I caught a salmon and a steelhead at Gales Creek!


Fred

Active member
My friend and I had fished for trout all day and caught nothing. I then decided to try and catch a pikeminnow at that deep hole on b street. We still had some bass swimbaits tied onto our lines and decided to see if the pikeminnows would go after them. After about the third cast I hooked a fish that looked about 2 pounds. as newbie fishermen were freaking out over a fish that size in gales creek. So about two cast later i feel this very heavy weight on the end of my line. At first I'm thinking i snagged a log and it's dragging on the bottom. Then the line starts to move in the water and I start screaming that i have a huge pikeminnow on. Then i see the tail of this thing and I'm like this pikeminnow is huge. Next thing i know i see it come to surface and me and my friend turn into screaming chimpanzees as we realize that it's a salmon. I'm using 6lb mono and I'm muscling it in as fast as i can (probably a bad idea maybe should have let it run?) and i get this guy to the bank and my swimbait pops out as i released the line tension to go grab it because my friend was trying to take pictures instead of help land it and it freaking popped off. It sat there for second and then realized it was free and slapped it's tail on the muddy bank and swam away. When it got away me and my friend started running around the trail screaming in disbelief and disappointment. After we cooled down I grabbed my rod with the same swimbait and cast right next to a log and started twitching the swimbait. I feel the same heavy slow moving weight and I'm like no way another salmon. I start reeling and it barley put up a fight and i see chrome and start freaking out with my friend. We get it to the bank slide it half way up the terrible slip and slide bank and i realized that it was a huge freaking chrome steelhead. I grabbed at it's gill plate to try and bring it up and the freaking line snapped and it was gone i didn't even see how it snapped the line since it was half way out the water. I should have freaking gave it a big bear huge instead of being retarded and trying to grab it from the gills. Me and friend start running around like cavemen i started beating trees and everything else in frustration of losing two what i feel like are very rare fish for gales creek. After we got cooled down a second time we tried with salmon poles to twitch jigs and tried lures too. We caught a 10 in cutthroat which we would normally go crazy over in gales creek. Had about 3 other nice sized cutties bite our spinners and then sunset forced us to head home. I'm still in disbelief and I'm still royally pist that i got them both to the bank and didn't get to actually hold them,admire, and take picture of them. I'm happy that another person was there to witness that. I also saw salmon eggs on the ground when we walked in but didn't think much of them, thinking they must have been going after trout or pikeminnow. i estimated the coho to be 9 pounds and the steelhead 7. We saw a bigger 12+ coho jump clear out the water too. Insane evening at gales creek. Correct me if I'm wrong, i think you're not allowed to target steelhead on gales creek. I don't know about salmon. It was also weird that the steelhead was chrome. Never thought something like that would all the fish were hooked within 20 mins of each other.
 

EOBOY

Well-known member
Fred

Good job! You learn from mistakes....LOL. You'll never forget this day, you'll try.
 

rogerdodger

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I see no restrictions on what you can target at Gales Creek but trout and salmon are all catch and release after October 31.

Exceptions for:
--------------------------------

Gales Creek
  • Open all year for trout. Harvest allowed May 22 – Oct 31, 2 per day, 8 inch minimum length, remainder of year catch-and-release.
  • Open for coho salmon Aug 1 – Oct 31 from mouth to NW Clapshaw Hill Rd.
--------------------------------

Also important, from the zone regulations, no bait can be used at any time.

And because a rainbow over 20" is considered a steelhead, they can only be retained if they are hatchery clipped (healed scar where adipose fin was removed at the hatchery).


