Is is slow for cutthroat or just me??


Native Trout Hunter
I seems to me that there is something going on this year with cutthroat, as so far it has been exceptionally less productive then last winter. I have been getting consistently skunked this year, where as I only got skunked two or three times all last winter.

I have talked to quite a few people who have also been experiencing slower fishing, and was wondering if any of you have been having this problem too.
I was at Doc's all day on Sunday and talked to/observed probably 10-12 fishermen through the day. I landed a silver and there were 3 others landed as well but no Cutthroats at all! I was sorta surprised. Maybe they're still in the creeks and estuarlies until the chum fry start their run out to the salt. I no that most of the chum runs are later in the south sound, so the outflowing fry would be later in the spring :confused:


Active Member
Maybe you have fallen out of the top 10% (who catch 90%) of the fish.....I hate it when that happens...a couple skunks and you are demoted and no longer ranked high enough to catch fish :) :)

Honestly I don't know about South of North Seattle but there is more seal activity than least from my limited observations.....and less spotting of cutthroat activity from beaches and many times when I have seen them they have been to far to cast to....out there a ways. However it seems AM is more active and evening fishing is blah :( :( (AM being around 6-8) Keep trying...
Was out on a zipperlip location on Hood Canal and hooked 8 fish between 12-17". My best day yet on the banks of the salt... I guess it takes a little patience.:confused:


Active Member
i am always moving until i find the fish... they are around in pockets, but it varies every year. Sometimes the tides will shift the banks you are fishing just enough to make them not as desireble to the cutties.

fish less time and more spots until you find them.


Active Member
Something to keep in mind is that peak spawning of our sea-run cutthroat is typcially around mid-March. The exact timing varies from year to year based on flows but given the weather we have had I would not be surprised if a significant number are busy working on the recruits for future fishing.

Tight lines


Active Member
smalma- do you know approx how long they spend in the fresh water? i see them spawning in a creek near here for about 1 week. If that long... just in and out pretty quick it seems to me.


Active Member
D3S -
As always the case with our more interesting fish the answer to how long they spend in freshwater? Is it depends.

For example for those in the larger rivers such as the Stillaguamish the adult sea-run cutthroats may spend anywhere from 4 to 10 months in the freshwater.

For those small independent streams so typical of South Puget Sound the length of time can vary from a few days to a month or more. The actual construction of the redd from start to finish typcially takes only a day or two. The length of the time from the stream entry to spawning can be as little as a day if the fish are ripe and ready - typcial of there has been a prolong spell of low flows or up to several weeks if the fish take advantage of favorable flows prior to them being fully ripe. The time from spawning to their return to the salt varies again with flows as well as the sex of the fish. The females following post-spawn typically drop down into deeper pools and hold until the next flushing flows. While the males continue to look for additional spawning opportunities for a month or more .

Know that isn't very precise but that is the way it is with this guys which accounts for some of the year to year variation we see in the fishing.

A related timing issue is the timing of the outmigration of the smolts (those 5 to 8 inch fish leaving their natal streams for the first time) is in the spring with the range of migration period being from late March to mid/late June. However the vast majority (say 90%) of the fish leave the streams in between the last week of April and the 3rd week of May with the exact peak often depending on flows/temperatures.

Tight lines
In the south sound, this year has been very different from last year. As I look back on the searun cutt fishing for the winter, the weeks of rain that we had through Dec and Jan influenced the fishing. The heavy rains, in my opinion, either washed fish out of the small streams or kept them from entering. We had good fishing in the Dec/Jan weeks. With the decrease in precipitation and moderation of stream flows, it is much easier for the little cutties to make their way into the streams for spawning. I think we've seen an influx of multiple fish into the streams later this year than last. Another indicator is the presence of sea lice. Most of the fish I have caught this winter have not had the levels of sea lice as earlier in the year, indicating entry into the freshwater. The fish I have caught recently have been both smaller than earlier and afflicted with sea lice more than earlier, which indicate to me that they have not been in the fresh water. In general, I would say that the fish are entering the fresh water streams later this year, and that more fish are entering in a shorter span of time. At least in the south sound.

Of course, you know how much you've paid for this information, so the value is commensurate.



Left handed Gemini.
The sealice observation is really interesting, on one beach I fish the searuns have been all mostly 8 to 14" in size with very few of the larger sizes and the sealice have been very prevalent at another the fish seem to mostly be 12 to 16" and none have had any sealice at all, at both beaches the fish are very healthy but at the second beach the fish the fish run larger.

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