What fish was that?

This might be an impossible question to answer but here goes... I've not done much fishing in the salt but yesterday I went out with my neighbor on his boat to try for blackmouth. He's more of a trolling/deep fishing guy but I took my fly rod and seeing as nothing much was going on, we headed in to the shallows and I cast a fly or two. At one point I saw some rises and cast out to them. Next thing I had what looked like about 20 fish - maybe 12 inches? - just streaking after my popper. I hooked one but obviously didn't set the hook well enough 'cos he only stayed on about 10 second and I couldn't land him. Any idea what kind of fish these might have been? Obviously they were schooling and moving around 'cos after a few more casts where they were chasing the fly, they moved on. Btw, we were fishing pretty much west of Camano Head against the shore just south of a small marina there.


My guess would be resident coho but 12" seems a little small for this time of year. They do tend to hang together in schools plus be on the move and can be pretty aggressive.

If those fish are resident coho, many times they will "lock into" an area for several weeks when there is a food source to keep them there. So if you can, it might be worthwhile to check out the area again under similar tide conditions.

When the fish, were rising were they jumping or dimpling on the water surface? Were they in pretty shallow(8') or deeper water?

r. stephens said:

When the fish were rising, were they jumping or dimpling on the water surface? Were they in pretty shallow(8') or deeper water?

They were definitely jumping- some pretty splashy rises. The water depth was around 6-8' - where I was casting was probably more in the 8' range. The fish may have been bigger than 12" - I was probably underestimating the size earlier ;)

My guess is still resident coho but then again if the water was that shallow could have been sea-run cutthroat:confused: .

You need to go back and catch one of those fish so that you can tell us for sure what kind of fish they were:) !



Active Member
Kevin -
I think the guys have it pretty much right - they were mostly likely either sea-run cutthroat or resident coho. I have seen both in the area though cutthroat are much more common than coho in the area. It is a little early yet for many cutthroat to be on the beaches from the north Sound rivers though it is certainly possible to run into decent sizes pods anytime after late February so I would say the probability is that they were cutts.

However I think you need to get back there and catch a couple to confirm. If they are coho they will likely remain in the area for some time. In those years when those resident fish into marine areas 8-1/8-2 they often are around well into to the spring though the beaches they frequent may change from time to time and add a nice spice for those chasing the sea-runs.

Tight lines