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Thread: Trout Movement during winter/spring

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    Member cube01's Avatar
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    Default Trout Movement during winter/spring

    As the season is ramping back up, I've been doing a little research lately and was wondering what everyone's thoughts were on this -
    Obviously Trout, Grayling, and Dollies don't winter (at least in any kind of numbers) in the parks streams, but where do they go during that time? And when do they start moving back into those systems and why?

    Also, you see much larger populations of trout in some of these systems during salmon runs because obviously they are following the food source, but what brings the resident fish there before that?

    Have any studies been done on numbers, etc? I haven't found much info on local trout movement in my search.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

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    My observations are somewhat limited but my beliefs are:
    The Rainbows, Dollies and Grayling move to the deep holes in the larger rivers for the most part. There are a couple of places that have a lake and I think a few move to the lake in those instances.
    They remain in the larger rivers until the ice is out and the smaller creeks warm up and clean up after the mud flows of spring thaw. They will sit at the mouths of the creeks gobbling up every salmon fry that comes down river within reach of them. They will gorge themselves so full, that when you catch one...they start vomitting them up. When they run out of fry, they will move upstream looking for bugs. Their brain is about the size of a small pea, so they aren't too hard to outsmart....contrary to what some profess.
    If you want to catch some, use a piece of fish belly skin and meat on a single hook...without a weight, let the line drift around in the current where the creek meets the river.
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    I've been told (by both bios & long term residents) that they tend to move downstream to the Susitna to overwinter. I'm not sure why - you'd think some of the deep holes in the creeks would be ok for them - but they supposedly move out of the creeks in September. I have caught some tagged rainbows in Willow, so I'm sure some studies have been done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    but they supposedly move out of the creeks in September.
    They may start moving that direction in September, but there are still a few in the upper reaches of the creeks well into November. You certainly have to work harder for them, but they are there. October is a GREAT month to fish the parks. No one there, except you and the fish!

    I know they move out to the Susitna, but what then?? That has my curiousity.


    Cube, did you ever see the mouth of Goose last year, about May 22?? My god. I'm done for the summer btw. You want to get some fishing in without that dolt muzzy let me know

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    They move into the BIg Sue during the winter and "hold" in the same holes year after year. Fish do winter in one of the Parks Highway streams. I'll let you figure out which one. What most people don't realize is, salmon do spawn in the Big Sue and fish that are in their wintering holes receive coverage, food i.e. carcasses, eggs, fry etc. and oxygen. The three requirements for resident fish. I've done some work with the Matsu rainbow trout telemetry project and I've been privy to know where there winter. One hint: The bigger the fish, the less he\she will travel from their preferred stream. Break down the Big Sue into a smaller river and read it. Where would you be to recieve coverage, food, and a good supply of oxygen.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by icb12 View Post
    Cube, did you ever see the mouth of Goose last year, about May 22?? My god. I'm done for the summer btw. You want to get some fishing in without that dolt muzzy let me know
    Actually I was going to hit the mouth of Goose one of these days this week after work... Tomorrow around 5:00 work for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    They move into the BIg Sue during the winter and "hold" in the same holes year after year. Fish do winter in one of the Parks Highway streams. I'll let you figure out which one. What most people don't realize is, salmon do spawn in the Big Sue and fish that are in their wintering holes receive coverage, food i.e. carcasses, eggs, fry etc. and oxygen. The three requirements for resident fish. I've done some work with the Matsu rainbow trout telemetry project and I've been privy to know where there winter. One hint: The bigger the fish, the less he\she will travel from their preferred stream. Break down the Big Sue into a smaller river and read it. Where would you be to recieve coverage, food, and a good supply of oxygen.
    It's too late in the day and the sun has me too distracted for riddles and guessing games

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    Quote Originally Posted by cube01 View Post
    Actually I was going to hit the mouth of Goose one of these days this week after work... Tomorrow around 5:00 work for you?
    Perhaps, I'll let you know tomorrow.

    Wednesday is better though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cube01 View Post
    Actually I was going to hit the mouth of Goose one of these days this week after work... Tomorrow around 5:00 work for you?



    It's too late in the day and the sun has me too distracted for riddles and guessing games
    Walk up and down from the mouths.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Fish an game did a studdy in fish migrations an gave a talk at one of the AK fly fishers meeting a while back, what supprize me the most was how fast the bows move nto the spanning rivers

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    Walk up and down from the mouths.
    I'm not looking for advice on where to fish. Thanks though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icb12 View Post
    Perhaps, I'll let you know tomorrow.

    Wednesday is better though.
    PM Sent......

