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jeb1340

Spawning question

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I have always believed that steelhead return to the stream that they were born to spawn and then either die or return to the lake. I think that this is general accepted as being true. I have a stream near my house that is full of steelhead in the spring and occasionally sees some salmon and browns in the fall. In the summer this stream is usually dried up and most likely over 80 degrees during the day. During the spring and fall this stream has an average depth of about 1 foot and an average width of about 4 feet. My question is if the stream is too warm for the fry to hatch and return to the lake, how do we end up with more steelhead each year? I have two theories. 1. They are stocked fish and were never imprinted on a stream. 2. Natural reproduction occurred, fry hatched ans swam to the lake before dying because of stream conditions. Just curious. Let me know what you think.

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I think it would be safe to assume because of water flow that there isnt natural reproduction in your stream. Fish will hone in on water flow, no matter what it is. I saw a video last year of salmon, in the fall, trying to jump into a small drainage pipe that dumped into the genesee river.

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The bows that return there could be fall spawners. I catch fall spawners that return every October in the same spots. Some smaller streams are also fed by fresh underwater streams, but these never dry up and don't fluctuate temps alot.

Rob!

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We actually had quite a discussion about this at tues nights Niagara co. fishery advisory board meeting. Seems there is little connection between Steelhead stocking sites and where they return to. Steelhead will always be attracted to flow, particularly the natural kind by rain or snow melt. Many Steelhead observers noted that their favorite streams had runs even prior to ever being stocked. It was the opinion of many at the meeting, that future Steelhead stocking in the county should take place where the survival would be best. Some current sites require high, stunning drops over a guardrail, into a small stream that will soon dry up and leave the yearlings high n dry. Better they survive than become bird or walleye food. The streams that will get the runs will get the runs, and the only way to improve that is to get more to survive in the first place. Now, a stream that has natural repro would be a whole another matter.

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Hi all,

I'm new to the site, writting from Mississauga, Ontario. Home of the Credit River. And President of the Credit River Anglers Association.

Here are a few thoughts on this subject. However, without a great deal more detail on the small stream and the fish and follow up work over the whole season it is just some possibilites.

Is it possible to have wild fish from a stream that dries up in summer...yes. As long as the stream dries up after late June. Another option is to have small pools form in the stream fed by a little groundwater to create cool water zones for fish to survive.

The life history for a steelhead in this case would be migrating to the lake as fry and or long before smolting. This short stream life is not uncommon on many Ontario streams that are very small in all Great Lakes.

However it also depends on the geology of the area. Much of north western NY lacks sufficient groundwater due to geology until you move east towards the Salmon River or closer to the Allehany range.

The fish could also easily be hatchery fish that have strayed, especially if you have a nearby stocking site.

Wild steelhead tend not to stray very much, as evidenced by our groups steelhead tagging program (and lots of research). We have only had 4 tagged fish reported in other rivers over the past ten years, out of over 10,000 tagged fish and almost 1,000 tag returns back to the Credit.

Fish are amazing creatures...give them half a chance and they will surprise us all.

Tight lines,

John

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another thought might be that 30 yrs ago the streams never dried up ,,,,,Post creek was behind my house growing up and the water level now is 1/4 to 1/3 or less what it was when i was a kid (ok younger)

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I watched steelhead rainbow trout in Alaska and it seemed they followed the salmon up the streams to feed on the salmon eggs. They would overwinter in the streams and lakes feeding on the eggs and around the end of February, they would stop feeding. When the streams reached about 42 degrees fahrenheit, they spawned their eggs and milt. With empty innards they then headed back to the sea and gorged on anything they could eat.

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I think I will take some pictures of the stream and post them. I have not been to the stream in two weeks but imagine that it is little more then a trickle by know. Unfortunately, I have heard of a lot of people talking about this stream. Hopefully the little gem is not ruined! I know that part of the stream has been posted due to irresponsible people.

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I stopped down to take a few pictures today and was amazed at the number of fish that are still in the creek. I wanted to bring a thermometer down to see what the temp was but I forgot it at home. Here are a few pictures of the creek. All of the pictures were taken within 150-200yds of the lake. In some of the pictures you can see some of the steelhead. At one hole there were over 15 fish. Some of the pictures aren't the clearest, I apologize it is hard taking clear pictures when you are trying to prevent a pit bull from diving into the creek after spawning fish. Also a lot of the fish were still paired up and appeared to be spawning. I though for sure that this would be over by now.

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Some of the streams get locked with gravel at the end and the fish can't get in . They would look for the next best flow when the spawning erge got too strong

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There are two other tribs within a few miles of this stream and all of them had decent steelhead runs. I wonder if maybe this stream may have been open when others were closed. This stream consistently gets a good run every spring.

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another thought might be that 30 yrs ago the streams never dried up ,,,,,Post creek was behind my house growing up and the water level now is 1/4 to 1/3 or less what it was when i was a kid (ok younger)

Yer legs just got longer :lol:

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