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I fish a tributary which contains resident browns, and also gets good runs of Salmon, and Steelies. The DNR plants the steelies in the stream, and a lot of the rainbows you catch are planters. Once in a while you will hook into a rainbow that will go anywhere from 13 -17 inches, and it's not a steelhead, or seems not to be. You'll catch these year around, and not during the run. So what are these fish. The stocking records show no plants of resident bows. So my quetion is, how did these fish get here? and are they resident fish? and is it possible they were planted steelies that never felt lke going back to the big pond? Also you will see these rainbows spawning in the crek well after the steelhead have passed through. So does anyone have any ideas what the deal is with these fish?
 

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I think you are correct - the fish in question were probably steelie plants that never decided to smolt to the big lake. I have caught similar fish in a trib that gets steelie plants and that is the only conclusion I can come up with. Kind of like the Pine River Rainbows that were steelies - then Tippy was built and they became locked in the Pine - but your fish - for some reason simply decided to stay in the river - the Pine River steelies didn't have a choice. This is of the point but I would have loved to fish the Pine for Steelies - It would probably be Michigan's best steelie streams.
 
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