Large SRC group together and how/where to find them

Several years ago my fishing buddy was talking with a fisheries biologist with WDF&W who had done some snorkeling in Puget Sound. He said that SRC seemed to be grouped together by size classes in the saltwater environment.

Saltwater flyfishing for SRC and salmon in Puget Sound can be a big puzzle that changes daily due to so many variables such as tides, weather, etc. For many years I have kept a detailed journal of all my fishing trips on Puget Sound. I will note: size and number of fish caught at each location, fly used, tide, weather, etc. I am always looking for patterns which would help make this fisheries more predictable. Looking back over the last couple of years of the journal, it was apparent that larger SCR(+16") are almost always grouped together particularly in March-May and Sept.-Nov. near estuaries. On a good day I was able to land 5-7 large SRC at a location and with a little luck was able to find another spot where they were grouped. In the summer months the large SRC seemed to be more scattered and thus harder to find. The smaller SRC seemed to be grouped together with an occasional large SRC present.

Knowing that the larger SRC tend to hangout together has helped me to use a strategy to target them which has worked for me and suits my style of fishing.

1. I will fish many locations until large SRC are found. If I am not hooking any fish or only small SRC at a location, I will fish it quickly and move onto another spot with the hope that large SRC will be there. If large SRC are at a location, they will usually chase or strike the fly on the first couple of casts. During a day of fishing I will frequently fish 10 or more different locations.

2. Some spots just consistently hold large SRC and I try to fish these locations during optimum weather and tide conditions. For example, gravel bars and shallow shelves are prime large SRC areas particularly when a nice tidal current(3-5 ft. deep)sweeps across them. The large SRC will sit in two areas: (1) depressions on top of the gravel bar/shelf, (2) at the down current edge of the gravel bar/shelf as it drops off into deeper water. They will be sitting within 5-15 ft. from where the bottom breaks over(smooth to choppy water) and usually not in the deeper water(8 ft or more).

3. If I hook or land a large SRC at a location, I will systematically fish the spot about like steelhead fishing to totally cover the water. I will cast both into shore and deeper water. There are usually some more large SRC within 5-15 ft. of where a fish was hooked so I will fish that zone methodically.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanks again!

Thanks again for passing on the insights gained from your experience!
Thanks to the tips posted by yourself, Les Johnson, Preston Singletary, Bob Triggs, Steve Buckner (to name a few), and the other knowledgeable SRC-fishing members of this board, my own success at fly fishing for SRC has been greatly enhanced! :thumb:



Active Member

I have enshrined your post into my computer as part of my fly fishing knowledge database. It's stuff like this that reminds me why I first signed on this website. You da man! :thumb:
I totally concur with Mr. Stephens observations. I would also apply this to river scenarios. Big fish like certain things in general. It may not be apparent to the fisherman but it is apparnent to the fish!

Logs are invaluable to becoming consistently good at catching big fish. If a person keeps a log long enough they will see a pattern. The more detailed the log the better. I know people who keep track of the barometer, water temp, time of day, wind, cloud cover, temps for the week and on and on. And they consistently catch the big fish!

Large Sea-Run Cutthroat.....

I really don't believe that large coastal cutthroat (SRCs to some folks) are prone to gather together in either marine waters or rivers any more than smaller specimans. What is a fact that we've given sea-run cutthroat an opportunity to grow in a safer environment since 1997 when we passed legislation to make them catch-and-release in all marine waters of Washingon. This protection has given sea-run cutthroat a better opportunity to grow during the past six or seven years. Remember, coastal (sea-run) cutthroat grow slowly. An 18-inch cutthroat is about 10 years old; a 20-22 incher is probably 12-years old. When they were being killed in the marine environment and even further back when they were taken by limits of eight fish in rivers these marvelous trout didn't have a chance to grow to their optimum size nearly as often.

You are probably witnessing a normal increase in the average size of coastal cutthroat now that they've been under the umbrella of slot limits and catch-and-release fishing for several years. I know that my friends and I who fish together have found more large cutthroat in recent years, along with more of the equally important small cutthroat that will now have a chance to grow larger.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson

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