Are We Killing Searun Cutthroat?

Reading something like this reinforces my commitment to make sure hooks pass the shirt test, no long-shank hooks, and fish with nothing less than a 5wt to not play them to exhaustion.
 

Ian Horning

Powerbait Entomologist
Although subject of debate, I personally find stinger hooks to be more detrimental to fish than standard hooks. More fish hooked on the outside of the mouth, which can tear the mandible and other tissue, and if a fish chokes your fly, higher chance of the hook finding a gill or tongue. The largest cutthroat I've landed unfortunately fell victim to a stinger hook because it ate the entire fly. It had essentially bled out by the time I landed it. Huge shame and really made me rethink stinger hooks. Personal bias in tragedy, maybe, but still.

Also, go heavy on tippet! I fish 10lb STS for any streamer and a) have never broken a fish off, b) am able to land the fish quickly.
 

Sparse Grey Hackle

Active Member
The argument by the activist makes sense if you were C & R - ing in shark infested waters.

Who's the Puget Sound predator here? The bottom feeding Dogfish? A really aggressive group of octopi? A sea urchin with a grudge?

- Sparse
 

NRC

WFF Premium
The argument by the activist makes sense if you were C & R - ing in shark infested waters.

Who's the Puget Sound predator here? The bottom feeding Dogfish? A really aggressive group of octopi? A sea urchin with a grudge?

- Sparse
Harbor seals - for the sake of argument. But cutts do have the advantage of frequenting water that seems too shallow for seals to hunt in.
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
Harbor seals - for the sake of argument. But cutts do have the advantage of frequenting water that seems too shallow for seals to hunt in.
Maybe it’s different up here north of Edmonds? always seems like harbor seals have no problems swimming in about a foot or two of water at the beaches. I try and scare them off but nothing seems to faze them.
 

speedbird49

Active Member
Maybe it’s different up here north of Edmonds? always seems like harbor seals have no problems swimming in about a foot or two of water at the beaches. I try and scare them off but nothing seems to faze them.
Additionally I think North Sound Cutties like to stay a little further from shore than South Sound fish.
 

skyrise

CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
Additionally I think North Sound Cutties like to stay a little further from shore than South Sound fish.
agree somewhat. think they stay farther out because harbor seals and cormorants ravage the near shore beaches. even up into the lower parts of the rivers. Sea Lions reported as far up river as Ben Howard on the Skykomish.
 

Justin Waters

Active Member
Harbor seals - for the sake of argument. But cutts do have the advantage of frequenting water that seems too shallow for seals to hunt in.
I have unfortunately seen 4-5 cutthroat released and get eaten by seals off our boat over the years. I probably have spent more than an average amount of time fishing for cutthroat in the last 10 or so years, but yeah, unfortunately it happens.

I imagine if an angler was slower, or just negligently fighting the fish way to long it could happen more often. I have always encouraged landing fish as quickly as possible, but super old folks tend to play fish longer due to 1.) being slower moving and 2.) being used to fishing ultra light tippet and refusing to believe 10lb Fluoroflex wont break on a 14" fish.

Due to the fact that this is a year round fishery, if that guy walking the beach (original post) said the fish you were catching in the summer time might have a rough go I would agree. We see a dramatic difference in releasing a well caught fish when the water temps are 65 vs when the water temps are 52. We canceled a lot of trips this year out of Hood Canal because the water heated up so much and guest were not willing/could not travel north to meet us. We also saw surface temps at 80 degrees for 3 weeks north of Seabeck which is unheard of. I don't think this is a reason to shut the fishing down however, I am not against a temporary shutdown of certain areas until temps cool off. I tend to trust folks like James Losee to handle those situations correctly.

I can see human impact being an issue and leading to mortality by predation or conditions, but ultimately I think we still have a really healthy cutthroat population. Truthfully I think the number of folks fishing this year was more, and raises some alarms for folks that are used to having the water all to themselves (I must admit I was more frustrated by it this year than ever before). Cutthroat that get hooked or just run over 46 times by a rookie boater the day before or hours before are less likely to be as aggressive and can lead you to thinking a spot that normally produces has dried up.

Pressure on the fish has been WAY up this season. We have for a decade been fishing the most obvious spots on the planet for cutthroat and having it all to ourselves, and now are forced to pick our favorites (race to them) and then plan on fishing the more hidden spots for the rest of the day. In reality, that's me complaining over my favorite toys, but it is notable when talking about number of fish being encountered per season and number of c&r mortality. Particularly when you see these bozos who are running these new boats.
 

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