Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout rules.

Dizane

Coast to Coast
#17
Bob -
A great topic for a mid-winter day. I have long felt that giving those post spawn fish a break as they try to recovery condition for the next life cycle. Do we want to interrupt their feeding as the attempt to regain their condition? Often it seems that kelts of most of our trout/steelhead post spawn once they start feeding do so pretty aggressively and it seems to me at times take fly deeply (more mortality?). While the mortality of CnR is low it is not zero and I see nothing wrong with considering if additional consideration is appropriate. A closure during February through May in the salt is worth considering. I think that might be doubly valuable in South Sound and Hood Canal where the fish spawn in small streams and seem to have a tendency to drop back to the salt fairly quickly. That contrasts with what we see here in north Sound where the fish do seem to hold in freshwater some before heading back to the salt.
Additional protection is certainly worth consideration, everything is always worth consideration. I don't have any hard data on SRC numbers beyond the limited data on the WDFW site (too limited to be of any real use, but it does show increasing numbers), but as I said before, the fish appear to have responded positively to the current (can we call them traditional yet?) C&R rules. Because of that I don't see any need for additional restrictions at this time. If pressure on these fish grows to the point that populations start to diminish from fishing mortality we can look at further restrictions then. Assuming increased fishing mortality were the proximate cause of the decline, additional restrictions should cause the fish to rebound within a decade I would think. If they don't rebound then maybe fishing isn't the cause of the decline. That sounds familiar. :)

Personally, I'm seeing a bit of the "steelhead syndrome" in this thread. IMO if people want to protect SRC let's focus on protecting their spawning tributaries from development and their beaches from armoring, not on percentage points of C&R mortality. That said, if individuals want to voluntarily refrain from SRC fishing during certain months of the year I fully support them doing so.
 
#18
I just don't see enough pressure on this fishery for any closures to be needed at this time. I still like to think that beach SRC fishing has an almost cult like following. Even with increased media attention to our sport in the past decade I just don't encounter people fishing the beach for them that much these days. Yes, we have all witnessed the mayhem of shoulder to should action at Flagler for salmon and other spots but I just have never seen crowds of people vying for SRC in that manner at all. Then again perhaps that just has something to do with the places I choose to fish for them.

I strongly believe that the biggest harm to SRC comes from commercial netting particularly in the Hood Canal area. Focusing on increasing net sizes and implementing beach buffer zones would have much greater impact on SRC protection than a recreational fishery closure of any kind at least at this present time. But it is a good conversation to have in the coming years to be sure.

Thanks for getting my juices flowing this morning Bob and a great post.... thanks!!!!
 
#19
Lastly, it would be near impossible to enforce this but i strongly believe that having proper landing nets is as crucial as having barbless hooks. Seeing a fellow fly fisherman land an SRC on the rocks and then pluck the barbless fly free before releasing just doesn't make any sense to me. If people have enough money to buy fly gear, fishing licenses, automobiles, gas and beer then they should have a few extra bucks to buy a proper landing nets and use it every single time they go out. period.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#20
The ratio of private property vs public beaches give the cutthroat miles and miles of sanctuary. Inevitably it will be increased fishing from boats and other floating devices that will do them harm.

Leland.
I hope this doesn’t become a beach versus boat debate.
There is a long history of folks fishing for searuns from boats.
I do most of my fishing for them from the beaches but always enjoy being out on the sound in a boat as well.
I know my own personal boat fishing for searuns goes back over 50+ years and I’d like to continue those opportunities when they provide themselves.

I’m not sure how fishing from a boat will do them more harm then catching them from the beach other then possible numbers of encounters.
With proper handling, neither should be any issue.
SF
 
Last edited:
#21
This thread is something else. Just so I am on the same page. We are talking about further restricting an already C&R, single barbless hook fishery where the population of fish is extremely robust with minimal pressure on them already? Yeah I mean why not shorten the only year around fishery in the greater Puget Sound region for no reason.
 
#22
I don't see any issue here that would require even considering a closure of any sort. That just seems to fly in the face of all reason, and with the current state of fisheries in this state we all know what happens once things start closing down.

Lets face it, the pressure on these fish is insanely low comparatively speaking. There just aren't that many people doing it in the grand scheme of things, and I'd say 75% of the people who are doing it to some regard are focusing on the same 3-4 beaches. There is a TON of unfished water out there. Even spending a ton of time out in the boat, where we have decent range, we have not touched the tip of the iceberg as far as whats available. There is just only so much running around and water one can cover from any of our boat launches.

