Cutthroat trout vs. Eastern Brookies

What are the major differences in feeding patterns between the species, for example, do they feed on the same forage, are they found in the same type areas, so on and so forth. I am discovering that I will have to learn to catch these fish if I want any trout action at all over here on the west side around Burlington.(in the streams anyway, which is where I want to focus).Thanks.

P.S. looking for info on hatches on West side also, found all I wanted to know about Eastern Washington, but nothing about this area.
Lotech Joe
In regards to your hatch questions, can I suggest a book? The Flyfisher's Guide to Washington. I believe the author is Greg Thomas. You can find the book at Barnes & Noble. After tax it cost in the neighborhood of $26. It breaks the state in two. East and West. It also splits those sections in half between Lakes, and Rivers & Streams. It list hatches, campgrounds, launches, species, regulations, and how to fish the waters. It even list the closest amenities like hotels, motels and restaurants. It sounds like a lot of money for a paperback book, but it will save you hundreds in gasoline research. It is well worth the money, and fun to read to boot.
When I am fishing an area that is known to hold brookies and cutts, I use different tactics to catch different species. . .These techniques work very well in streams and beaver ponds.

Brookies: While brook trout will take dry flies and nymphs, they are particularly susceptible to streamers---especially small Mickey Finn's (8's, 10's, and 12's). Great fighters and great table fare.

Cutts (coastal): I prefer dry flies, but if I'm fishing sub-surface, I like mayfly pupae patterns with olive, black, and white bodies, tied sparsely. Standard nymph patterns such as Prince and PT's work nicely. I personally like to use my own patterns that mimick the naturals, with slender tails and bodies, and sparce hackles.

When fishing water containing brookies and cutts, you need to remember to practice "hook 'em and cook 'em" on the brookies. These non-native char are tough on native species---hybridizing with bull trout, and competing heavily with native cutts.



I don't think that you will find many Brook Trout on this side of the hump, unless they are planted.

There's lots of water around Burlington. You have the Skagit,N&S Forks of the Sauk,Bacon Creek,Cascade river,Sloan Creek,Clear Creek. You also have the White Chuck And the Suattle. But as they open on the 1st of June I don't think that they will be fishable. Glaciers at their heads. Too much ice and snow melt.

You also have the Samish River,Friday Creek and all the forks of the Nooksack. I could go on and on,but a book would be much better.

Because the weather is so crummy,I sit at this stupid computer and do nothing but ramble on and on and on. Jim S. :LOVEIT
Fish till ya drop.
Then suck it up
and fish the evening hatch.

I quite agree with Fishpirate as to what to do with Brookies. Even in most of our lakes where they are found they are prolific spawners that do not require highly oxygenated water to spawn. Their feeding practices are mostly subsurface and they are very efficient. They will go right into the weeds and reeds and outcompete most any other trout around.
So next time you fish a lake full of small brookies, hook em and cook em.

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
Everybody knows about the danger to bull trout from brook trout interbreeding, but I'm surprised it's not
better documented. I was only to get some hearsay about workshops in Montana that some Washington
personnel went to, and they thought the problem was bad there, but how bad it was no one was sure. It
seems like there's been more success in documenting DV and bull interbreeding. Does Allendorf and
Waples cover it? Although there's crosses done in hatchery experiments, I wonder if the problem is it's
hard to detect it with non-lethal sampling in a population that's already rare. And I wonder if the bull and
brook tend naturally to keep apart.

I was looking at some planting reports form the Collville Reservation, and it's amazing how many brook
trout were scattered around over the last 70 so years. It's too bad there's not a safe place to use the
species in fisheries management, cause they are the yummiest. Bad for native species, remove them if you
can- funny that's just what we used to say about Dollies just 20 years ago.


Active Member
It is funny to hear about killing brookies. They have been "outcompeted" in almost their entire native range on the eastern seaboard by rainbows and browns. Streams with major barrier falls have been "rehabilitated" by rotenone in order to replant them in a few select places, but really Canada and some parts of Maine are the only remaining strongholds for brook trout in their native range. If flyfishermen from Vermont or New York heard us talking about killing brookies (called speckled trout by many back there) they would go nuts. Of course, there are no dollies/bulls/whatever to worry about there either.
Major Geek,
Brook/bull hybrids are VERY common throughout the Idaho, Oregon, and Montana. I have photos of hybrids, if you're interested. One of the tell-tale signs is the pigment on the dorsal fin---signs of vermiculation, and pigment while the bull trout dorsal fin is essentially clear. In fact, I would say the hybridization is documented better between brookies and bulls than dollies and bulls.

Indeed, you're correct. In fact, researchers in Appalachia have found cutts, bows, and browns to successfully out compete brookies in their native range. One thing to consider is evolution---bows, cutts, and browns can fill a niche in the East that brookies haven't had to, and vice versa.

An easy analogy is to consider a college football team. Team A (the brookies) has a strong passing offense, and so does everyone else in their division. Team B (the cutts) has a strong running game, and so does everyone else in their division. When they switch divisions, Team A wins all of their games (since the defense in their division is used to defending against a running game) and Team B wins all of their games since the defense in their division is based on a passing offense. Bucket biology. . . :DUNNO