fishing for cutts in the salt


New Member
i was wondering i am relatively new to fly fishing. i was thinking about fishing the salt for cutts. just wondering if any one has any experience with poppers with a floating line and which ones to try. i have a floater and a intermediate clear line from airflo would this be sufficient.
Hey smd,

There are lots of guys here who do well for cutties and resident silvers in the salt, all over the Sound; it's been discussed quite a bit, so if you use the search function on the forum for the keywords 'SRC', 'sea-run cutthroat', etc. you'll find quite a bit of information, including rigging and specific patterns for time of year, etc.

From the knowledge I've gained, your intermediate and floating lines are ideal. I hear that poppers get a lot of action but you get a lower hook-up to strike ratio; traditional clousers work really well as attractors, and herring or sand-lance patterns when they are keying in on bait.

There are many others on this board who have literally written books on the subject (like the legendary Les Johnson, Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout), and they've contributed a lot in the past, so do a quick search, or better yet, support 'em and pick up their books... good luck!


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
We arent snubbing you here, just steering you into an adventure in learning. If you see the toolbar above, and click on "Search", you can enter the words "Sea Run Cutthroat", "Beach Fishing", "SRC fishing", "South Sound Beaces" etc.

Any possible reference to the venerable sea run coastal cutthroat trout will ellicit a host of references via our Search function.

On the "Knowledge Base" pages of this site there is a Book Review on Les Johnson's new book; "Fly Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout", as well as an article by Greg Tims on Flyfishing for Sea Run Cutthroats.

If you start reading all that now, you'll be finished studying in time for spring season on the saltchuck. :ray1:
WARNING, Fishing for sea run cutthroat can become seriously addictive. Once addicted you will pass up other larger species of fish to catch a 14 inch cutt. In the fall when they have entered the rivers you will pass up steelhead and salmon to pursue the SRC.

After doing the basic research and reading another thing that would be useful would be to hook up with a good SRC fisher. A day trip with a good guide on the salt would be well worth the investment. Myself I have to find a way to hook up with Bob Triggs sometime this year. Besides being a fine guide, by reputation, he knows where the good coffee and warm Baristas are to be found.



Active Member
smd -
Noticed you are from the Everett area. Becasue of the general differences in the water the produces the cutthroat (small streams in South Sound and large rivers in North Sound) you will find a difference in the timing of the sea-run salt fishing. While in South Sound (south of say Seattle) the fishing is essentially year-round. In the North Sound it is basically confined to the spring/summer period with May to July being the peak. Conversely the river fall fishing in the Northern portion can be outstanding.

Welcome to the arena of trying new fisheries; I'm sure you find much to interest you and some enjoyable days on the water. And yes fishing for our beloved sea-runs is very addictive.

Tight lines
S malma

Matt Burke

Active Member

This spring, after the rivers shut down for Steelhead, I'd be happy to run you out to a spot close to us that I've caught a few Cutts at.

Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
I spent all day yesterday fishing for SRC's in the salt, and I have to agree its about as addictive as anything I've ever done. iagree

I started last winter, soon after I moved over here from the dry side, and was surprised how I took to it. I was always a "skinny water" guy and still like that, too. I'm not good yet, but there's something very seductive about standing on the edge of so much water and knowing there's a chance you'll hook into one of these beauties or a stray silver.

And if you're not catching anything, you've still got solitude, fresh air, great scenery, and the opportunity to better your casting and presentation methods, since you can count on wind, surf, current, etc. And I was thrilled yesterday to get two solid strikes on a fly I'd tied right out of Les Johnson's new book, "Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout" which I highly recommend. :thumb:

You'll dig it, trust me! ;)

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
All day yesterday, eh Mike? And only two solid strikes? And still happy?
Welcome to Team Skunk! We need guys with your attitude!

I managed to avoid a good skunking today by not fishing...hardly fair. I'll try to do better tomorrow...raining hard here now on the coast at 4:55pm...maybe if it's not snowing tomorrow I'll subject myself to another skunking. I'll do it in chasing steelies with a fly rod, and the only thing that might foul me up would be one of those pesky cutthroat. :beer2:


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I have to say that the fall and winter and spring saltwater flyfishing around here, Admiralty Inlet to Hood Canal, Port Townsend, Widbey, Marrowstone etc, has been great for me. All of my bigger Sea Run Coastal Cutthroat Trout have come from mid september through April around here. Some call this "North Puget Sound" country too.

Matt Burke

Active Member
I'm fishing for cutts near the mouths of the Snohomish or Skagit and they sure seem to disappear up river this time of year. Hey Bob, next time we run into each other on the Hoh I want you to show me how to tie that Caddis without a vise.


Active Member
Bob -
You aer correct of course, I was being a little provincial with my North Sound description. The point being that fish returning to the larger rivers (those typcial of the Eastern Portion of North Puget Sound) tend to spend the winter in freshwater while those returning to smaller streams spend a more long portion of the year in the salt thus creating what is essential a year-round fishery.

We see some large fish in the eastern portion of the North Sound in late February into April but they are virtually all skinny kelts.

Tight lines
S malma