I also hope this doesn't turn into an us vs. them situation between boat and beach anglers. I'm out on the sound in a boat quite a bit these days and still very rarely see more than a boat or two in a day fly fishing the beaches for cutthroat. There certainly isn't an endless parade of boats out there just hammering the fish. And honestly its easier for me to release a fish untouched in a boat than it is from shore anyway. I can land them quicker, scoop in a rubber net, remove the barbless hook with forceps or an de hooking tool, and turn the net over and back they go. Not that its difficult on the beach either, but in my experience its quicker and easier in the boat.
 

JayB

Active Member
#23
I'm not particularly well versed in anything related to SRC, since the only one I've ever caught slammed a fly that I was using in a spectacularly unsuccessful effort to target staging Coho. Man - what a specimen, though! Had to have run at least 18" and was fat, happy, and harvest yellow.

Anyhow - do most of the encounters with snaky, post-spawn SRC's occur relatively close to the spots where streams dump into the Sound? If that's the case - and since the majority of die-hard SRC fishermen probably either post or lurk here - is there any chance that making "take it easy on post-spawn SRC's near streams" a sort of informal ethic work just as well as a formal regulation?

I know it sounds silly, but I spent six months in NZ near some pretty legendary rivers like the Tongariro, and even though it wasn't a formal rule, the local ethic was something along the lines of "gentlemen never target trout on spawning beds." It may have happened, but I never once saw anyone targeting spawners in the hundreds of hours that I spent on the water, even though they would have been easy pickings for anyone who was inclined to take a shot at them.
 
#24
Anyhow - do most of the encounters with snaky, post-spawn SRC's occur relatively close to the spots where streams dump into the Sound? If that's the case - and since the majority of die-hard SRC fishermen probably either post or lurk here - is there any chance that making "take it easy on post-spawn SRC's near streams" a sort of informal ethic work just as well as a formal regulation?
There have certainly be many many spring kelts caught in the sound miles from any stream mouth so I am not sure a specific location is an issue here at least in my opinion. Also, it should be stated that after many spring fishing trips for the fry hatch its not as if we are catching kelts hand over fist.

In fact, I would say some of the beefiest, healthiest, hardest fighting fish have come to hand in the spring. Sure the odd skinny kelt is hooked but generally they come to the net quickly and are therefore released fast. It isn't like we are purposefully flossing spawning kings or snagging purple humpies for the smoker here....

BTW.... totally get your questions and concerns @JayB and they are valid ones thanks.... ST
 
#25
I've caught post spawn fish at just about every beach I've fished at some time or another. I've caught plenty of post spawn fish at times when I wouldn't really expect to encounter them as well.

I know for myself, and plenty others around here, if I start getting into multiple post spawn fish its time to move. One here or there can't really be avoided, but I have zero issue moving on if I start catching more than just one or two.
 
#26
I've caught plenty of post spawn fish at times when I wouldn't really expect to encounter them as well.
I think Smalma or some of our more biology minded brethren have touched on this in the past and it is worth pointing out to be sure.... there seems to be such a discrepancy in the traditional "they spawn in late fall and winter and then out migrate in the spring" rule in the greater Puget Sound region that it is hard to know what exactly is being caught out there.

About four years ago i landed the most butter ball looking bruiser with a big old spawning kype in the salt. In mid May. Then again I have landed some pretty skinny ones in September that seemed like kelts to me. Go figure.
 
#27
I should probably add that I've only ever had to move locations one time because I caught more than a couple post spawn fish. That was a spot near a creek that was obviously loaded with them. Nowhere else have I encountered more than the odd fish or two.
 

JayB

Active Member
#28
I think Smalma or some of our more biology minded brethren have touched on this in the past and it is worth pointing out to be sure.... there seems to be such a discrepancy in the traditional "they spawn in late fall and winter and then out migrate in the spring" rule in the greater Puget Sound region that it is hard to know what exactly is being caught out there.

About four years ago i landed the most butter ball looking bruiser with a big old spawning kype in the salt. In mid May. Then again I have landed some pretty skinny ones in September that seemed like kelts to me. Go figure.
Cool. Thanks for the insights. Sounds like asking everyone to consider adopting Nick's ethic is would make the most sense.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#30
I hope my initial post wasn’t taken as all spring fish are post spawn. They certainly aren’t and there are some quality fish around in the spring.

As several have mentioned, if you start encounter a number of them just relocate and things should be good.
SF
 

Latest posts