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  1. #1

    skamania? could it be?

    I weighed in first today in port at 11 on the dot. I actually had to wait hah
    The guy who weighed in second had two rainbows both very close in size (about 5.5lbs) but with very different appearance characteristics.
    One of them had a much much larger cheek plate and much bigger mouth. Bigger teeth too.
    I was speechless for a moment while my mind raced.
    Are they still around?
    Are they reproducing? They must be.
    Is anyone stocking them?
    Am I really seeing this? ***Squint
    Yes that mouth is huge. And the teeth are big for the size of fish!
    This thing looks like a demon rainbow.
    Is this a joke? Am I getting punked? Has this thing been frozen for 10 years?

    So I don't know I'm still speechless and don't know.what to think.
    The fish was for sure caught today. Be said they went out of sauble.
    I've caught a lot of rainbow in my time but never one that looked like this.

    And of course my camera and phone was in my float bag on the boat still.
    Sorry guys, no photo.

    Is this common though or what? Am I crazy?

  2. #2
    GBO Member Nick Toth's Avatar
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    I was on duty. The fish was a tiny bit thin, but I didn't sense anything out of the ordinary. When the fish are thin their heads, including the gill plates, are out of proportion to the rest of the body.

    About seven years ago I took a fish, about 4 lbs off one of our piers and it was a real screamer, spending most of its time in the air, tail-walking and taking long, arcing jumps. It was absolutely silver with a black back and a strong Salmon look to it. However, there was the slightest vertical hint of rainbow hue on the gill plate only which I'd never seen before.

    I wasn't sure what I had and some of the old hands said it was a Trout/Salmon hybrid, which they say occurs. First time I heard the term and I researched it., finding it was a strain from Skamania Washington. This you can all find courtesy Mr. Google.

    To this day, I can't say with certainty what I had that day it was damned fun and nothing like it since.

    Inquiries to the ministry revealed the following. Skamania had been planted and discontinued some years before I caught that fish. Success was limited due to the fact that these fish spawn in mid-August. Natural reproduction continued on a declining curve.

    That was a fine pair of fish by the way. I was pretty impressed with the number of Rainbow vs others we weighed in on the morning shift in Kincardine.

    Mine were casual, personal inquiries and perhaps there is better learning available from some of you.

  3. #3
    GBO Member Josh Choronzey's Avatar
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    Slim to none chance.
    Skamania are not a salmon/steelhead hybrid and they DO NOT spawn in August.

    The variations of steelhead apperance is huge. It jumps, its long, it had a big head or tail....all of which are not identification traits for Skamania.
    Salmon and steelhead do not breed and produce offspring.
    Google doesn't provide the right info on all topics
    Skamania were discontinued over 15yrs ago by Ontario.

    I watched a few fish come to the Saugeen Shores scales last week that were in fact Coho that hit the scales as steelhead.

  4. #4
    GBO Member Nick Toth's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Josh Choronzey
    Slim to none chance.
    Skamania are not a salmon/steelhead hybrid and they DO NOT spawn in August.

    The variations of steelhead apperance is huge. It jumps, its long, it had a big head or tail....all of which are not identification traits for Skamania.
    Salmon and steelhead do not breed and produce offspring.
    Google doesn't provide the right info on all topics
    Skamania were discontinued over 15yrs ago by Ontario.

    I watched a few fish come to the Saugeen Shores scales last week that were in fact Coho that hit the scales as steelhead.
    Agreed that the entry is very, very unlikely to be a Skamania. I was at the computer when his fish came in and can't recall it clearly. But the description tallies with an under-nourished fish. Chris and I spoke today and I think we cleared up that matter.


    I did not write that Skamania were a Salmon/Trout hybrid. I am aware that it is a strain developed in Skamania Washington.

    I got my info on Skamaina from MNR who at that time had a web site called "Ask the Biologist" or something like that. I didn't have to actually pose the question as it was already there.

    The suggestion of hybridization was from some of the local guys in response to my puzzlement. I don't accept or reject the notion as I never delved into it. However, Atlantic Salmon have been crossed with Brown Trout:

    Atlantic x Brown

    So, what are the chances of encountering a Skamania today?

    Skamania are cited in a 2008 bulletin from Wisconsin Natural Resources

    Wisconsin Skamania


    Wisconsin's planting records show the last planting of Skamania was in 2006. However, Skamania are cited in egg collections in this document, telling me that a possibility exists of encountering one.

    Skamania Run

    Given that we are now taking a growing number of US Atlantics, who knows?

    The above was all Googled :P

    As to my long ago fish? I can't say what it was, but I've seen nothing like it since.

