Cutthroat/steelhead hybrid

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanks David! I am hoping to break away and take you up on your generous offer. I've been kind of disorganized lately, trying to claw my way out of this worm can i buried myself in.

If you ever head out this way, you'll have to give me a hollar.

The searun cutt fishing in the tidewater sections of the creeks will end when the October rains pick up, as the fish will move upstream. Aug and Sept are prime time here. Sounds better up your way, anyhow. Those are some really nice cutts in those great photos you are posting. Tomorrow's rain should get some fish moving. Saw the gillnetters lined up off Washaway Beach today.

Sunday afternoon, I said "To Hell with the can-o-worms!" and fished a lake (had it all to myself) and hooked up with a few (8 or 10) wild coastal cutts! Power baiters must have cleaned out all the stockers, as cutts were all I hooked up with. Pretty little 9 to 12 inchers. About half of them LDR'd themselves. Monday we trolled for Kings in the Willapa River and got one, a 24 lb hen, right on the low tide change (a "bite" happened then and a few other boats hooked up, in a 20-30 minute window...all Kings). Today I fished the tidewater of a Willapa Bay creek for searuns, and the low tide change was good to me there, too. Got about a dozen good hookups, mostly 11" to 13" and a hot 15"er wrapped me around a limb and stole my Reversed Spider.
I was having too much fun, and Murphy must have noticed. Broke the tip off my 6wt when I let the current back me into a piling that snuck up on me.:beathead: I was using my 4 wt, with the 6wt strung up, sticking out the back...


Active Member
The fish in the lower picture does appear to show the yellowish wash around the jaws which is quite common in cutthroat but which I have never seen in steelhead. In the photo there is no apparent cutthroat "slash" which, while it can become quite pale in salt water, I have never observed to be entirely absent.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
I noticed that yellow, too.

I have caught a few searuns that were so chrome that there was no orange slash. They were from the upper tidal reaches on the local streams.I looked very hard on those particular fish, and couldn't find even the lightest trace of orange. But they were definitely searun cutts.


Active Member
right now there are a lot of color variations on the fish we have been catching. Steve got one of the prettiest i have seen in awhile the other day. Just a beautiful fish around 14 inches that was gold and with very noticeable slash markings. But we also caught fish that were chrome silver without visible cutts.
The original fish in question did have a little more hue to it that appears in the pic but the bottom fish(same fish with photo of each side) deffinately has the greenish/gold tint to it.
I was the lead bio for WDFW in a joint genetic analysis done by WDFW and NMFs for samples collected during 1995-97.

As Curt mentioned, during the collections, the bios were targeting cutthroat.

North Puget Sound Region
Skagit complex: 358 fish were collected from 7 streams. Two were hybrids.
Nooksack complex: 50 fish were collected from 1 stream. Three were hybrids.
Stillaguamish complex: 232 fish were collected from 4 streams. Three were hybrids.

South Puget Sound Region
Duwamish/Green complex: 44 fish were collected from 1 stream. Five were hybrids.
Puyallup complex: 208 fish were collected from 4 streams. Four were hybrids.
Western South Puget Sound complex: 131 fish were collected from 3 streams. 7 were

Hood Canal Region
East Hood Canal complex: 107 fish were collected from 2 streams. Nine were hybrids.
West Hood Canal complex: 115 fish were collected from 2 streams. No hybrids.

I could not find the paperwork for the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington Coast (north), Washington Coast (south), and Columbia River. But I do recall for sure that some hybrids were found in the Strait.

I know at the time there was a lot of interest in the hybridization issue. Probably still is, but the money is probably not there right now. I can steer you towards a bio or two from WDFW and NMFS.

Hope this was of interest.

Thanks for the first hand info geljockey, good stuff. Easy to get hooked on these amazing little fish; there's just something about them that is very admirable.


Active Member
On a related note, I caught him again today. He wouldnt eat the same fly as i got him on before, but i switched colors and he ate that one right up! This is by far one of the strongest trout I have ever encountered in the salt. He almost took me to my backing which has never happened to me by a SRC and only very rarely by a silver.
A magnificent fish for sure!
I didnt check for the teeth in the mouth, but I did flip him over quickly to look for slashes on his throat and there were 2 very very small but noticable marks. Not the 1 inch long stripes i would expect for a cutt this size, but rather a 1/3" or so.

iagree Thank you very much Bruce.
You're quite welcome. Some good news. I was able to find some more information.

Strait of Juan de Fuca
Eastern SJF complex: 60 fish were collected from one stream. No hybrids.
Mid SJF complex: 212 fish collected from 4 streams. Eleven fish were hybrids.

Washington Coast
North Region
Sol Duc complex: 85 fish were collected from 2 streams. No hybrids.
Quillayute complex: 32 fish were collected. No hybrids.
Queets complex: 130 fish were collected from 3 streams. One fish was a hybrid.

South Region
Chehalis complex: 25 fish were collected from 1 stream. No hybrids.
Willapa complex: 26 fish were collected from 1 stream. No hybrids.
North/Smith Cr./Cedar complex: 36 fish collected from 1 stream. No hybrids.

Lower Columbia River Region
Cowlitz complex: Cowlitz WDFW hatchery. No hybrids found in 119 samples.
Elochoman complex: Beaver Creek WDFW hatchery. No hybrids found in 99 samples.
Kalama complex: 60 fish collected from 1 stream. No hybrids.
Lewis complex: 51 fish were collected from 1 stream. The table I have states that 50 fish
were hybrids, which is wrong. Since it's been a long time and I don't know how easily I can verify the number of hybrids, I will say that to the best of my knowledge, 1 hybrid was found and that I erroneously put down the number of "pure" cutthroat, not hybrids.

Steve Rohrbach

Puget Sound Fly Fisher
David, nice job of catching Walter again. I am impressed having heard that reel sing on Sunday. Thanks for bringing this discussion to light. It is amazing how much there is to learn about these fish we love. I am off to New York early tomorrow and will be working Issaquah Salmon Days in two weeks. I will be ready to chase when I get back. Take care buddy.


Active Member
Have fun back east. i'll be ready for when you get back. Pink was the color of choice for the second go around. I know you have some of those in your box now.
I'll be working on my staging salmon flies and be ready for when you return.
Travel safe.

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