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Author Topic: A Steelhead Grounding Itself, Trying To Beach One Myself, The Journal, April 20  (Read 2044 times)

chris gadsden

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As we near the end of another week a warm welcome to members and guests to The Journal on Fishing With Rod.

Once again I tried to reach the river at first light but this gravel file seems to bring on more work each day answering and sending out e-mails. As well we have been getting great coverage especially from the print media. Thanks to all that keep providing the links. I just heard there was one in the Province this morning as I have not seen it must trace it down for the files. This morning I wanted to make some copies of the video I filmed of Dr. Church who talked on Gravel, Fish and Floods on the Fraser River last night. Buckeye is working on putting a clip together for you to see later.

I finally reach the Lickman parking lot around 1 hour after daylight and as I am getting things ready I hear a commotion out on the river. I look out and see a fairly large steelhead flipping about in a very shallow side channel. I then see what is causing the fish its distress, two bald eagles are attacking it. ???

I quickly grab my camera and charge out to the scene as quickly as possible as the fish is working its way down to a drop off of the shallow side stream that flows into the main flow. I am luckily I do not go for a swim myself as I have to wade another deeper channel and take a chance jumping from some rip rap into the channel and as luck will have it I able able to retain my balance before continuing on my mission.

The eagles have fled the scene and I have about 10 seconds to shoot a picture of the fungus covered steelhead in an upright pose. While I click the shutter I notice some fresh wounds on its side, caused I guess from the Eagles tallons. I imagine the pair would have tried to lift the 12 pound or so buck out of the river for their morning breakfast. I get a second shot just as the fish gains deeper water and is gone from me and its attackers.

As I go back to the Leaf Mobile I think what most likely had happened. The steelhead was working its way down the side channel, which was deeper further up stream. It then was most likely spotted by the raptors and the now scared steelhead swam downstream to try to evade the white headed chaps and ended up running into the shallows in the process. It was lucky to escape I guess, but as the picture shows it looked in very rough shape with its head covered with fungus.

I gather up the rest of my gear and head downstream and find about 5 anglers there, including Helmut and his dog Mavis. Helmut informs me he has landed a small fish and missed another just after first light.

The water looks good and lots of room to move about. I have been there about 30 minutes and a fellow below me is into one and lands a small but bright hatchery doe that he retains.

Just as I start to think the bite may be coming on, my cell phone rings, it is my wife and by mistake I had grabbed her glasses in my haste to get out on the river, away from home, before I was assigned some chores. ???

I say, to keep in the good books "I will be right back" as I was only 10 minutes from home. When I return the glasses to my now happy wife I make the mistake of checking my e-mails and it takes me close to 2 hours to clear up some incoming ones, on the gravel issue of course. As well had to firm up some loose ends on the tour of the Chilliwack River Chilliwack River Action Committee is making with the Environment Minister Barry Penner tomorrow.



I then stop at Buckeye's to review the Church tape and enjoy a cup of coffee before heading to town to drop off a couple of more Church tapes, one at the paper as they could not attend last night. I thought it was important they heard what he said, I got the feeling last night that gravel recruitment on the Fraser may not be such a problem as some are saying it is. Could it just be a money driven thing and not really be for flood protection? Are some agencies just trying to sell that bill of goods to the general public, time may tell I persume. I am very interested in learning more about gravel on ariver system and how important it is in the life of and well being of the river ecosystem. I am the first to admit I certainly am no expert on it. All I know it was the causeway that killed the alevins, not low water conditions as some are trying to say, we have the evidence. ;D

Lunch follows with good friend Ron as we discuss the upcoming fastball season that we both are involved in.Then home for a nap, to recharge the batteries, to get ready for a trip to the river once again, this time with side kick Buckeye.

