Rock Lake (Whitman County) Fishing Report

Finally some nice weather, so decided to try my luck at Rock Lake before opening weekend at my favorite hole. Trolled along the northern edge using green perch, brown trout, and silver spinners. Wife pulled in a nice steelhead and a rainbow on the green perch spinner. Brown trout lure had no luck so I switched to the silver about an hour in. A bit heavier, so it was a bit deeper. Got immediate results and pulled in another nice steely and a smaller one. Called it quits at about 3:00 when the wind started picking up.

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4/17/2017 1:50 PM
I'd appreciate it if someone more knowledgeable than I could weigh in on whether the bottom left fish is a rainbow versus steelhead.
4/17/2017 5:38 PM
The Steelhead should be all clipped. Besides long and leaner.
4/17/2017 6:47 PM
They aren't steelhead until they make it to the ocean. They were smolts sure. But all of them are really just rainbow trout. If you want to see a steelhead look at my report.
4/18/2017 9:58 AM
The steelhead in Rock Lake are all hatchery fish (no ocean access). If they've only ever been in the hatchery and this lake, how can they be considered steelhead? Why do they look like steelhead versus rainbows if they've never been in the ocean. Just curious.
4/18/2017 12:59 PM
This is right from the Dept of fish and game, so I agree, not sure why the term "steelhead" is used except they were suppose to go into a river system and for some reason never made it. Steelhead (Rainbow Trout) Oncorhynchus mykiss Other names: steelhead trout, sea-run rainbow trout Average size: 8-11 lbs, up to 40 lbs Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, but rainbow are freshwater only, and steelhead are anadromous, or go to sea. Unlike most salmon, steelhead can survive spawning, and can spawn in multiple years
4/18/2017 4:21 PM
They are the offspring of steelhead (rainbow trout that went to sea and returned). They didnt go to sea themselves therefor they are not steelhead. They are mearly rainbow trout. Calling them steelhead is incorrect.
4/18/2017 6:53 PM
Yes, they may technically be the same species, but looking at the fish you caught, you can tell there are some slight genetic differences between the fish selected for migration to the ocean(steelhead) and those that came from lake stock. The Steelhead decendents are generally lighter in color and more streamlined (longer/thinner) and fight like the dickens. For sure, if your trout has had its adipose fin clipped, it came from steelhead stock.
4/19/2017 5:35 PM
Nice catch!
4/19/2017 9:08 PM
Washington State messing with fish and our waters. They could never bring back the native Redband after trying for ever, and always blaming the non native fish (Walleye, Pike, Muskie) for out eating the trout. But they will stock our waters with hundreds of thousands of sterile fish that do nothing but gorge themselves, farm fish (Triploids). Would much rather catch a walleye than a trout anymore. Take after Minnesota and Wisconsin, they seem to be able to fish them all just fine. Or open up more of our lakes year round so we can ice fish more, and chase the pan fish more.
4/21/2017 6:40 AM
Yes steelhead is one of many species of rainbow trout, But they are different than your normal planter and the triploid. Just like the Gerards or Kamloops that are in lake Pend Oreille yes they are a Rainbow but not the same. The reason they were put in Rock lake is because there was a law suit against the state from an environmental group that they could not release steelhead in any rivers into Puget sound because of interference with native steelhead, This happened two years in a row but is now resolved. So these steelhead had all been clipped and ready for release and state held them as long as they could and rather than kill them all they put them in lakes all over the state where they could not get to the ocean.
4/21/2017 6:50 PM
Kamloops is not a strain of trout nor is steelhead. Steelhead describe the life history of coastal rainbow trout, being anadromous. There are several strains to be found around kamloops, there are black water, FV triploids and diploids and pennask. The pennasks are the hard fighting trout kamloops fisheries are known for.