Fish Indentification and Canal Report

Not thinking that there were many resident silvers in Hoodcanal and not taking a close look I am not sure if these are cutts or silvers, please help. Had a good day hooked 5 landed 3 fish. Josh Zarling, who took me out on his boat made a great guide, but did not get into any fish. We got a late start around noon and wrapped up at around 2:30. Had we been able to stay out longer I am sure he would have had one. Little to no wind and sun was out. It is too hot for this time of year and looking into the mountians it looked like the middle of summer. Josh thanks, and had a great time. Next Tuesday I will have a report from the Pitt River Lodge in BC and I am hoping it is as good as I have heard.
My guess is that both fish are resident silvers rather than sea-run cutthroat. The tails are noticably forked like a resident silver and the pectorial fins lack the distinctive orangish-green coloration that the sea-run cutthroat usually have.

I caught some SRC in the Sound this Friday that were pretty silvery but on closer examination they had a faint red slash on the lower jaw and the pectorial fins had an orangish-green coloration which is the quickest most reliable method for me to identify a sea-run cutthroat.
It looks like a baby coho to me.

From my experience, you can usually tell if it's an SRC if it smashes your fly like a runaway locomotive, nearly rips the rod out of your hand, and when you land it, it's about a 6 inch fish. Pound for pound the SRC's I've come across pack quite a punch for their size.

Baby blackmouths usually have a distinctive strong oder to them.

I attached a puget sound cutt for comparison.


Look in the mouth to determine if it is trout or salmon. Trout, cutts and steelhead are completely white. Salmon are black and silvers will have a white gum line next to the teeth.


mr trout

Trevor Hutton
Hey coonrad- are those parasites on that cutt? I can't tell. Maybe they are water droplets... Do many fish in Puget sound get parasites?
The yellowish fins are the easiest marker for me to distinguish without looking down its throat, and coonrad's picture is classic searun cutt. The reddish/orange slash is not always observable when the cutts are in the salt. Nice photo of a nice fish, with typical sea lice on it!

nrandrew, I would second the vote on juvenile coho. They both look just like the ones schooling around the narrows area. Glad to hear you had success; treat those baby coho with respect, I want to catch them again this summer. They will be putting on about 1" per month from here on in, and by about August, they should take you to your backing. :thumb:
I concur on the coho ID, mostly based on the lack of speckles on the flanks. The other thing I notice from the fish in the net is a distinct aquamarine "glow" that small coho seem to have when in the water. I've never noticed it in cutthroat, other slamon, or even adult coho, but the little ones often seem to have that blueish shine.
Ray: good Id on the "bluish shine".
I have observed that sheen before but never really consciously associated it as a unique indicator, but I don't believe I have seen it before on other puget sound species. Very Cool! :cool:
Ditto on the blue "glow" concept.
When hitting the open ocean in late summer, I can often tell if it's a coho or chinook by the shine that penetrates the water from the depths... if not the bend in the pole ;)
Coho often have a shade of blue, while Chinook a shade of golden-green.
I don't think I've ever voiced it as a means of id, but interesting to know that others see this as well.