I am late meeting up with him as more e-mails to deal with, before I can head to meet Buckeye. We had decided to look for some golf balls to start the afternoon, alway a good way to relax before we would wet a line. ;D

I see his truck on my arrival but he is in some bush  somehere trying to find some of those little round white things. ;D I work the side of the dike and I have found 5 when I hear someone call my name. "Chris coming your way" is the cry as a ball wheezes by my head. What a way to leave this world, hit on the head by a golf ball. ;D

What a thread it would be here, the final journal by someone. :-\

 I find the ball, a cheap Top Flight ball and toss in back on the course, for my assassin, (not Fish Assassin) it turns out to be Nicole's dad, Lars,that I find out as the foursome reach me. We share a laugh and I rib him for using such a cheap ball to try to hit me with. ;D I also give him a ball I had found and tell him "use this one as it might improve your game and maybe you can keep it on the course". ;D ;D

I head to find Buckeye and I see him drive off and have to call him on the cell phone as he had not seen me behind him. ::) He has found 15 or so golf balls. Time is running short for him so instead of fishing we cleanup some garbage, shoot some pictures he may post and I give him a lesson in finding floats. ;D

He then heads to gas up at Yarrow before heading home for supper and so do I and we get gas at $106.9, a bargin I guess in today's spiraling gas costs. As we part, I tell Buckeye I am going to get a fish now. ::)

I finally reach the river and it is close to 7:15, nearly 12 hours since I left it this morning, a little over 1 hour of daylight left. ??? I first check the steelhead redds I found the other day to see if any spawning fish there but it still is too light I guess as no one home. As I am looking for them a brown coated mink slips quickly along the shore, looking for supper I guess. I shoot few pictures but I am disappointed they did not turn out that well. If you look closely at the one we post you may see two beady eyes peering out between the rocks at me, if you can enlarge it.

I continue towards the run I wish to fish just above where I got my first of the season, on the Boxing Day Derby no less.  I am interupped by a gander who hisses and chases me away from their nest that the pair are setting up house keeping at.

I finally reach the run I wish to fish and it is about 7:35. I start fishing a jig and have no luck so change to roe, some fresh borax only cured steelhead roe that Helmet gave me earlier in the week.

I have made about 4 or so casts beside a root that is in the middle of the river. I am walking downstream as the Maple Leaf drennan bobber bobs nicely along.

I look briefly away as I take a step, I look back, no MLDB, ;D I set the hook in disbelief, as I have had no fish on for close to 10 days. ??? Immediately I feel the pulse of a fish on the end of my line as my pulse also quickens.

I can not resist and phone Buckeye on my cell phone, to tell him my prediction has come partly true, partly true as the fish is not on the beach yet. What a beakist move phoning and giving the play by play of playing a steelhead, cell phone in one hand rod in the other, no proper control of the iron on the end of my line. I describe the action to Buckeye for one minute and hang up, the time is 7:54.

The fish fights well, jumps a few times. It feels good to have a fish on again. As it nears the shore I see it is a hatchery buck of around 9 to 10 pounds. As I have not kept a fish since February 28 I decide to keep it, partly to attune and get in the good books with my wife, after stealing her glasses 12 hours earlier. I snap a picture with the MLDB, you will notice the leaf logo missing on it as I am still in mourning from not making the playoffs and in respect to Patty. >:( :o The steelhead has some colour but when I clean it I find the gonads quite small and tight still, it will make nice eating, with no fresh fish in nearly two months.

I pack up as the rain begins to fall and trudge the 10 minute walk back to the Leaf Mobile, 9 pounds or so heavier than I was packing when I walked in. ;D As I leave the river I think of how the meeting with Minister Penner will go tomorrow, I know I will be telling him how successful the hatchery is on the Chilliwack Vedder as I saw it first hand this evening. Will the talk then turn to the situation on the Cheakamus as a number of people have asked me to try and inform him that it should be a good plan to  put some hatchery steelhead in to replace those wild fish lost to the chemical spill a while back. Do you think it is not such a bad thing to do? I will try to work it in to the conversation. If not tomorrow then Sunday when I represent my riding, Chilliwack Sumas in a President's Council meeting with Premier Campbell in Richnond. I believe as Barry should be there too and maybe a better venue to talk one on one.

My day ended it as it began, a beached steelhead, one by eagles and the other by me, another good day on the journal, I think. ;D ;D

« Last Edit: April 21, 2006, 06:28:19 AM by chris gadsden »
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Fish Assassin

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Are you sure you saw the two eagles attacking the steelhead Chris ? After all, you were wearing your wife's glasses. ;D
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chris gadsden

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Are you sure you saw the two eagles attacking the steelhead Chris ? After all, you were wearing your wife's glasses. ;D
Saw it with my own eyes, a sure thing as is the Leafs winning the Cup in 2007. ;D ;D ;D

Rodney

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Chris' photos. Captions:

(1) Kelt steelhead caught in a riffle after being chased by eagles
 
(2) Steelhead flips itself into the main river escaping from me and the eagles.
 
