High Lakes Cutthroat in the fog

Dave Westburg

WFF Premium
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WFF board member IHFISH and I walked into a couple high lakes today. It was foggy and cool. There were patches of snow and the ground was soggy. I fished my 8'6" Phillipson Power Pakt, a Hardy Uniqua reel and some scottish wet flies..

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The first lake had brilliantly spotted cutts. A size 14 Bibio and a size 12 Invicta worked well.

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The second lake had cutts with red streaks along their stomach. Maybe unspawned? These fussy fish were taking tiny chironomids on the surface. They wanted a size 14 Black Nymph or Bibio dropped on the rise rings with a floating line and a light leader.

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Saw cars spilled out to the freeway at the Talpus Lake trailhead on the way home. We saw noone. It pays to get off the beaten track.

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Active Member
Beautiful pictures. Nice fish also, well done

I got into some nice cuttbows yesterday as well. 4200 foot level. No photos due to slippery fingers and needing my cell dry. Fished my Para14 5wt boo.


WFF Premium
Looks like a Coastal Cutt on top and a Westslope on the bottom?
Yes - we found coastal cutts at the first lake and westslopes at the second. The latter were a lot more difficult to catch as Dave pointed out. You really had to bullseye the rise ring.

I had to my press my travel stripping basket into service because I recently lost the stripping apron for my FC. Worked pretty well but it kind of makes it look like these cutts came from the beach instead of a mountain lake. Had a great time fishing some of Dave's beautiful flies after lunch.

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Here's Dave bringing in a cutt at the first lake and working the far shore of the second lake.

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This fish from the second lake definitely looked unspawned.

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Dave Westburg

WFF Premium
Zen Leecher, the fly you are talking about was a wingless Black Nymph. It comes from RC Bridgett's 1924 book Loch Fishing in Theory and Practice. He tied it as a chironomid imitation and it worked for me yesterday in a pinch. See left hand column in picture below..

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Tail: soft speckled natural guinea. You need to buy the big cape to get the smallest feathers. The prepackaged feathers sold in stores are way too large.
Body: Black ostrich herl ribbed with 5 turns oval silver tinsel
Hackle: soft dark specked guinea.

I left home a box of very small 16-20 wet flies which I often bring in case the fish are on small chironomids and are selectively feeding at the surface. A black and blae awash in the surface does the trick. See right hand column in picture above.

Bridgett was one of the first anglers in scotland to recommend nymphs for loch fishing. He recommended a brown nymph (brown ostrich herl and brown partridge) and an olive nymph (swan herl dyed olive and olive hen hackle) as well as the black nymph. The more things change the more things stay the same...

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