Sea-run to?


Flyfishing for sport, not food.
Having grown up in Idaho country, my fishing experience has been mainly river and reservoir flyfishing. I am really trying to get accustomed to the different techniques needed for northwest fishing...i.e. steelhead, salmon, and cuts. I feel partial to the fishing up here as my father was a pioneer in the area a long time ago and even had a flyshop called the Fishin' Fool. However, his expertise is in steelhead fishing (he fished with Steelhead Bob, Alec Jackson, the Kaufman bros, and Tom Darling).

Me...I have fished for sea-run cutthroats on two occasions now with no luck. I have asked a couple local fisherman how to approach them. There answer has been to fish at an angle to the beach. They have also told me to use chartreuse minnow patterns.

I guess my question now is...timing and location. Where are beneficial and successful places to fish for cuts and what times of the year are they most prevalent?

Any other recs, i.e. patterns, stripping technique? Please write me privately if you dont want to give up too many secrets to the masses.

Justin Hicks


Use the search function on the site and I bet you'll find more information then you need.

As for when and where, you should just go fish some beaches and find out for yourself. There are hundreds of miles of fishable beaches in the puget sound and hood canal. A couple spots to try your luck would be Lincoln Park, Picknick Point, Docs at the Tacoma Narrows.

I like to fish a clear line, 6wt, short stout leader, and small olive rabbit strip clousers. I vary up the retrieve, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes eratic. I think the biggest thing is to keep moving around, don't sit in spot and cast for 2 hours withough catching anything. Take a few casts, then walk a bit, and repeat. Dont worry about casting at an angle, just be aware that cutties can be in really really shalow water, so before you even take a step in fish close to shore first.


Flyfishing for sport, not food.
Thanks ibn. I am not the type of fisherman to ask for all the secrets. I definately like to figure it out on my own...half of the sport!!! I read a couple of posts. I have no experience in Hood Canal so I might have to venture over there at some point.

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Hicksder, the best advice that I can provide is to buy a copy of Les Johnson's latest book, Fly Fishing for Coastal Cutthroat Trout. It has great information on the species, habitat, conservation and a wonderful selection of great flies that are tried and tested right here. Then get a Gazeeter and start looking for points and beaches with access to streams, oyster beds, rocky bottoms and start fishing. This site will answer more questions than you can imagine if you take the time to research. Many of the members of WFF fish the local beaches. A friendly hello can often result in a quick ride along the learning curve and sometimes some nice flies.
Good luck, Steve


Active Member
Steve and IBN offer good advice......IBN gave you a couple of great spots...but in May and later. Stick with the Chartuese bait patterns...also have attractors such has reverse spiders in Yellow/Black...Orange/White..and many other type patterns to lure ....Good Luck :) :)
You really need to learn what the fish are eating. Different areas have different feed, hence different patterns are more succesful depending on the area you are fishing and the feed you are trying to replicate. Review the site and get "The Book" (Les' cutthroat book). Then look at the beaches to see their topography and the way the currents play with the rocks. Then cast a fly and see what happens. Just remember, its not just "what fly do I use?" That might sound like an obtuse answer, and perhaps it is, but learning the ways of the sea-run cutthroat trout is a learning experience. And that is one of the things that make these guys such addicting fish.

Coastal cutthroat, not unlike coho salmon, will certainly go after attractor patterns bright, dark or drab. I always carry a selection. On the other hand it pays to have a selection of zooplankton and baitfish patterns in various sizes; herring, sand lance and anchovys, in a variety of sizes to match any bait that may be in the area. A pattern that has served me well for a couple of decades from Alaska to Mexico in various sizes is the Captain Skippy. It is a general baitfish that I employ from size 6 through 3/0, depending on the quarry.
As for poppers, and we are almost always talking about Leland Miyawaki's Popper, I just tie them the way Leland does. I don't figure there is much need to mess with a winner.
Good fishing,


Active Member
Captain Skippy? :) Is that a inside name or is it well known among fly tyers/shops...personally I have never heard of that one...but lots of times certain flies will acquire dual or several names but it is the same fly regardless. This is like can never be mastered :) :)

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
Captain Skippy is a tube fly that can be found in the book, Tube Flies: A Tying, Fishing & Historical Guide by Mark Mandell and Les Johnson. The book has a lot of great saltwater patterns that are perfect for Puget Sound ranging from Letcher Lambuth's Sand Lance to tube fly versions of the Flashy Lady. Check it out.
Captain Skippy

The Captain Skippy began as "Capitan Skippy" in Mexico, so named by a pal, Peter Hylander. As Steve notes, it was first tied on a tube to create bulk easily and to more quickly change hook sizes -- and to quickly switch from single to double hook rigs if sailfish should show up. I still tie it on tubes for northern Pacific fishing and in smaller sizes for Vancouver Island south through Puget Sound on both tubes and standard hooks.
I have seen a surprising number of Captain Skippy patterns in the fly boxes of experienced northern Pacific salmon saltwater anglers over the years.
Genesis of the Captain Skippy came from my noting that our herring here in northern climes and the flatiron herring of mexico are pretty much the same critter. So, I tied a rather basic interperatation of a herring to try during my travels. As it turned out the Captain Skippy works end to end Baja to Bristol Bay and points in between.
And.....for all of you Clouser Minnow afficianados out there; yes, I do tie the Captain Skippy in a Clouser configuration, although somethwat more sparse than the bulky herring-profile original.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Two words: "Chum Baby"...the fly.

Do a search on this subject "Sea Run Coastal Cutthroat Trout", "Beach Fishing" etc here, and you will be buried in a legion of references, fly patterns, discussions, trip reports. It's truly an amazing fishery.
The Chum Baby certainly served our Orvis clientele well over the past several weeks. Remember, although the outmigration of little chum salmon will be tapering off soon, the Chum Baby is going to continue to work for a while longer, just like a big floating stonefly does two weeks after the hatch has ended on the Madison.
Good Fishing,


Active Member
In the north Sound one can expected to continue to see reasonable numbers of chum fry on the beaches through most of May with lesser numbers continuing on into June. Also remember that other juvenile bait fish (herring, sand lance, etc) will also be found on some of the beaches and if the fish are not rigidily keyed into specific fry the chum baby (or other generic fry imitation) will continue to fool the cutts.

Tight lines