Interesting Skagit Catch

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Brandon S, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. I've been playing around with my new gopro camera I got for Christmas an caught this cool guy on film back in early January. This is rough but I thought someone might like it. While no match for the spey rod, It was still an interesting catch. Actually the first cutthroat I've caught on the skagit....I assumed It was a dolly but when it got close enough my brain just couldn't make the black spots pink.

    Anyone else run into any incidental cutthroat this time of year?

    xdog, Richard Torres and Irafly like this.
  2. The lower you are in the river, the more you catch.
  3. I was out on the Skagit before Christmas and a couple of the guys I was with got into a pod of sea runs-landed 3 or 4. This was on the Marblemount to Rockport stretch, so they are in the upper river at this time. Rick
  4. Caught a couple maybe about two weeks ago, one about 14 and the other pushing 18.

  5. Nicely done.
  6. Well done!

    One of the joys of the Skagit is the diversity both within and between the species it provides the angler. The Skagit system has decent numbers of coastal cutthroat and as Jeremy mentioned they are more common lower. I would estimate that more than 90% of the sea-runs spawn in tribs. downstream from the Concrete area. That said I'm never surprised to catch one in the upper Skagit up to about Illabot/Barnaby Slough area or to Darrington on the Sauk. During the winter you will find them in the same areas pretty consistently.

    One of the penalities with the early steelhead closures is the loss of some pretty quality "trout" fishing. From about this time of year through the spring as the various salmon fry begin stirring an angler armed with their 5 wt can have some interesting fishing targeting the bulls and cutts and if prepared even some stellar dry fly action during infrequent bug hatches. More than once during BWO hatches I have had double digit sea-run catches in an hour or two.

    Love the Skagit and its fishes - long live the Skagit!

    kamishak steve likes this.
  7. Curt,

    This is an interesting tidbit that I would have never assumed. Is there a particular reason so much of the population is concentrated to the lower river? Seems like the opposite is true for the bull trout that spawn higher in the system (which I understand is due to their preference for cold water). Both species spawn high up in small tribs which seem to be more abundant in the upper river. I just figured sea-runs would have more of a presence in the upper river habitat.

    Nice catch btw.
  8. Hey Brandon, stay outa' my spot! (kidding)

    Looks as nice as a January day can get, clear and cold.

    Plecoptera, Curt might add more, but I think the SRC and bull trout have partitioned the habitat according to their respective preferences and needs, especially as it corresponds to water temperatures during the spawning and incubation time periods. The places I've caught cutthroat upstream of Concrete are places where the habitat is like the typical cutthroat habitat in the middle and lower river reaches.

  9. Plecoptera -
    As Salmo g. said bull trout and coastal have very different habitats preferences and though once they become smolts their behaviors are similar as youngsters they have different needs and behaviors.

    Coastal cutthroat are spring spawners (January through May on the Skagit) that typically use small (most you can jump or step across) low gradient streams for spawning and juvenile rearing. That type is found in the low lands and flood plains. These habitats can be relatively stable and typically have lots of "cutthroat cover" - large woody debris, over hanging brush and slow deep pools.

    The bull trout are fall spawners whose eggs require very cold water (less than 36 degrees) while they develop. Water that cold is often lethal to salmon eggs until they are pretty well developed. In fact the streams at times have anchor ice . Such waters are only found in the upper portion of the watersheds and typically higher gradient with significant run-off flows and can be unstable. The leads the juvenile bull trout exhibiting different behaviors than the cutthroat. that includes spending a lot of time in the substrate as small fry and migrating downstream and throughout the basin in seeking out foraging opportunities.

  10. Sg, very cold day, gloves didn't come off until late afternoon and the gravel bars remained frozen solid all day. With the addition of the sun It all made for a quiet and beautiful day to be out :)

    Curt, really interesting stuff! I always love to here your analysis on our north sound rivers and appreciate very much your informative responses. Thank you.
  11. My Skagit Basin trout "grand slam" was caught fishing Jordan Creek at the end of summer. Both kinds of cutts, and a Bull/Dolly. None of them were bigger than 9 or 10 inches.
  12. Thanks for the info! Never thought the lower tribs had enough habitat to support the number of fish in the system. Certainly adds to the case and importance of preserving it.
  13. LOL! I was thinking the same thing.

    The people who showed me the ropes call that run "Upper Larsons".

    Sadly, I rank that run low for steelhead. Apparently it used to get a lot more water on that side in moderate flows. I only hit that spot in higher water otherwise it seems like a char haven.

    In 2009 Dec Hogan was there almost every time I drove by for weeks. He has some memories there that is for sure.

    I have never caught a cutt there but have encountered some nice fish that still bring a smile to my face.
  14. Yeah I remember watching Jim an Kelly on that old fly fishing show in the late 80's land a nice fish from that spot.

    Boy that was some good stuff ;-).

    I still remember the line "We could have killed that fish......but chose to let it go".

    It was corny and still makes me smile thinking about it.

    While the fishing was better then I'm sure glad no one gets to make that choice anymore. Nowadays I just wish I could choose to fish there.

    I too have heard it called upper larsons but always thought that weird because I thought the bar above was called larsons? Seemed backwards.
  15. The long bar above is "upper, upper Larsons". Lower Larsons downstream of the logjam was really good too, until the 95/96 flood, or was it the 03? The number of fly caught steelhead there in the 80s was impressive. And those are just the ones I caught. The total number was astronomical! OK, how's that for BS?
  16. So just who was this Larson?

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