Trip Report Alpine Coastal Cutts

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Bruce Baker, Sep 23, 2017.

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  1. Bruce Baker

    Bruce Baker Active Member

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    Yesterday I decided to hit an alpine lake that a friend of mine suggested. The lake is between 3500 and 4000 feet in elevation and it is about a mile hike from the trailhead to the lake. The lake wasn't very large. I'll say about 6 surface acres, maybe less.

    My recent go-to pattern has been a white bead-headed black bugger. Most times fish are very receptive to it. I started trolling and after about 10 minutes, I got my first hit. Unfortunately the fish came off fairly quick. I then got several soft taps. I was trolling in a horseshoe pattern and when I got to the other side, managed to stick one.

    This lake was a beautiful emerald green color and my photo does not do it justice. The lake was also very clear, like looking into an aquarium. I saw several fish in a shallow area of the lake and proceeded to cast and retrieve. Lots of willing fish. I needed to take a break and when I got back on the water, decided to change things up a bit by putting on a Carey Special with a peacock body. This fly elicited a lot more strikes than the bugger. It was almost non-stop action.

    The fish averaged 6 to 12 inches, with the majority in the 6-10 inch range. All fish looked super healthy and the spotting was spectacular. I don't know what other word to use, but I had never seen a cutthroat in person with spots as big as these.

    The hike into the lake was pretty effortless. There is a spot where the trail got washed out and you need to cross a very small creek. It took a while to see where the trail continued on the other side. The way back was a little more exciting as when I got to the washout, I could not readily pick up the trail. I was crossed the creek and was getting nervous because I was not seeing the trail. Fortunately I saw three hikers making their way towards me and I immediately felt some relief. They said the trailhead was about 5 minutes away. It turned out that I was about 50 feet off of the trail.

    Today, I'm a little sore. I carried in an Outcast Fish Cat. It was fairly heavy and little unbalanced with the gear that I had lashed to it. It was also difficult to get the backpack straps on. On the trek out, I didn't have the straps properly cinched and it just added to my discomfort. Next time, maybe I'll carry it in deflated or somewhat deflated. 20170922_095220.jpg 20170922_115337.jpg 20170922_120431 - Copy.jpg 20170922_120449 - Copy.jpg
     
  2. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    Wow!!! Those are gorgeous!
     
  3. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    Huh, I've never caught coastal cutthroat in an alpine lake setting, only the Westslope/Montana black spot variety. Those fish almost look like a different sub-species!
     
  4. Adam Saarinen

    Adam Saarinen Active Member

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    Love the look of the fish in the first picture! Truly something i`ve never seen before! Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  5. Greg Armstrong

    Greg Armstrong OldRodsHaveMoreFun

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    Wow, those are beautiful - and really different looking fish!
     
  6. Matt B

    Matt B ...

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    IMG_0647.JPG Very cool looking fish! I've seen some CCT with large spots but those are something else altogether. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  7. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Gorgeous cutthroat, Bruce, and great report! Thank you for sharing!
     
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  8. Buzzy

    Buzzy Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing your report! Been several years since I climbed and fished an alpine lake, need to get back at it! As a side note, I looked at the pictures before reading your report and thought "cute tiger trout"! Beautiful fish!
     
  9. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    At first glance, I thought that too! But then I noticed that there was no vermiculation. Cool spotting for sure though.
     
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  10. Rodney Wayne Bohannon

    Rodney Wayne Bohannon Active Member

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    Incredibly beautiful fish
     
  11. tkww

    tkww Member

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    Your pics looks an awful lot like a hybrid.
     
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  12. Matt B

    Matt B ...

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    Very well could be!
     
  13. dflett68

    dflett68 Active Member

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    i caught 3 such fish in succession from a little drainage near gold creek (snoqualmie summit) about 25 years ago, and couldn't id them at the time. literally at the side of the road at a culvert from the same tiny pool. at the time i had never caught a westslope and later figured that's what they were. but seeing these pics i think they were more like what you caught. i don't see how they could be straight up coastal cutts. i hope we get some input from the real taxonomy geeks.
     
  14. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    IMGP1552.jpg Wow, Bruce! I have never seen such heavily spotted Coastal Cutts as these ones in your pics. Thanks for sharing.

    I think this is perhaps the most heavily spotted individual that I have caught, from one of the lakes I occasionally fish. Only 500' elev.
     
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  15. Bruce Baker

    Bruce Baker Active Member

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    The only definitive answer would be to get some fin clips and run a genetic analysis.