Your Favorite Bottom?

What type of bottom do you prefer for SRC? I was fishing with Rob of Tight Loops fame the other day and I was trying to show him this spot of mine and I missed some turns and we wound up on this mud bottom. We fished awhile and then he wanted to move because the bottom was silty and he said that it had to be rocky to be any good.

Is that the general opinion of everyone? The other spots I like do have rocky bottoms.

Bob, the I'll have a rocky bottom, please.:rofl

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Well, I guess I'm in general consesus with what he said. LOL. The places I fish have rocks, but not big rocks. So not sure it matters. Mostly so small they blend with the sand bottom. But most I fish have alot of shells as well (some are oyster beds).


Coast to Coast
I like rocky bottoms and bottoms that are mixed rock, sand, and seaweeds. Eel grass beds too. I guess the only bottoms I don't like are ones that are all sand or all mud, but I've caught fish over these bottoms too. I guess any type of bottom can hold fish since SRC move around so much, but I do better fishing over rocky bottoms than sand/mud bottoms.


Scott Salzer

previously micro brew
I liked the subject before I read the whole text, what a set of images - I digress...
I have always preferred the rocky shore like just outside of Hartstene Point - we used to catch our share of SR's there. Although, Colvos Pass worked, and as I recall, it wasn't that rocky. That beach along below the narrows works well, but then, all the water (and fish) flowing into the south sound goes through there.


Active Member
The "experts" (Les Johnson, Steve Raymond, et. al.) seem to agree that a cobble bottom is most productive. That said, eel grass beds frequently harbor schools of baitfish and can be very productive, and the type of mixed sand/mud and rock beaches favored by oysters also abound in sowbugs and other cutthroat fodder. I have always felt it to be more a matter of "cherchez le bait".

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
For the most part I like bars and ledges adjacent to clam and mussel beds, lots of shell fragments, Sand Dollars, smaller cobbles and gravel, heavier sand seems okay, but not mud and silt.

I like weedbeds and seagrass areas, but I don't wade into them for fear of damaging them. Most creekmouths and tidal drainage areas, that get strong currents on each tide, seem to offer this type of bottom situation. I fish pretty shallow too, not much deeper than four to six feet.

I try to approach saltwater Cutthroat fishing much as I do any river current; using the current to help me present the fly to fish that are positioned in that current in the same ways that they might in a freshwater river. Dry flies are nice too.


Coast to Coast
To add to what I wrote earlier, I think that downed trees are some of the best structure for cutthroat. I've caught a lot of cutts casting to downed trees lying in the intertidal zone.


i always do good cobble bottom, with some larger boulders thrown in for mix. my best spot though is where a large eel grass flat suddenly turns into a cobble bottom. right on the edge is dolly and src heaven. the funnest spots (for me) are the eel grass flats. you can see them cruising in their wolf packs hunting candlefish and herring and you can watch them charge your fly. that is a rush.

"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."
-James Douglas Morrison
I agree with Bob Triggs on this for the most part. I would add, however, that it depends a lot on what stage that the tide is and what the lighting conditions are. Off many small creek mouths there will be an area generally at or near the low tide zone that will naturally trap finer sediment, often this area is at the edge of the eelgrass. To the extent that such areas lack cover (rocks, wood, eelgrass) SRC seem to move through it pretty rapidly to get to areas with more cover. Since I often see osprey, eagles, and many diving birds while I'm fishing,I suspect that SRCs are keeping to cover in large part to avoid predation. I will find them at all tidal heights in those areas with larger rocks, woody debris and other cover. I will see them lingering in areas lacking cover only when it begins to get covered by water depths of 5 or 6 feet or under low light.

(I can scarcely believe that Bob L was asking a straight question--but he surely knows how to get one's attention with the caption!)

Predation from above, I believe, is the number one worry of SRC. If you think about it, it is probably the only one for the most part. Larger fish, which might eat them, do not frequent the shallows as a rule. And, of course, fishermen announce their presence from miles away as we all know.
There must be something terribly efficent about hurtling down on your prey at several hundred miles an hour, being viewed as a speck in the sky one instant, and then having to live while dangling from claws for the rest of your brief life, that gives up a good lesson to survivors. Surely, for those even of the most dull intellectual persuasion, you just have to take notice when old Bobby twists off thorugh the skies to some branch in the tallest of trees. Man, where did he go?
I only write this to answer my own question. My favorite bottom is one in or near structure that might protect SRC from assault from above. And here's my tip: using good quality lenses (I prefer 10X50) station yourself on a bridge or point and slowly sweep the water's edge for anything that might look like cover. As mentioned, grounded out dead trees are a natural. But you might examine the very structure you are standing on. Look down into the water and see what you can see behind the underpinnings. My God, is that a bunch of fish schooled up there?
The only exception I make here is that of a marina. I have never found fish hanging about under the docks or boats. Am I wrong here? If I am, could you provide the name and location of this marina? Oh yes, time of the tide might be thrown in just for verification purposes only.
Bob, the Hey, If you think I'm wrong, then prove it.
my favorite bottom was when marilyn monroe had a vertical
wind when standing on a sidewalk grate downtown somewhere.
i like what fish like which i think is lots of softball size rocks with fresh water flowing over them and lots of caddis crawling on them and no fisherman standing on them.
Bob I have caught many SRC off of docks as long as the dock is not in a break water though a bay is ok. Keep in mind its just like beach fishing, the fish will be there one time and not the next day. Look for docks off of beaches with the right structure on the bottom. They are there and feeding off of the Stickle Backs that hang around the docks. Look for them around the docks in the late evenings. Thats all I am saying you will need to work out the places and best tides for yourself. By the way I caught my first SRC off a dock over 25 years ago and caught my most recent this past August.