Willamette Zone Regulations
SpeciesBag LimitSize Limit and Other SpecificationsSeason
TroutLakes:5 per day, 3 daily limits in possession.
Streams: catch-and-release only, except as noted under Exceptions.
  • Angling restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams. See Exceptions where use of bait is allowed.
  • 8 inch minimum length.
  • Only 1 trout over 20 inches in length may be taken per day.
  • Rainbow trout over 20 inches are considered steelhead in streams.
  • Kokanee included in trout limits except as noted under Exceptions.
  • No limit on size or number of brook or brown trout in streams unless noted under Exceptions.
  • Closed to angling for bull trout.
Lakes:Open all year.
Streams: Open May 22 – Oct 31 unless noted under Exceptions.
Salmon and Steelhead below Willamette Falls and Columbia River TributariesIn the aggregate: 2 adult salmon or steelhead per day, 20 per year. 5 jacks per day, 2 daily jack limits in possession.
  • Angling is restricted to artificial flies and lures in streams. See Exceptions where use of bait is allowed.
  • Harvest of wild salmon or steelhead is prohibited in the Willamette Zone unless otherwise noted under Exceptions.
  • There is no annual limit on hatchery salmon or hatchery steelhead as long as the appropriate number of Hatchery Harvest Tags have been purchased to record the catch.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
Roger, Steelhead are closed in the Willamette Zone unless noted under exceptions.

There is nothing in the Gales Creek exceptions mentioning steelhead.

To me, that means even if it WERE a clipped fish, it is not retainable, which would include any trout over 20".

Thoughts ?
 

rogerdodger

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Roger, Steelhead are closed in the Willamette Zone unless noted under exceptions.

There is nothing in the Gales Creek exceptions mentioning steelhead.

To me, that means even if it WERE a clipped fish, it is not retainable, which would include any trout over 20".

Thoughts ?
an excellent point, my first thought is that it does in fact mean that on streams open to retention of trout but not steelhead, any rainbow over 20" (in the Willamette zone, NW and SW zones it is 16") is required to be released, regardless of fin clip status.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
What's dumb is that under those definitions, a 21" cutty would be called a steelhead, even though it absolutely is not. But whatevs.
 

TheKnigit

Active member
What's dumb is that under those definitions, a 21" cutty would be called a steelhead, even though it absolutely is not. But whatevs.
I thought this might be worth noting, since I ran into a similar situation last year and ended up calling my local ODFW office in Roseburg for clarification. What this ODFW rep said was that the rule "any rainbow trout over XX" is classified as a steelhead" only applies to rainbow trout, not any of the separate sub/trout species. According to this gentlemen a cutthroat trout over your designated size, 16" in the Southwest zone, would still be a trout.
 

bass

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The underlined and bolded text in Roger's clip from the regs clearly says rainbow trout (not just trout) over 20" are steelhead.

One other point to note is that you can't use soft plastics where bait is prohibited. Soft plastics are still considered bait here in Oregon (I find this so annoying). Not sure if @Fred meant a hard swimbait (perfectly fine) or a soft plastic swimbait (should not be used in Gales).

I feel the need to point this out every now and again as I think it escapes a lot of folks' notice. Would suck to get a ticket while you think you are obeying the rules.
 

Fred

Active member
The underlined and bolded text in Roger's clip from the regs clearly says rainbow trout (not just trout) over 20" are steelhead.

One other point to note is that you can't use soft plastics where bait is prohibited. Soft plastics are still considered bait here in Oregon (I find this so annoying). Not sure if @Fred meant a hard swimbait (perfectly fine) or a soft plastic swimbait (should not be used in Gales).

I feel the need to point this out every now and again as I think it escapes a lot of folks' notice. Would suck to get a ticket while you think you are obeying the rules.
It was a plastic storm swimbait. My bad I didn't know that rule, thank you for informing me. Also would a twitching jig that has some soft plastic attached to it count as a soft plastic bait? I took a quick look at the b street hole yesterday and saw some more salmon eggs and trash on the floor :mad:.
 

bass

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It was a plastic storm swimbait. My bad I didn't know that rule, thank you for informing me. Also would a twitching jig that has some soft plastic attached to it count as a soft plastic bait? I took a quick look at the b street hole yesterday and saw some more salmon eggs and trash on the floor :mad:.
The rules in OR baffle me but they are what they are.

The rules state that soft plastic is considered to be bait. I assume any soft plastic on a lure counts as bait. Think of soft plastic as being a sand shrimp. If you put that on a twitching jig that would definitely be a violation.

Sounds like a lot of poaching goes on in that hole. One tip I might offer is to fish s small countdown Rapala in the rainbow trout/smolt color. I have caught steelhead and sea runs on those.
 

bass

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It may say rainbow trout elsewhere, but here it just says trout.