(3) Can you spot the beady eyes of the mink peering out at me from the rocks?
 
(4) A gander threatening me that I am too close to the nest while working a run.
 
(5) The end of another day, a hatchery steelhead caught just before dark.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2006, 02:35:44 PM by Rodney »
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TrophyHunter

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Ok so now I need someone to explain to me how a fish that looks like that all covered in fungus can possible regenerate and make it back to the ocean ??????  I didn't think that Steelhead got moldy like salmon..  shows you how much I know hahaha  ;D ;D

those are some great pics Chris.. congrats on the nice steel!!!!  I love the beady eyes pic lol
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...oooO..............
...(....).....Oooo...
....\..(.......(...)....
.....\_).......)../.....
...............(_/......
... RICK WAS ......
....... HERE..........


XG Flosses with his Spey !!

DionJL

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not all fish make it back to the ocean.
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TrophyHunter

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not all fish make it back to the ocean.

that part I know..  but do all Steelhead get fungus on them???
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...oooO..............
...(....).....Oooo...
....\..(.......(...)....
.....\_).......)../.....
...............(_/......
... RICK WAS ......
....... HERE..........


XG Flosses with his Spey !!

Rodney

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Just like human... Sometimes people get moldy... then they recover and live for a long time. :)

Ribwart

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and just like humans, steelies have an immune system...It is my understanding that during the spawning process and the metamorphasis salmon and steelhead go through, that their immune systems become suppressed. This is how the fungus is able to take hold and proliferate. However, with steelhead, because as we all know they recooperate, it is likely the fish will be able to recover from this infection...but there's always the chance that due to its injuries, and the timing of the infection that its immune system could be overwhelmed and thus be unable to counteract the infection...If that was a kelt on the mend, its chances are probably better as it's immune system is now on the way back to full strength, if this fish hasn't spawned yet, the immune system will likely become weaker still before it gets stronger again and it is quite possible this will be its last season...
as far as all steelies getting mold on them, I don't think that's likely, usually with any infection an injury is incurred that circumvents the initial or first defence of the organism (ie: the skin) and so providing an opening through which the offending microbe (fungus) can take hold. The rate at which most microbes reproduce is usually much faster than the immune systems initial response time, then once the immune system kicks into full gear, then the infection is beaten back....
All salmon will get the fungal growths because their immune sytems will not "mend", like a kelt's will....so once the salmon gets past a certain stage in it's life cycle the immune system is no longer able to defend against such infections regardless of whether the skin is still intact. Looking more closely at Chris's pic, I think this fish is probably not going to make it, that infection looks pretty bad, it all depends on the strength of the fish and the stage of the spawning cycle it's in at this point. The sooner it starts feeding and feeding well again, the sooner it goes on the mend, the quicker its immune system will rebound....
Hope that helps,
Rib
« Last Edit: April 21, 2006, 05:46:48 PM by Ribwart »
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TrophyHunter

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yeah that helps plenty.. thx for clarifying that.. see I learned something new today.. kewl!!!! 

but I must say that from now on I am gonna think twice about eating steelhead lol..  that gorgeous chrome steelie that you just bonked could have been covered in mold at one point  :P :P hmmmmm
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...oooO..............
...(....).....Oooo...
....\..(.......(...)....
.....\_).......)../.....
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... RICK WAS ......
....... HERE..........


XG Flosses with his Spey !!

Coho Cody

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it's not a huge fish, so it probably hasnt spawned many times which means it should be back on its way to the ocean if the fungus lets up.
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chris gadsden

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C.C. As the radio tagging program we did a few years ago unfortunately proved very few steelhead make it back a second time to spawn. The amount of seals we have in the river and ocean this days does not help either. I saw one at the Freeway bridge a couple of weeks back so they get picked off coming and going.

Is it time to time to start a seal cull here?

I filed my latest journal under general discussion yesterday and hope to have one tomorrow under fishing reports as I am back on the Island for another go at the coastal Cutts. ;D ;D

Fish Assassin

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You saw a seal on the Freeway bridge ?? ??? ;D
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chris gadsden

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You saw a seal on the Freeway bridge ?? ??? ;D
Sorry, under. ;D ;D and it was rolling, rolling, rolling right along too. ;D ;D ;D