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Steelhead Strain Info

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Old 02-06-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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I was curious about the Skamania steelhead so I forwarded the post about them to Phil Hillman Fish Management Supervisor of district three in Ohio and asked about them.
He sent me the following information."Ohio's formal annual trout stocking program began in the early 1980's with stockings of various sizes of London-strain ( domestic rainbow trout from our London State Fish Hathchery ) that ranged from 2" to 10 ", although the focus by the mid-1980's was on 4" to 7" fish. These fish were stocked in Rocky, Chgrin, and Grand Rivers, as well as Conneaut Creek. We had earlier ended the Chinook Salmon stocking program in 1980 due to returns of 0.5% on the average. We also worked with Cleveland Metroparks from 1982 through 1988 in the stocking of Spring spawning fish Lake/Desmet strain of rainbow trout in the Rocky River.
By 1987 and 1988, we were realizing Spring returns of over 3,000 Steelhead Trout per year ! We already felt that we were on to a good thing and were stocking large numbers of the London-Strain rainbow Trout by 1987 in these systems. We fin-clipped the London-Strain rainbows as part of a Steelhead evaluation, which was conducted in both the Grand River and Conneaut Creek from 1987 through 1989. We also ended the Coho Salmon program in 1988 due to inferior returns. Brown Trout were also stocked at Geneva State Park marina from 1985 through 1989, although we primarily tracked the 1988 and 1989 stocked year classes. As with the Chinook Slamon, extremely low returns were observed. We have no evidence to suggest that these fish ended up in New York. Brown Trout are Much Less Migratory than Steelhead Trout and can certainly tolerate water as warm or warmer than Steelhead.

The Little Manistee Strain of Steelhead Trout were fin-clipped and stocked in Conneaut Creek during 1991 and 1992, as part of an evaluation to determine whether a migratory Steelhead Strain could improve our blossoming Steelhead Trout fishery. When we discovered that indeed this strain was far superior to London-Strain Rainbows, we began stocking large numbers of Little Manistee Strain Steelhead Trout from 1995 through the present in not only the four streams mentioned above , but also adding the Vermillion River in 2002. We stopped stocking the London-Strain Rainbow in Lake Erie tributaries after 1998, although it is a highly successful Strain that is used for our statewide catchable trout program for the inland lakes. The Little manistee Strain of Steelhead Trout spawns in the Spring, but fortunately for anglers, starts migrating upstream as early as September and as late as May.

There are a number of Strains of Steelhead Trout in Lake Erie , now such as the Ganaraska, Chamber's Creek, Londons, and Little Manistees. I say Londons are still out there since Pennsylvania has historically spawned fish captured from their Lake Erie tributaries during the period from October through April. They are non-selective with regards to Strain of fish captured. So, genetically, there is a pretty good mix of Strains out there.

As far as recognizing fish without a fin clip, this is not too reliable, since there is a tremendous amunt of variation in color, size, and shape of Steelhead Trout even within the same Strains.

Skamania are hatchery-created Steelhead Trout that actually return during the Summer months. It has returned at Much Lower Stream Returns than the Little Manistee Strain, based on a research project conducted in Michigan. This fish tends to be long and thinner, but people who think they are catching Skamania in our streams are likely catching Chamber's Creek Steelhead Trout, which are long and very thin compared with the Little Manistees, Londons, and Ganaraskas. We will NEVER be stocking Skamania Steelhead because we don't want the fish coming back to streams to parboil in July and we don't want inferior returns, which is what we would get.

One thing I neglected to add was that due to low return of Brown Trout, we no longer stocked them in Lake Erie after 1989."

I found Phil's answer and explanation to be very informative. He also said if anyone has any questions about any fishing topic in Ohio they can call his office and speak with he or someone else there in Fish Management to get an answer. The number is ( 330-644-2293).
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:01 PM   #2
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Real Good Info! Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:07 PM   #3
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EXCELLENT information!!! i would still like to see ohio put some more effort into brown trout. i feel conditions are favorible for them in the western (vermilion/rocky) tribs. it would be cool to not really know what you were going to tie into during the fall months.
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:54 PM   #4
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Not to mention the fact that the warm water discharges would be full of 'em in the winter time DD....
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:18 PM   #5
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Like it says in my post. Call over and talk with Phil and see what he says.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:01 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info
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