Sea-run cutthroat fishing by-catch surprise!

Awesome- that'd be a nice surprise. So, is it a dolly varden or a bull trout? techincal question- I would have loved to catch it regardless of what it is called.


Sculpin Enterprises
It is definitely a Bull Trout.

Hi DB,
The reason that Roger can say that so definitely isn't because there are some obvious unique markers that separate one species from the other. But as Roger knows, genetic analysis have demonstrated that bull trout dominate in Washington rivers (and in the salt when they go walk-about in the winter/early spring) (see Dolly varden are found in Washington but they are confined to a few select upper watersheds.

Bull trout are one of my favourite fish to fish for and I feel they are grossly under rated. Either taken on nymphs or streamers they are fun and a good change from the usual trout. Just last week I was fishing one of my favourite bull trout flats where they are known to feed just under the surface. These fish are aggressive and move up to this flat on the incoming tides and on a couple occasions I had them swirl the surface right at my rod tip as I was lifting to re-cast. On one of the occasions I managed to throw back into the fray and he ended up coming back around after missing my fly the first time and I was able to connect. Rezzie bulls are great too bit the sea run bull trout on our BC coastal systems are insanely beautiful fish.

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Active Member
Please! Read Curt's post in this site's Articles and Reference Info section, it's one of the best and most accurate descriptions of the life history of the bull trout of Puget Sound and the coast you're going to find anywhere. To re-cap what has been posted many times before: the native range of the Dolly Varden does extend as far south as Washington but they are restricted to small, high-elevation tributaries in the Cascades and Olympics, usually above barriers to anadromous migration where they never achieve any significant size. The large, semi-anadromous char of Puget Sound and the coastal rivers are bull trout.

Congratulations, you caught one a couple of years ago too didn't you? They're not all that common in your neck of the woods. I remember reading about a 13 1/2-pounder caught in the Skokomish River (identified as a Dolly Varden back in those days) but that was probably thirty years ago.

Here are some pictures for those of you who love the salty bulls as much as I do.