2005, 10:23 PM
Juro, one should never be haunted by steelhead only the thought of never steelheading again. The thought of lessening my "potential" time has caused me to turn down three promotions (I guess that was also haunting). We all live much of our lives reliving the scream of a reel (Perfect), the glint of chrome during a cartwheel, the words of a friend saying "mid teens" and then getting to see their face after its landed :lildevl: . Maybe the best of all is seeing someone get thier first steelhead or first on a particular river. This and endless additional volumes make up steelheading.

These visions include your tail walking hen at the riffle, my first dime bright winter fish, my first summer fish (on a skated Caddis). One of the most special times was with Malcolm in Scotland, this an experience I will revisit (close enough to steelhead, swung flies and they jump).

11-30-2005, 11:03 AM
Ouch, that really hurts A. :eek:

My first winter fish was the 13th of November a few years back. So far this year, not even my uncle's neighbor's cousin has hit one that I'm aware of. Of course, I would never tell you if they did.

Bob Pauli
11-30-2005, 10:15 PM
A Dolly in full spawning regalia!

Bob Pauli
11-30-2005, 10:17 PM
Winter fish #2

Bob Pauli
11-30-2005, 10:18 PM
Winter Fish #3

Bob Pauli
11-30-2005, 10:19 PM
Winter Fish #4

12-01-2005, 12:09 AM
Nice fish Bob, you kicked it! Ive been getting hammered at work, little time for the "good life"

12-01-2005, 08:11 AM
word has it there is atleast a half dozen or so fresh winter fish in a local river.

12-01-2005, 12:55 PM
Looks too small to be from the Thompson. Are they from the Ronde? :D

12-01-2005, 01:07 PM
Dude, I thought you stopped fishing fortson?

12-01-2005, 02:36 PM
Come on guys Spark took enough abuse in November already :hihi:

Bob some nice fishies there!!

12-01-2005, 02:50 PM
Just a question for Bob. Bob you may not tell us where you were fishing but do you think fish 2 is a winter fish? Looks like a summer to me just due to coloration but you never really know. I am used to winter fish being chrome brusiers like in the other photos.

And Spark of course just joking....fortson


Bob Pauli
12-01-2005, 03:02 PM
I agree with your observation, but have little experience with winter fish. These are from the Situk River, Nov. 5-6, 2005.

12-01-2005, 06:43 PM
Sean, I could have been joking? BTW, it is Dec now anyway.

12-01-2005, 10:50 PM
Pescaphile: River Maturing Species

I went back to see if I remembered correctly (being a prime candidate for the nearest Alzheimer's ward), but it seems the lowly Chum has a river maturing race. This would be the run that ascends 2000 miles of the Yukon. Reference would be Anthony Netboy, _The Salmon Their Fight for Survival_, HOughton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1973) p. 29

"Chum entered the Yukon a week later than chinook [i.e., ice out -- late May or early June] and their movements were almost as rapid. Gilbert found that at Tanana they were but ten days behind, and at Dawson City only fourteen days behind the larger species. Chum covered the lower 800 [!] miles at an average speed of 90 [!] miles per day and the next 700 miles, between Tanana and Dawson, at 55 miles per day. These migratory feats in a fast -flowing river are probably unmatched among freshwater fishes of the world."

12-02-2005, 08:25 AM
Those Chums from the Yukon spawn near Whitehorse and when entering the River are reported too have one of the highest Omega 3 content of any of the Pacific Salmon.
Pescaphile missed a couple of Coho runs that he is aware of Port Banks (July first) and I wonder about that little run in Log Jam where he lives?
I have been out fishing under perfect conditions wth very little crowd pressure and have not ran into a wild fish yet. I fear concerns for the Hoh maybe shared with other OP rivers. I know its early but the early portion of the run is not "early".

12-02-2005, 11:24 AM
I figured someone would chime in and would correct me. I forgot all about the Yukon fish -Duh. I figured someone would mention something about upper Fraser River Cohos. That's what happens when you make those black/white statements :tongue:

I think the large interior river systems pretty much are all river-maturing due to their size and the length of the journey. You just can't have a fish enter from tidewater and be spawning a few days later in them. In shorter coastal systems a fish can just run up and do its business quickly or, if suitable habitat exists, overwinter and mature and join the party in the spring.

Bob's November Situk fish are a good examples of river-maturing fish. They'll sleep overwinter under the ice in the lake or a handful of deep pools in the stream and then back down to join the new ocean-maturing arrivals that arrive in April/May. A close friend of mine is the sportfish biologist there and has told me some good stories about tagging the fall fish there and thinking they were all lost until they suddenly came back to life after winter loosens its grip.

You're right about Yukon River being nice and oily Moonlight. Copper River fish are another example (And their marketers are busy letting all know!) Those fish that have long distances to migrate upriver or stay a long time instream before spawing need those fat reserves to sustain them and to develop their roe/milt. And this difference is most appreciated at the dinner table. :)

It seems the last fish I catch of the season (the last week of May or first week of June) is always a big dominant fall buck that stays around to meet all the girls. It takes a lot of stamina to go so long in fresh water (maybe 6 months!) and that last fish of mine is always dark, beat up all too-willing to bite anything that comes swimming by. It's also enough to make me hang up the steelhead rod until September.

Salmon Chaser
12-22-2005, 07:31 PM
Lads, I FINALLY landed my first steelhead on the fly on Tuesday(Dec20) at Allison on the Vedder. My first ever fly caught steelhead. Wild fish of about 25". My only regret was that it was on the 15'er and my Loop 8-12. I bought the reel for the size and do like it, but was sad that i wasnt using the Perfect or Bougle. The loop is a nice reel but VERY quite.
I also landed a nice Dolly the same day that was in the 22" range.
Tomorrow morning brings my 3rd crack at Spences Bridge this month so lets hope there is still a little luck in the air!! Congratulations to those who also managed there own winter beauty!!
Merry Christmas fellas.
Salmon Chaser