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Wild rainbow trout critical to health of steelhead populations

Posted by Mark Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A fairly interesting article on a study the importance of wild rainbow trout in the health of wild steelhead populations  in the Northwest.. According to the article, the rainbow trout is often responsible for fertilizing wild steelhead eggs and mitigating the effect of interbreeding/introgression from hatchery strains. So in the end protecting habitat for both species is essential.

Amazing to read how interconnected these two fish are and how rainbows can contribute to the gene pool on years of low run numbers and difficult ocean conditions. Genetically identical in every way,why one goes to the ocean and one doesn't is still one of God's mysteries. While there are some exceptions to this rule(rainbows going to the ocean) the rainbows in those situations do not spend the time that steelhead do in the big pond. Most instances of rainbows going to the salt are in coastal Alaska,BC, South America or Russia. These fish  may only spend a short time in bays or areas where fresh and salt water mix. Like I said,we may never know the how and why of it.........fascinating stuff !

Hopefully this study is not used as fodder for more hatchery fish The real thrust of the article I think is rainbow trout and preservation of habitat is a big key to steelhead survival as well.

Check it-Wild Rainbow Article

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