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    Cube01. I did research on the Parks Hwy streams and Clear Creek in Talkeetna with Fish and Game from 1995 to 2005. I was one of the guys that did the surgical radio implants on rainbows along with other tags on these creeks. The fish start dropping out late September heading for the Big Su and Talkeetna to winter over. Some do stay in the small creeks. Around mid to late April the spawners start moving back in to do there yearly thing. Heading up to the upper reaches of these creeks and tributaries of those creeks. After spawning they start dropping back down to feed and wait for the Kings and othe salmon to start showing up. They then follow these salmon to there spawning grounds where of course the better groceries are. We did notice from tracking that some, I say some of the rainbows that were radio tagged did not return to the same creek as they were radioed at. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. I was amazed at how far they go up. Hope this info answers some of your questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired Jim View Post
    Cube01. I did research on the Parks Hwy streams and Clear Creek in Talkeetna with Fish and Game from 1995 to 2005. I was one of the guys that did the surgical radio implants on rainbows along with other tags on these creeks. The fish start dropping out late September heading for the Big Su and Talkeetna to winter over. Some do stay in the small creeks. Around mid to late April the spawners start moving back in to do there yearly thing. Heading up to the upper reaches of these creeks and tributaries of those creeks. After spawning they start dropping back down to feed and wait for the Kings and othe salmon to start showing up. They then follow these salmon to there spawning grounds where of course the better groceries are. We did notice from tracking that some, I say some of the rainbows that were radio tagged did not return to the same creek as they were radioed at. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. I was amazed at how far they go up. Hope this info answers some of your questions.
    That is exactly the kind of hard info I was looking for. Thanks Jim. +1 headed your way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired Jim View Post
    Cube01. I did research on the Parks Hwy streams and Clear Creek in Talkeetna with Fish and Game from 1995 to 2005. I was one of the guys that did the surgical radio implants on rainbows along with other tags on these creeks. The fish start dropping out late September heading for the Big Su and Talkeetna to winter over. Some do stay in the small creeks. Around mid to late April the spawners start moving back in to do there yearly thing. Heading up to the upper reaches of these creeks and tributaries of those creeks. After spawning they start dropping back down to feed and wait for the Kings and othe salmon to start showing up. They then follow these salmon to there spawning grounds where of course the better groceries are. We did notice from tracking that some, I say some of the rainbows that were radio tagged did not return to the same creek as they were radioed at. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. I was amazed at how far they go up. Hope this info answers some of your questions.
    I read a report that stated a tagged rainbow trout was caught in Byers Lake...that had been originally tagged two years earlier in the Lower Susitna Drainage...that is quite aways. Do you recall what the furthest distance recorded was in your studies?
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    Akers: There was one we radioed that wintered on the Chulitna River. I don't remember if it was originally radioed On Clear Creek or NorthFork of Kashwitna. I did track one up Little Willow the next spring, we never radioed any on that creek, high enough to where I ran out of water to take the boat any further, it started braiding out and flat. According to the radio receiver I could still hear the signal ahead of me. On one other occasion,same spring year, we were flown up the North Fork of Montana Creek. I don't recall the exact mileage but I can say the spot we landed at is not accessible by any other means except by how we got there and it would take a few days to walk to that spot. We actually caught that fish again that day along with a few,cough, others. Next time I drop in the office I'll get my data bank rebooted and have an answer for you. Possibly find a record on that fish caught at Byers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired Jim View Post
    Akers: There was one we radioed that wintered on the Chulitna River. I don't remember if it was originally radioed On Clear Creek or NorthFork of Kashwitna. I did track one up Little Willow the next spring, we never radioed any on that creek, high enough to where I ran out of water to take the boat any further, it started braiding out and flat. According to the radio receiver I could still hear the signal ahead of me. On one other occasion,same spring year, we were flown up the North Fork of Montana Creek. I don't recall the exact mileage but I can say the spot we landed at is not accessible by any other means except by how we got there and it would take a few days to walk to that spot. We actually caught that fish again that day along with a few,cough, others. Next time I drop in the office I'll get my data bank rebooted and have an answer for you. Possibly find a record on that fish caught at Byers.
    Sounds like you have some great data tucked away... Was there a report or anything published on this that is available to the public?

    Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cube01 View Post
    Sounds like you have some great data tucked away... Was there a report or anything published on this that is available to the public?

    Thanks again!

    Your Welcome

    Sorry Cube nothing written up yet I just checked. Yeah I've got a little data stuffed away in this old weak mind. Sometimes it just takes a little time to remember. Hope what I did recall helped you out now just save a few for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retired Jim View Post
    Hope what I did recall helped you out now just save a few for me.
    Trust me, the way I fish, there will be plenty left over :-P

    Thanks again.

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