View attachment 615944
Good catch @pinstriper

Now you have to wonder if they are purposefully protecting bigger sea runs (by calling them steelhead) or if this is an oversight. I would guess that whether or not you would have to pay a fine if you kept a 21" searun while steelhead was closed would likely depend on the LEO and the judge. It would be nice if they explicitly spelled out the intention here.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
Good catch @pinstriper

Now you have to wonder if they are purposefully protecting bigger sea runs (by calling them steelhead) or if this is an oversight. I would guess that whether or not you would have to pay a fine if you kept a 21" searun while steelhead was closed would likely depend on the LEO and the judge. It would be nice if they explicitly spelled out the intention here.
You know, in fairness they did a pretty good job of cleaning up the language/definitions about fin-clipped versus non, instead of "wild" and "hatchery" in recent years. It isn't perfect but they have certainly made an effort to be less ambiguous.

Given another 20-25 years I think they'll get it all cleaned up.
 

rogerdodger

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Good catch @pinstriper

Now you have to wonder if they are purposefully protecting bigger sea runs (by calling them steelhead) or if this is an oversight. I would guess that whether or not you would have to pay a fine if you kept a 21" searun while steelhead was closed would likely depend on the LEO and the judge. It would be nice if they explicitly spelled out the intention here.
you would only have a problem if you misidentified the fish. the rule only applies to Rainbow Trout. SRC are never considered a steelhead.

and identification is easy, in addition to the other differences between Rainbows and SRC, if there are teeth on the tongue, it is an SRC. Here are the official ODFW identification images:





Salmonid identification link:

 

my2labs

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Is a hard plastic bead considered to be bait? The reg seems to classify Bait as "soft plastic or rubber".
To be clear, I do not know the answer to this question.

However, the fact that this debate has to occur is nothing short of ridiculous. Who wrote the regs and decided to apply the term bait to soft beads????

Writing regs/procedures is not rocket science. And a golden rule of doing so is to keep it simple and easy to understand...

ie: rewriting the definition of bait to include soft eggs was a terrible decision. Just write “Bait and soft rubber artificial lures are prohibited.”

KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid!!

Sheesh!
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
They are in the unenviable position of needing to be specific so that folks know what is/is not permitted, but also being broad enough to cover unanticipated innovations.

For me, I "get" that they want to differentiate between bait and lures, and someone using soft plastic to imitate bait is essentially fishing with bait.

But then you get into lures, flies, etc. and you look at a wiggle wort and say "that doesn't look like any fish I've ever seen". And no doubt an angled slice of metal that is the kastmaster doesn't look like bait.

To us. On a desk counter in an office.

But to a fish, in the water, it looks and moves like a minnow. So do streamers. So do hoochies. And yarn balls look like eggs, just like a soft bead does.

sp,actually. I take it back. I don't get it. I don't get why an imitation fly isn't bait, but an imitation egg or worm is. I don't get why something that looks like bait to a fish isn't bait because to out eyes we can see it is just a chunk of pipe or a spoon bowl severed from its handle. and I REALLY don't get why a rapala minnow isn't bait, despite high definition printed graphics and hinged sections to make it look and move like a minnow, just because it is hard plastic.

To the fish, if it entices them to bite, it's bait.
 

TheKnigit

Active member
This is a complete guess, but I think one of the differing factors between "bait" and "lures" is scent. A lot of soft plastics have a scent mixed into the mold when they are made.

However, as I understand it, if an area is marked "artificial flies and lures only" you can still use some sort of smelly jelly on your lures.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
This is a complete guess, but I think one of the differing factors between "bait" and "lures" is scent. A lot of soft plastics have a scent mixed into the mold when they are made.

However, as I understand it, if an area is marked "artificial flies and lures only" you can still use some sort of smelly jelly on your lures.
Some soft plastics have scent. Some, maybe most, do not.

And as you say, adding scent to an otherwise allowed lure does not make it bait under the regulations.

So no. Scent does not play into it.

The whole thing is a sham. I suspect promulgated by fly fisherman wanting the water to themselves.
 

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