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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to put this one to rest. How do you tell the difference between the two? I fish the santiam systems alot.........I know the summer run steelhead are clipped, the winters are native. I grew up in Milwaukie fishing the Clackamas. Fishing it year round! Didnt care what time of year it was....as long as it was missing a fin! What do you look for to determine the difference? An ODFW official and I discussed this yesterday.He did not leave me with a good understanding. :shrug:
 

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Summer run fish are stream maturing and will generally come into fresh water with immature sexual organs (egg and or sperm sacks). Thet spend 6-8 months in fresh water before spawning.

Winter run fish are ocean maturing and will come into fresh water with well developed egg sacks and or sperm sacks and spawn only weeks after entering fresh water.

UG
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Other than "internal" investigation.....are there any external characteristics that would help?

Thanks for the info green! I dont want to take the knife to all my fish though!
 

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Well on the clack you could tell by the clips. Summers are crome this time of year! Go to Great american tackle a and get a clackams finclip chart.
 

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.... And that brings to mind another question..
I hear all this talk about Willamette fish (Springers) and Up-River Brights. Well when you catch a Springer in the Lower CR, can you really tell the difference?? If so how?
 

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Good question T-Jet. :whazzup: I've often wondered this myself. Being new to the salmon/steelhead fishing scene, I tend to ask a lot of questions. Thanks to everyone who's willing to answer! Thanks UG for this tidbit of info!

- :dance: jokester
 

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As UG said, the sex organs are the sure fire test.

I can tell about 90% of the time just by looking at them in the water.

The summers have such a white belly and look real matalic with clear looking fins.

The winters can be chrome this time of year too but usually there's at least just a hink of pink on the gill plate and they are just a bit grayer.

Summer


Winter


Note the distinct contrast of the dark and light sides of the summer.

Fin clips are another indicator to use.

[ 04-07-2003, 08:17 PM: Message edited by: David Johnson ]
 

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If you catch a steelhead with a long lower jaw and upward Kype/chin, it's definitely a winter buck. Summer bucks don't have the kype yet. I usually tell by the finclips. The vast majority of natives are winter runs, even into may. On the Clack, the winter hatchery fish have an additional clip (not just adipose), but the summer runs have just adipose....Of course, mistakes are often made to confuse the issue.

Bottom line: It's a steelhead! :grin:
 

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I definitely notice a difference now that I see the pics side by side. Thanks for the pics Dave!
 
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