    Josh, you mention "...identification traits for Skamania..." and I was not able to uncover anything about that. Can you enlarge on that?

    For that matter, can you provide any guidance on the different variations we encounter in silver, big-water Rainbows: solid black or blue, mottled green, etc?

  5. #5
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    For a little extra info, there is this article in the "Ask Grant" archives about Skamania.
    http://www.greybruceoutdoors.com/boa...d.php?tid=7344

  6. #6
    GBO Member Josh Choronzey's Avatar
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    Good topic...

    Skamania stocking was undertaken in Ontario by the SSA.
    The Saugeen had a minimal Skamania run as a result from strays from Michigan. This became an egg source for the SSA who trapped them in the summer at Dennys, and held the fish in ponds on SSA hatchery property until they became ripe in late winter. These fish were usually given a shot in order to induce them to become ripe in order to strip the eggs. Very intesive process. I recall watching the whole ordeal at the fishway, ponds and hatchery each year during the program.

    Mich and Ont no longer stock Huron or Gbay with them...and they havent for well over a decade +.

    Could you catch a stray Skamania from Lake Michigan where they are still stocked?
    Yes, possible, however, chances are very very slim, and to be able to positivley ID the fish without fin clip references makes it that more impossible.

    The "archive" link Kyle posted is very accurate.

    In terms of ID for Skamania strain summer runs.
    They were long, lean fish. Carried specific clips, had big eyes and tails with very thick wrists. Yes, they jumped alot, as do most steelhead caught in warm waters. Yes they were silver, as most steelhead are when caught outside of spawning and wintering phases. They were very strong and large...same deal with the average steelhead. Big heads...sure, most "male" trout and salmon have big long heads in comparison to females.
    I caught plenty while tagging along with my father on numerous trips when I was younger. Cannot say I have positively seen one in over 15 years. Since then, every catch claimed to be a Skamania appears to just be a run of the mill steelhead. If I had 5 dollars for all of the times I have heard, "hooked a fish that jumped 4ft out of the water, hit down 40ft over 100, must have been a Skamania"...i would be looking at some very attractive investments. In late May, there were a few steelhead caught off the harbor in Owen Sound. These were dropbacks that were obviously stuck up stream a little later than usual. They were very long, lean and already starting to silver up. They looked like worn out dropbacks that needed to hit the big lake. When I stopped by the cleaning station a fella with 2 in hand clamied they were big Skamanias because he caught them in the river in late May and they jumped like crazy. A couple seconds on the cleaning board and he found out they were silver droppies which were starving and white as snow inside in terms of fillets.

    Nick asked "can you provide any guidance on the different variations we encounter in silver, big-water Rainbows: solid black or blue, mottled green, etc?"

    They are creatures that blend in with their environment. Steelhead can appear to exhibit all kinds of colourations along their backs. Each fish is different, and each fish has the ability to adjust, usually to their surroundings. After handling 100's of fish at the Saugeen this fall, winter and spring, it becomes apparent that every steelhead is slightly different. Some carry lots of spots, while others appear to lack all spotting. Some days they are blue backs, the next day they are grey or green. Look at all the photos posted on here during peak steelhead times....no fish is ever the exact same. This is no different offshore where they all tend to be silver, but the backs can be green, blue, grey or black. As soon as you kill one that was caught offshore the colour change really begins. We boxed a 2 man limit off of Southampton last week. Each fish hit the deck silver and blue. When we pulled them out of the cooler 2hrs later they all looked different. 2 were royal blue, 2 were green. This is one of the reasons I think steelhead are super cool as they always suprise me.

  7. #7
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    Last skamania I caught was by the mill in Owen Sound way back in the 90's in early July.

    I have a buddy who hooked a couple in August in the Bighead back in the late 90's or very early 2000's (can't remember exactly when).

  8. #8
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    We could sure tell on Lake O ......lousy % of landings(1990's) .... is there still not the odd Splake being caught ?
    Glen

  9. #9
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    Oh no here we go!!
    Dan O.

  10. #10
    The last Skammies I got was back in '97 and I got a 15lb and 13lb in mid-June from a Huron Trib.

  11. #11
    It was nice meeting and chatting with you Nick.
    Maybe someday in the future we will see a Skamania stocking program again. I'm not holding my breath, but I'll keep my fingers crossed

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Lee Morton
    The last Skammies I got was back in '97 and I got a 15lb and 13lb in mid-June from a Huron Trib.
    Yup, '97 was my year too. Landed 7 of them from mid-July until early August. Not one under 12 lbs...largest is still my PB Bow to date, 17 lbs. Amazing fish, wish they were still around!

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