Resident silver/SRC report

Last Friday I fished for resident silvers on the outgoing tide(morning) and checked out some estuaries on the incoming tide(afternoon) to see if SRC had started to out migrate to Puget Sound.

The resident silver fishing was very good as there were some nice sized schools of fish moving up and down a 3/4 to 1 mile of shoreline. It was a cat/mouse and hunt/seek game. They would occasionally jump as they moved up and down the beach so you had to figure out where they were headed and try to sneak up ahead of them. It made for some enjoyable fishing. The flies of choice were a skated floating candlefish pattern and a chartreuse/white clouser minnow.

This winter has been the best resident silver fishing which I have had since the banner year of 1993. That year the Sound was loaded with candlefish and the resident silvers were feasting on them. Hopefully the resident silver fisheries is getting turned around from the poor years in the late 1990's/early 2000's and will start to approach the great fishing in 1980's/early 1990's.

On the way back to the boat ramp I fished two estuaries. I was hoping that the chum fry had started to out migrate to the saltchuck and would be pulling the SRC with them as an easy meal.

At the first estuary within a couple casts I hooked and lost a large SRC. A few casts later I landed a beautiful 18" fish. I thought wow there are some large SRC in this estuary and the fishing is going to be great but after that I only landed a couple of 12-14" fish. At the second estuary I landed a couple of 12-14" fish. I did not see any SRC jump at either estuary.

The first estuary has an early chum run(early Oct.) with the chum fry usually out migrating the first part of March while the second estuary has a normal chum run(early Nov.) with the chum fry usually out migrating in early April. I did not see any chum fry in either estuary. The first estuary should start to heat up within the next couple of weeks when the chum fry out migrate.
Roger, great report as usual.

On Sunday AM I found a few Resident Silvers surfacing in a little cove. I was fishing from the beach, and even though they were within casting distance I couldn't get them to hit. I tried several different streamers, different sizes of amphipod patterns, a Bruce Ferguson "Green and Silver", and a Gurgler on the surface. I fished different depths and tried different retrieves ranging from dead slow to a hand-over-hand speed retrieve. All to no avail.

Back in the 80's when I had a boat we'd catch Resident Silvers fairly regularly. Now that I'm beach bound, I find that it's very tough to coax them into striking. Do Resident Silvers get spooky in shallow water? Are they feeding on stuff that's difficult to imitate? Is it just bad karma for me? Any tips?

The fish were jumping - sometimes completely out of the water. I didn't see any baitfish.

This was at about 8:00 yesterday morning right after the tide turned & started running out.

For the past couple of weeks, there have been some schools of resident silvers that have been hanging out along a shallow 1/2 mile long shelf. Have been getting them in 2-5 feet of water while fishing from a boat. These fish do not appear to be very spooky in shallow water as you have a crack at them for several minutes until they move down the shoreline. The fish have been showing themselves by jumping occasionally sometimes within 15-20 feet of the boat. From my experience, fish that jump tend to be aggressive and not too selective. If you can get a fly(clouser minnow or other baitfish pattern) in front of them, they will smack it.

If the resident silvers are sipping/dippling the water surface while feeding on amphipods(1/8" reddish/brown critters that look like a scud that spins in circles on the water surface), they can be difficult to catch as they are spooky(won't get within 40 to 50 feet of the boat) and are selective. A tip off that amphipods are present is when you see Bonaparte gulls sitting on the water and pecking at the water surface as they eat the amphipods. Occasionally I have had some good fishing for the resident silver under these conditions but usually it turns out to be an act of frustration. If I am lucky, I might catch the occasional fish. My strategy then is usually to go looking for some aggressive jumping fish.

P.S. Tom: Sorry but I responsed before I read your last post so I got side-tracked from your main question. Since there were jumping fish within casting range, I'm surprised that you didn't caught any fish. Just one of those days when the fish win the game? So much for jumping fish being aggressive and not selective!


Active Member
have you ever tried to catch them with an amphipod fly? We used to get them with a size 8 or 10 scud type pattern. just basically some pink floss with a little bit of flashabou over the back. Had some great days infront of my late friend's house. Used to take my boat over there and then hop into the float tube... much more quiet than the boat.
Tom, a couple of weeks ago I had a similar thing happen. Walking down the beach around the narrows, I would spot an occasional jumper or two, and I threw the book at 'em but no takers.

I kept moving down the beach and got into a cove about a 1/2 mile down where there were lots of jumpers, sometimes 10 at a time, and they hit everything I threw at them previously up the beach, sometimes before I could even start stripping; very non-selective: mostly 2" white clousers with some light yellow/green with some flash, but also yellow and black knudson spiders. Only difference was water had gotten lower by that time and light was going as the sun dropped behind the trees (I was facing the east). I surmised the timing was a little different as to the light and tide, and that perhaps the few I saw jumping were following after the larger school, maybe not feeding heavily just opportunistically, and moving on.

So, I'm not much help, except to tell ya your not alone, sometimes you do everything right but it doesn't help. After you work a range of patterns, at different depths and speed of retrieve, move on. Its hard to turn away from apparently active fish, but if you have thrown your whole repertoire at them, might as well.

I'd do what I could to avoid jumping in a float tube in the salt water, especially in the winter. Brrrrr! Its pretty cold water, although this winter has certainly not been the usual.



Active Member
Your reports are intriguing me! Where and when do you try fishing for them...for instance do I have a chance looking for them around the Larrabe Park area off 11 (Chuckanut near Bellingham)? I've only fished the salt once and was only catching cabbage!

Thanks for any help!
Andrew, try the gulf road beach, East of Ferndale. Res. silvers and cutts can be sometimes found there. In August/Sep. adult Coho and a few Chinook cruise the area also. Nice beach too. I've caught a cutt at larabee, but like beach fishing it's much about timing and being were the fish are at the moment. My impression is that the south sound (I need to fish there more often, had a blast when I did) offers a much greater opportunity for both cutts and silvers year round, than the north sound. You can find them but it can be spotty, at least in my experience. Give it a try, its one of W. Washingtons great aspects.
The North Sound cutthroat fishery is different than the South Sound. While South Sound has nearly a year round fishery, in the North Sound the majority of the cutts have left the Sound to winter over and spawn up the tributaries of the major rivers. However, this month and next the bulk of the population starts heading out to the estuaries to fatten up on the outgoing salmon fry. As the year progresses most will gradually spread out along more of the beaches away from the major river estuaries. In your neck of the woods look to the estuary area now using bait patterns that match the outgoing chum smolts, in any river where chum spawn.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I catch sea run cutthroat here in the north Sound, and Admiralty Inlet near Port Townsend; all winter long, all year long. And the biggest fish isee all year here are caught between september and may.
I'm guilty as charged of over generalization, lumping together the East side of the North Sound with the West side of the North Sound. Indeed there appears to be a tremendous fishery up the entire side of the Western Puget Sound, and I stand corrected. :beathead: I guess I have a classic case of social-centrism, where I view everything from my position.

I do believe I am correct with my information with regard to the beaches of the East side of the North Sound, North of say, Edmonds, or there abouts. Basically the areas around the Skagit, Stilly and Snohomish Rivers. Noting where Andrew was hailing from, Bellingham, I think the information for his area is correct, though I'd love to hear of areas closer to me in Edmonds/Mukilteo that had a 'decent' year round sea-run cutthroat fishery. If so, when I get my IRS refund back I'll have to hire you to show me the way!