A Superb Day

Fishing has been good over the past several months but it is nice to have superb day once in a while as last Saturday(7 hours) was. I fished 19 locations from my boat and 14 spots had fish present. I landed fish at 10 of those locations. At 5 locations 2-5 fish were landed and I would spend 10 to 20 minutes fishing these spots. At the other locations I would usually fish a couple of minutes up to about 10 minutes. I normally don't dilly-dally around at a location since I try to cover a lot of water in a day of fishing. I enjoy immensely the excitment/challenge of the hunt and seek aspects of the Puget Sound fly fisheries.

Most of the fish landed were sea-run cutthroat with quite a few fish in the 14-17" range. Almost all of the fish were caught while skating a floating tube sand lance pattern. It appears that the sea-run cutthroat are not as scattered as they were over the last month or so. As noted above there were 5 locations where there were quite a few sea-run cutthroat present. Also, I noted more sand lance on Saturday than I have seen for a while. This food source should be available to the sea-run cutthroat until early/mid Nov. when the sand lance hibernate for the winter by burying themselves into sandy bottom areas until mid Feb.

I landed a handful of 12-13" of resident coho on the top water pattern. These fish are extremely aggressive and I have been seeing/landing a lot of them the last 1 1/2 months. This bodes will for a good winter/spring resident coho fisheries if they stick around. Maybe a good resident coho this winter will make up for the poor one last winter. These resident coho were released late May/early June and were 6-7" in length. They are now in the 11-13" size range and have been growing about 1" per month as these resident coho have been feasting on sand lance.

The day ended well as I landed a 4 lb. 23" blackmouth. I have to admit that it was a fluke as I was fishing mid-day with the sun out for sea-run cutthroat on a shallow shelf(7-8 ft deep). A large fish twice chased the floating tube sand lance pattern but would not take it. So I grabbed my other rod with an fast full sinking line and a sequin tube clouser minnow(olive/white) and the blackmouth proceeded to clobber it within a couple of casts. It was a pretty good load on a 6 wt. rod as blackmouth are normally a lot stronger fish than a compareable size coho. It had 1 partially digested anchovy in it's stomach.


Scott Orness

Small fish in a big pond
Roger - What a day! I fished the canal today and found some fish, but had a ton of follows while fishing a popper by some good size fish, however, no take . I've searched for a while on the site to find the floating tube sand lance, but can't find a picture. Anyway you can post one or direct me in the right direction?
Thanks, Scott

Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
I’ll have to agree Roger, it’s been very good here in the north sound as well. Hit my favorite beach on this Saturday’s in coming tide. It was pretty steady for the last two hours, lots of the usual followers and misses with many of them in the 12 to 14” range. Had one long distance release with a cutt that could have gone 18” to 19”.
Lots of bait around but couldn’t get the cutts to come up to the floating Sand Lance this time (unlike the week before) so the top producer again for me was the Flat Wing Lance.

I don't have a picture of the F.T.(floating tube)Sand Lance pattern. however, there is a picture and materials list on page 141 of Les Johnson's newest book: "Fly-Fishing for Pacific Salmon II". If you have don't have it, the book is well worth purchasing. I now use artic fox tail unstead of darlon for the tail of pattern since the artic fox gives a better slender/tappered profile like a sand lance. Plus, it doesn't tangle around the hook like darlon did quit frequently.

If you have any questions about tying the pattern, send me a PM and I'll try to help you out.


At times I have had the same experience as you when sea-run cutthroat will not really commit to take a floating sand lance pattern. This situation has usually occurred where there was not much tidal current(less than 1/2 to 1 mph).

IHMO the best way to successfully fish a floating sand lance pattern is to have it skate quickly across the water surface. With that in mind, I have had good hook-up ratios(30 to 40%) when I can fish the pattern in that manner. Therefore, I am always looking for locations with optimum tidal current 1 1/2 to 2 mph(slow walking speed). I will cast the pattern 45 to 75 degrees across the current and skate it with the current by using long, moderate strips for the retrieve. When the pattern is almost down current, I will use short, quick strips. When the pattern is being skated quickly, fish don't have much of a chance to dilly-dally around. They will usually hit it aggressively before the "meal" gets away.


Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
Thanks for the input Roger thats good information. I have also observed this in the faster currents and sometimes it seems you can’t strip it fast enough.
With good tides this morning I was hoping to get out with my sons but with the wind and rain I decided it would be better off staying in and tying up some for the next trip out.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanks for another great report containing interesting and useful info, Roger.

Ha, last time I was up a tidal creek for cutts, i thought I was finished fishing a pool, and whipped and thrashed my fly on the surface to get rid of some gunk hanging on the hook. I was really whipping it across the surface and a 12" cutt came out of the stained depths, jumping and ripping after it! I was "skating" my fly too fast for the little demon to catch it, though.
man, that does it guys I'm getting a boat next year!!!!

You guys have pics of your boats? thanks
I do have a recent picture of my boat, since I'm donating a trip in the south sound for the SSFF auction next week. You can be perfectly happy with something lighter in weight with a 20-25 hp, but the common threads are: around 15', four stroke motor, low free board, no top , bow anchor and the electric motor on the stern for sneaking up on coho, or assisting the 18# mushroom anchor to hold in really fast current. The pluses are the gps, vhf radio for safety, and the long handled measure net.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, Dorothy