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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Spawning...landlocked Chinook! From Lake Almanor  (Read 1489 times)

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Clayman

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This afternoon I went on my annual "pilgrimage" to a nearby stream to check out some spawning brown trout.  The stream is a tributary to Lake Almanor, and the browns typically start heading up it to spawn starting in late October.  I only spotted a handful of brown trout.  But what made it really interesting was the abundance of Chinook running up the creek.  They seemed to outnumber the browns 5 to 1!  I've seen a few Chinook in here in the fall, but nowhere near the numbers I saw today.  They ranged from 14 to about 24 inches or so, and made for some cool underwater photos.  There were redds all over the place (probably a mixture of brown trout and Chinook redds).  I've always wondered if these landlocked salmon produced viable eggs.  I've never encountered any Chinook around here smaller than yearling-sized (the size they're stocked in the lake), but that doesn't mean there isn't any natural reproduction occurring.  It'd be a cool grad student project  :smt004.

I didn't take video this time around, only the still photos.







Badger got a little too excited and jumped right in after the salmon.  I would've been pissed if these were wild fish, but in this case it was funny to see him flailing around in the freezing water chasing the fish.





Good way to spend a Friday afternoon  :smt004.
aMayesing Bros.


polepole

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Cool stuff Chris.  Have any of the Chinook you've kept had mature eggs in them?  The 19" I kept when we visited had very immature eggs in it.  So immature, I would not have thought it was spawning this year.

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NoSoupForU

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Nice pictures!  Wish I was up there this afternoon.



It happened once before that doesn't mean it couldn't happen again.

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Numba Waaan

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LMAO!  I was thinking of the exact same clip from Geriatric Park - "They're Breeding!!"   :smt044

thx for the pics Chris.  really neat


Clayman

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Cool stuff Chris.  Have any of the Chinook you've kept had mature eggs in them?  The 19" I kept when we visited had very immature eggs in it.  So immature, I would not have thought it was spawning this year.

-Allen
I don't think I've ever caught a gravid female Chinook from this lake Allen.  I've caught a couple of colored-up males that were spewing milt, but no gravid females.  I've heard there's a self-sustaining population of landlocked Chinook in Folsom, so I was wondering if it was possible here.

Nice pictures!  Wish I was up there this afternoon.



It happened once before that doesn't mean it couldn't happen again.


Haha, I know right?!
aMayesing Bros.


LoletaEric

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So killer, Chris!  Today I was on the Eel again and thinking of you and specifically your underwater reports of the browns!  Too ironic!  Great nookie shots - they gotta be at least working their way toward a viable spawn.  Chaos Theory should prevail...   :smt001
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JJQ

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Thanks for the report and pics Chris.  I'm making a point to visit you next year!

Josh


Sin Coast

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That's pretty fricken cool!
Hey, what's the term for freshwater fish that ascend rivers to spawn...it's like badassdromous or something?
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Archie Marx

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Thanks for the report, and way cool. 
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Way cool, love your photos. I have to get you and your camera on the South Fork Eel in my drift boat chasing some steelhead this year, you can even bring Badger, he can keep my dog company......we'll do a Myers Flat down drift, Avenue of the Giants, the scenery is unbelievable.


fishforit

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Thank you for the great pics and very interesting report. I also thought that land lock Chinooks' couldn't spawn? Perhaps this was false information?
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Clayman

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So killer, Chris!  Today I was on the Eel again and thinking of you and specifically your underwater reports of the browns!  Too ironic!  Great nookie shots - they gotta be at least working their way toward a viable spawn.  Chaos Theory should prevail...   :smt001
Thanks Eric.  I look forward to seeing your vids/pics of those GIANT Eel River Chinook this year!

Thanks for the report and pics Chris.  I'm making a point to visit you next year!

Josh
I look forward to it Josh!  I recommend springtime, March or April!

That's pretty fricken cool!
Hey, what's the term for freshwater fish that ascend rivers to spawn...it's like badassdromous or something?
Thanks Pat!  It's "potadromous" for the freshwater-only migratory fishes...but I like your term better  :smt003.

Thanks for the report, and way cool. 
Thanks Adam.  You're a knowledgeable guy on reservoir fisheries.  Do you know of potential self-sustaining landlocked Chinook fisheries in CA?  I've heard they're in Folsom.  I was always under the impression that the females couldn't produce viable eggs when stuck in these smaller reservoirs.

Way cool, love your photos. I have to get you and your camera on the South Fork Eel in my drift boat chasing some steelhead this year, you can even bring Badger, he can keep my dog company......we'll do a Myers Flat down drift, Avenue of the Giants, the scenery is unbelievable.
Hell.  Yes.   :smt007.  Let's keep in touch on a SF Eel float Pete.  I've never wet a line in that river.  I'll help pay for gas, food, whatever it takes!

Thank you for the great pics and very interesting report. I also thought that land lock Chinooks' couldn't spawn? Perhaps this was false information?
Thanks!  I've seen some Chinook try to spawn around this lake, but not in any great numbers.  Especially considering how many are planted every year.  I've always thought some fish merely "go through the motions" of trying to spawn but don't actually produce fertilized eggs.  But then you hear stuff like people catching Chinook in Folsom Lake despite several years of no stocking, and of juvenile Chinook spotted in the Folsom tributaries.  I've tried finding more information on this subject but there doesn't seem to be much out there.

Oh, and Allen (polepole): After thinking about it for a while, I actually HAVE seen a gravid female Chinook from this lake.  It was December of 2012.  A friend called me to identify a fish his neighbor had caught (and kept), so I checked it out and it was a gravid female Chinook.  She was spilling eggs on the guy's tailgate and had a sore lower caudal, indicating that she had been trying to dig a redd in the Big Springs area.  That's the only gravid female salmon I've seen around here.
aMayesing Bros.


bluefin17

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Very cool, I'd love to trap that creek in the spring to see if anything came of the Chinook redds!  You're right would be a very cool grad student project!


49ersfan

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those pictures are amazing.


Clayman

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Thanks for the props guys!

Just got an update from my buddy Geoff regarding these spawning Chinook.  He said he's been HAMMERING them at the creek's mouth lately.  Catching 5-6 fish within an hour on jigs.  They're all dark.  But here's the cool thing: most of them have been spilling large eggs or a bunch of milt when he lifts them from the water, and he said a couple of them looked to be spawned out with a worn lower caudal.  This is the first time I've heard of a significant number of egg- and milt-laden Chinook in such large numbers on this lake.  I'd like to partake in the action, but I have work  :smt012.  Maybe I can sneak out there for a Friday morning fish, we'll see!
aMayesing Bros.


 

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