SRC Fishing Slowing Down

Over the last 1 1/2 weeks the SRC fishing has been slowing down. Yesterday I fished 12 good SRC locations but only landed fish at 3 of these spots. It appears that many SCR particularly the large smart fish(+16") have followed the chum salmon into freshwater to feast on their spare eggs. I landed a couple of moderate sized SRC(12-16") at each of the 3 locations and no hookups anywhere else. The 14-16" SRC's were absolutely beautiful fish as they were starting to show their spawning colors which would take your breath away.

The resident silvers fisheries should start to heat up soon. So it should be fun to start poking around to see where they might be hanging out this winter besides their usual places.

I had my personal best day today. I caught 7 SRC, and 3 res. coho in about 2 hours.
The wind was howling, and the rain was pouring, but about every 3rd cast or so was a nice fish to hand.
This should be the best time of year so dont give up...The next time you go could be awesome.
I fished hard last week for about 4 hours, and only hooked one small SRC.
The res. coho are definately out there, and they were about 12' - 16".
Go get em!
I have been sick, and lacking money, lately. (So no long distiant travaling to better locations.) And today I slept in to make sure I get over this cold. But I could not rest a temptation to try fishing for SRC. So went over to Lincoln Park, and never got a single strike. But that is not the best place to go to, it seems a miss and hit deal. And the SRC should get better from what hear and read. But 7 SRC and 3 cohos, only into 2 hours sound like a great day to me, but I am new. If I had location, I would be in heaven.
A lot of cutthroat have moved into parent streams by now which is one reason that there are not the numbers in Puget Sound. Also, from now through probably May, south Puget Sound cutthroat (which do spend more time in the salt than those further north) will be darting into small creeks to spawn on each high water period.
Also, it is important to remember that even though we practice catch-and-release fishing on our cutthroat, there is still a percentage of harvest because some cutthroat released do die of trauma even when they appear to be no worse for wear. So when you have a big day of fishing along the beach, or in a river, your ratio of cutthroat-killed goes up. It is a fact of life. So, it is better to have a marvelous day by taking a few good cutthroat than a killer day of catching a lot ot them. From now through January or February it is a good conservation practice to concentrate on hatchery-reared juvenile coho and give our wild cutthroat a period of respite.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson
By Thanksgiving there are good numbers of juvenile coho in the Tacoma Narrows around Doc's place (Narrows County Park) all the way to Point Fosdick. Also, there are usually good numbers of young coho throughout Hale Passage. Another place for young coho is throughout Colvos Passage. Coho will be feeding, primarily on euphausiids and amphipods, in these areas through May. Check regulations for closure periods. Anglers also work around Copachuck State Park throughout the winter for coho.
These fish will be 11-13-inches and grow rapidly to solid 18-inchers by late May. Great on light tackle
A general rule is that coho are more comfortable in heavier flows of current than are cutthroat, which prefer softer water.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson


Active Member

We all have to get out at some point and get wet, but it seems that there is so much fishing to be done in Puget Sound that one could easily fish 12 months out of the year.

That being said, in the name of our fisheries, is there an ideal period when we, as conversaton minded individuals, should think about voluntarily limiting our fishing time? Maybe now when the Silvers are small and the SRC will be spawning?

Understand that I would still get out, paddle and do a little fishing to see what's up, but what is prudent as anglers?

Thanks for your input.

I don't believe that we should quit fishing in the winter. You are going to encounter fewer cutthroat during the winter as some have returned to their parent rivers and others are probably dining on chum eggs. Even some small stream cutthroat of south Puget Sound begin spawning in November and December. I simply said that it is a good time to concentrate on small coho during this period as they are relatively plentiful (at least we hope so). You'll still catch some nice cutthroat, just not as many. This has always been the timing of Puget Sound cutthroat fishing. Using discretion in our fishing should not be a difficult concept to subscribe to. Enjoy the winter fishing in Puget Sound -- and take one of Roderick Haig-Brown's classics along to read while you are having lunch.
One personal bias that I have is that when a marine area is closed to salmon fishing, it should also be closed to cutthroat fishing. This would serve to give cutthroat the same sanctuary that salmon are provided. Finally, we should find ways to enjoy every day out fishing, whether we catch a lot of fish or not. A river keeper in England once said, "It should be about the fishing, not catching fish". That holds true today.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson


Active Member
Searun -
I understand where you are coming from with the issue of hooking mortality on the sea-run cutthroat. However from what I have seen the hooking mortality on those small coho is pretty high (10% or more).

I understand that most of the resident coho are hatchery fish but why would you advocate fishing (and killing) them in the winter as just 11 to 13 inch fish when in just a few months (late spring and summer) they will be much larger? Those summer fish will weight 3 to 10 times as much as they do now. It would seem to me if we equate nice size fish with quality that it would be smart to postpone our fishing for resident silvers until the summer.

Just another spin on the same issue.

Tight lines
I think it would be a shame to lose the year round fishery on the Sound. Its constancy is one of the best things about it. We truly have an endless season. That being said, I think Mr. Johnson does have a good point about coming to terms with the issue of hooking mortality. A certain percentage die-- that's just an unpleasant fact, and one that each of us has to face in our own personal fishing ethic. I personally cringe when I hear people talking about releasing 20 to 30 fish in a day. There are some dead fish on the bottom of Puget Sound after a day like that, whether or not we wish it so.

For me, there can be too much of a good thing, and restraint has its place. When a person has caught what they feel is a reasonable number, maybe that's a good time to try a new method or move on.



FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs
Non-salmonids (Perch, Flatfishes, Sculpin, et al) can still bring a smile to your faceand a bend to your rod.:) Just downsize your gear appropriately and have at it.


Active Member
Hey so as someone who was raised in the Great Lakes we always could find great smallmouth, largemouth and pike fishing to suppliment Salmon and Trout (notice what is capitolized:p ).

What are the alternatives for great table fare? How do you fish for them?
Les brings up a lot of good thoughts/veiwpoints! Agree that now is the time to start targeting resident silvers and give sea-run cutthroat some respite.

In my opinion, a 10% hooking mortality for resident silvers seems to be a bit high. From my experience, hooking mortality is much higher for sea-run cutthroat vs. resident silvers. Sea-run cutthroat are a very fragile, strong fighting fish which make them more susceptible to go belly up. Resident silvers can be landed quicker and can tolerate mishandling better. Because of hooking mortality, I use the smallest hook gap(usually use 3XL or 4XL hooks) that is feasible for a fly pattern.



Active Member
Roger -
Here is just one link addressing hooking mortality -<0524:MOCACS>2.3.CO;2

Most of the stuff I have seen pegs the mortality between 10 to 20% for small coho caught on recreational gear. While the mortality on fly caught gear might be lower than other gear I would not expect it to be much lower - most of the mortality is from handling rather than mechanical damage from the hooks.

Tight lines

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I have decided not to handle the fish if at all possible. When fishing for Cutts I am using a short shank barbless hook, and I try to gently slip that from them without handling the fish. A problem I see with C&R fly anglers is that they play fish too long and too hard and then they grab at them while handling them. If you go about it calmly and gently you can release these fish without injury or handling them needlessly. Once you start grabbing at fish, handling them, squeezing them etc, then you can expect that some of them are going to die. Fewer will die if you just go easier on them, and dont handle them at all.

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