24" SRC in Doubt

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Bugthrower, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Les -
    Obviously you and I need to get out more and catch a cutthroat now and then. I too have seen very few with net marks. While there is no doubt the occasional fish is caught in a gill net and beach seine fisheries such as that at Tulalip can and do catch cutthroat (though not gilled) I before today never considered incidental gill nets to be much of a factor. I do though see lots of scarring on cutts, especially the larger older fish. I had thought most of those scars were from predators and injuries associated with spawning.

    Ray Healers -
    Good questions/thoughs about where are the smaller hybrids.

    I actually stumbled across the thoery that those exceptional large "cutts" might be hybrids when discussing the fate of cutthroat/steelhead hybrids. It is fairly common to find a reasonable % of the pre-smolts in many basins to be F1 hybrids but F2 hybrids or even adult hybrids are surprising rare. It looked likes for some reason the hybrids once they left the river systems have poorer survival; the question of course is why?

    We know that sea-run cutthroat when they go to the salt that they stick around in Puget Sound not straying too far from their natal basins. Steelhead on the other hand seem to quickly vacate Puget Sound and head to the open ocean. What do the hybrids do? Stick around home? Head out to sea? or something inbetween? Don' think anyone knows however if they do anything different than the sea-runs we may not ever see them until they return as mature fish. Further the survival of the cutthroat smolts appears to be much higher than the steelhead smolts. How the hybrid smolts would fare again is unknown but it may not be much of a reach to think that they may perform more poorly than the cutthroat and in fact given that two species do not form hybrid swarms might argue that they do not survive very well at all.

    It should be stressed that this theory that those exeptional large fish might be hybrids is merely a pet personal theory of mine and there certianly may be other logic explainations. However the theory seems to be a plausible one to me and I have not heard any others. That said folks should keep in mind that few folks in the fish management business have been wrong more often than I have.

    Still looking at the available information, forming theories as to the fish's behaviors and investigating that behavior is valid method of increasing our knowledge of the critters. In this case genetic sampling or even scale collections from those exceptional fish (are they older than say a 20 inch fish?) would provide valuable feed back to the validity of the theory.

    Tight lines
  2. Preston, thanks for clarifying.

    Richard, ADFG used to recommend trophy cutthroat lakes but I don't know if they still do. You might want to poke around on their website. Or grab a map of areas in SE Alaska. If you find a decent sized lake with ocean access and a sockeye run, chances are there will be some large cutthroat available. However, most of the better lakes are pretty inaccessible, meaning you will need to be dropped in by plane. The good news is there are many cabins for rent through the government that are relatively inexpensive.

    If none of that works, feel free to PM me and I can provide a few names for you.

    As far as the name, I'm pretty sure that all sea-run, anadromous cutts are of coastal cutthroat variety but not all coastal cutthroat are sea-run. This is pretty similar to the situation with rainbows and steelhead. The sea-run elects to grow in the salt where residuals elect to grow in the river (or lake). So technically the same species but with different growth strategies.
  3. I have been fishing for "searuns" for over 30 years now, and during that time I have caught only about a half dozen that were 20" or over. Since the no kill regulations (unfortunately for salt water only) went into effect, it's been my experience that the average size of the cutthroat has increased significantly, at least here in the South Sound. All of the fish 20" or over that I caught were accurately measured with a tape, 2 of which measured 22". I'm sorry, but I have no photos. As has been posted, I would definitely agree that searuns 20" or over are VERY RARE!!
  4. Here we go, photographic PROOF! Walt's 24+ cutt! :)
  5. So the next time I beach a fish in the 20" range I should check it's back teeth? They're not as "prominent"? Gees, I think if I was that old and fat, eating many meals in the saltchuck, my backteeth would be worn a bit too! So these would/may look like a "cutt-bow"? I have seen coastal cutthroat cuttbows in a lake I fish, so I think I could maybe identify one, although I don't think I have ever seen one in the salt that has resembled one.
  6. Back in the 70's I visited my Aunt on Bainbridge. They let me borrow their Dingy to do some fishing (probably to get me out of their hair). While tied to a dock harassing pile perch, I inadvertantly let my line baited with a fresh pile worm drift downtide. The next thing I know my rod folds over and nearly jumps out of the boat. After a spirited fight, I land a fat 19" cutt. Now having forgotten the perch, I intentionally drifted a big pile worm downtide from the dock, - this time to be inhaled by an even bigger cutt! That one taped out at 21"! I remember because my Uncle was stunned that a searun could get that big, (or maybe that his kid nephew could catch one on his own). Sorry no pics, but I remember it was delicious broiled with some lemon, dill and butter! (forgive me I was a kid!)
  7. I primarly fish searuns over every other species. What I have noticed with the large cutthroat is that they separate themselves from the herd. They have been found where you wouldn't necessarly think. Nick and I cover a ton of water in a day and the areas that we get double hookups or multiple hookups on one particular points, the fish are not huge. The monsters, 20+ inchers run solo. Many times we will catch the same fish on different outings and you can tell because of the growth on the side of its head. Nick gets pissed when I am the one that hooks up with him. All and all size is not a much of an issue as the fight. I have had 15-18 inchers fight a much more spirited and longer fight than some of the large ones. But being males we seem to hang our hat on fish inches. Give me a great fight any day. That being said, Nick and I are not sure who has caught the largest 20-24+ inch cutt because we try to keep them in the rubber net and not on our plastic measuring "hog troft" which measures your salmon for regulations.

    As for the hybrid, I worked with a woman on Bainbridge who did a study of searun cutthroats and her finding of the DNA of the numerous fish she analyzed was that a large percentage of them were hybrids. Only about 3/4 were actually pure cutthroats. So unless you really want to catch a 24+ inch fish, take a DNA test of it and then post the results without killing the fish, who is to really say and why do we really care. I think it is cooler that we are catching steelhead out in the salt anyway.
  8. I have a hard time buying the hybrid thing for some reason. I agree that the big boys stick together. Generally, if I land a good fish, I immediately pound the water in the same vicinity and usually, not always, will find similar size fish. To me, a hybrid should look like a hybrid in some way, shape, or form. Would like to see that DNA study...
  9. Let me sum this thread up for everyone...:ray1:

    Next time you catch a large searun, stick your finger in it's mouth, yank off a scale or two, run a tape along side it and take a picture of it:thumb:

    Ah what the hell, I want video proof, and this time make sure you get a shot of Mt. Rainer in the background.:cool:

    This is a very interesting thread by the way. Good theories, expertise and some great pics.
  10. iagree Well summed up.

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