fishing for cutts in bellingham

The Northwest fly fishing article on popper fishing for salmon and cutts sparked my interest in trying to fish around bellingham bay, since I live here. I have fished for cutts before in the salt, but not this far north. I was curious if anyone has fished up this way before off beaches. I have fished for pinks down talong the tracks by marine park in fairhaven. Any information would be great! I'll go ask the guys at H&H as well.


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Being located in B'ham you are sandwich between two river systems with large cutthroat populations (Skagit and Fraser). In addition the Nooksack and Samish have fair populations. Throw in the mix several smaller streams with cutthroat and you have decent numbers of fish to work on and a number of potential fishing locations. While I haven't fished from any of your local beaches in nearly 3 decades I'm sure that there remains a number of locations that can produce fairly reliable fishing. Rather than name names and step on someone's hard earned spot I'll offer the following as a spring board for your explorations.

Unlike the south Sound the beach cutthroat fishing will be mostly a late spring to early fall fishery so I would focus my looking from May through October/early November. The later part of that period it would likely be more productive by looking towrds the fish returnig to the smaller streams (most of the fish will all ready be in freshwater areas on the larger North Sound Rivers. Most of the beaches will fish best on the either the last of the flood or the first of the ebb (say two hours either side of the high tide). I would initially focus on points and smaller estuaries. On points often on side will fish on the flood and the other on the ebb.

If you have access to a small boat motoring/trolling along the shore line can be a productive way of finding good spots. Look for jumpers, bait fish concentrations, other anglers, and of course caught fish. Often access is limited by land ownership so visit to the accessor's office and/or the public library looking for public (parks, DNR, etc) beaches will also help narrow the search. The local fly shops and the local fly club are potential sources of general info - just don't expect the best places be handed to you on a plater.

By the late summer the best of the cutthroat fishing up your way will be in the rivers though with the salmon (pinks and coho) thrown in the mix the fall beach fishing can continue to be productive and worth doing. One of my fondest memories of beach fishing occurred up your way in October - a foggy/still October morning with loudly honking geese flying (lost in the fog?), a flooding tide on a small estuary where a good buddy and I shared the beach and had our casts regularly rewarded by alternating coho and cutts. The sun finally breaking through the fog shroud at the top of the tide signaled the end of a prefect morning on the water and an example of the spectactular fishing that can be found here in the PNW. The day was all the more special in that we found our own piece of nirvana through our own leg work based on the above.

Good luck with the explorations and tight lines


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