Fishing the Salt or Who's Got Nads--Part 2


Active Member
Okay, like a bunch of trout staring at a well presented fly, you guys rose to the occasion. Now, my next question, to those who fly fish the salt, is: What flies and in what sizes do you use for the particular fish you pursue? I've tried to no good success the few times I've done the Sound--despite the few obviously good spots I've been to this year--and I need all the help I can get. I thank you all in advance. I just hope I get another shot at this biz before my union hall hooks me up with another ship. Time is getting very tight.


Coast to Coast
Bushy, high floating dry flies in size 8 skated on the surface work well for cutts. Also Clouser Minnows sizes 2-6 will catch almost anything in the salt. Just use a strip and pause retrieve. Herring and candlefish imitations are good too.
Forage base dictates fly choice if you're going for representation... in the southern Sound, sculpins must play a big part as brown and gold are good choices down there, according to guide Tom Wolf. He ties a marabou Clouser that is a killer.

In the Port Townsend area, the Snot Dart, aka Jim's Dandy, aka Searun Jones (according to Amato's magazine), is my go-to fly. You can find a depiction of it on It's really good around here and might be elsewhere as well.

Of course, baitfish patterns are usually good, if you've got the fly profile and baitfish matched.

And there is the Clouser-- pink and white is good as is chartreuse and white, or an Angel Hair Clouser in baitfish or peacock over pearl is also very good at times. Flash flies will work well.

However, I'm finding that a dry pattern can work quite well if the fish are in the shallows, and it's a hoot as well. I tie a Gurgler-style pattern out of sheet foam that pops and makes a commotion and calls fish from a long ways. I do find though, that I'm getting a lot of refusals on it. Gotta work on it a bit, and the problem may be color. Also, this time of year, a yellow-jacket pattern is a big draw since those pests are flying everywhere. I tie the gurgler/popper in yellowjacket colors and it's still being tested (I really need some bright yellow foam in 3mm instead of tahe 2mm I have). Some people like the Western Steelhead Bee , but if I'm skating the fly in current, it doesn't float enough for me. I've tried updating this with a yellow and black foam body and deer hair wings. First cast with that new fly earned me a heavy 18 incher.

I could probably go on and on. I don't think pattern is as much a big deal as it is in stream or lake trout, but I could be wrong... I sure have been before.


I'm still a rookie, but have had some success on several colors of Clousers, pink and white, black and white, charteruse and white, as well as minnow patterns (ones that really look like minnows, flexible plastic bodies) Not sure what they are called, but they are sold at my local fly store.

I have noted that I have caught my silvers stripping the fly with an intermediate sink line, stripping a couple of rips, then pausing, and repeating. As for the cutthroat, using the floating line, with the same stripping pace. These fish are freaking fast, and I have seen fish chasing my flies from way off and they close the gap. I even tried to out strip a smaller cutthroat, and he still ran down my fly, hit it and took off like a rocket.