How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or What?

I have been in the salt all fall, winter, and up till now have had very little success. And the thing is that I live in Port Gamble Bay off Hood Canal (North) I am in the right area, following the Estuary Flyfisher's suggestions on tides, flies during different times, floating, sinking, and AHHHH I still have not had the success as everyone keeps saying I should. I mean I am out there all the time. The only real success I have had was with skating a fly across a small outgoing stream of current. The fish rose to it an only occasionally would I get a hook up. SO I took everyone's advice and switched flies, and then nothing. So my question after all my complaints is: When you go out, how often do you get skunked. (5:1) or What? Thanks for your honesty.
(I am about to lay off saltchuck for lakes)


Active Member
Josh.... when I get home this summer I'll take you out and show you around on the salt.
Not meaning to put a damper on your fishing but i rarely get skunked. 1 in 20 maybe, BUT being in a boat and being mobile is key. The cutts are always moving, and while they will stay in certain areas for a while, they often will not be in the same place the next time out. In agate pass they seem to always be moving around but there are about 7 places there to find them. I almost always find a fish or two in one of those places.
Another thing is i usually dont fish the cutts during the winter or early spring as i had baseball and hunting.
if you want some suggestions on where to go to find more fish shoot me an e-mail.
Try to stay mobile and if the fish arent in a certain area move on.


Active Member
ALSO.... DONT give up on the salt. The more you fish it, the more you will learn about the cutts and salmon and why they're where they are.
Some places only fish well on certain tides and you have to be out there to learn this.
besides... the salt is much better than lake fishing.
D3Smartie is right on with all his advice and knows the salt water fly fishing game. The SRC will usually get after your fly within a couple of casts if they are there. So the "move on" advice is key to success for SRC.


Active Member
How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

Walk the beach and keep moving. Have confidence in your fly and presentation enough to know that there are no fish in the area if you don't turn any. There's no sense in growing "roots" on the beach.

Note in your journal the date, time, tide, conditions and fly pattern. Don't come back to a barren beach next year unless you change your tactics, technique or you learn something new about the beach.

Also, a slash, roll and follow with no take is almost as important as a hooked fish. In fact, there is something to be learned every day on the beach, with and without fish.

So quit whining and learn.

How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

Try to at least take mental notes (I write everything down) when you hook into SRCs. All the coaching and tips from others aren't worth 1/10 of what you get when you make a connection between what's working, where and why. I guess that sounds simplistic and maybe it is but it takes some time and work just like Leland suggests to become proficient. Best advice = keep at it.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

I never had a bad day of sea run Cutthroat Trout fishing.

I try not to count things so much; fish per day, inches, etc. Ratios...that's really scarey stuff. Save the numbers game for the Stocked Brown Trout fishing somewhere else.Try to remember that these are still a recovering species of wild fish. If you meet up with just one of them, that is a unique thing. As you get better at this game you will meet up with quite a few.

It takes a lot of time to get into the groove of saltwater fishing in any location,for any species, especially if you are going it alone. I agree that it helps to keep moving along. Even if it's only a few yards; moving could help you to hook up. I try to locate currents and structures, and often fish those situations as though I was fishing in a river. Actually I am; it is a "river" of current within the saltwater bay or cove or open beach that I am looking for. These trout are accustomed to using currents to rest in and to feed in; prey drifts to them constantly in the flow and they have to expend less energy to feed that way. So you can present your flies just as you would on a river.

I dont like dead water situations but have caught quite a few fish just walking along the beach and casting off forty feet or so from shore. Try to fish over hard bottomed areas, from the edge to eight feet deep or so, over shell beds and sand dollars and cobble stones. Eel grass areas can be good sometimes, especially in lower light situations. Dont wade in the grass and damage it. The grass beds are habitat to a great many forage species and Cutthroat Trout know it.But Eel Grass is also a species that has diminished here so care must be taken not to uproot or damage the Eelgrass areas.

If you know there are Cutts around, perhaps they are feeding, and they arent taking your fly; then change flies often. Sometimes this will provoke a bite. Smaller and sparser flies are called for this time of year.Immature Summer Chum are nurserying along the beaches and back eddies and coves and bays, tidal pools etc. And you can use surface waking and dry flies any time of year.

Try your favorite spot at all times of tide and day.Don't be dogmatic about tides. I make it a practise to watch an area for entire tide cycles and to fish it at every stage I possibly can, as often as I can.And sometimes I just watch for hours with a hot cup of coffee. You can often learn more by not having your rod in your hand, and you can see more that way too. When you are on the hunt, and being predatorial, you can develop "tunnel vision" and miss a few things. One day they are there, the next day they are gone. Cutthroat are on the move, you should be too. I think that David's advice, about moving, and using a boat, are very true.

My biggest "number" day came with over forty fish in a few hours- all of them cookie cutter, 6-8" sized Cutts fresh from the creek and on the feed. The fly was a green/gray scud, size twelve.And I was standing about twenty feet back from the waters edge, casting to a foot of water. And I know many people who have had this experience a few times each spring, right around now. It was not that much fun though. I knew that anyone could have caught them in that situation. You have to be careful not to hurt the little ones. I never use a hook larger than a size 6 short shank hook.

My best day as a guide was twelve fish over 12" in a day, some over 18", with a guest who was a delight to be with and who appreciated every single sea run Cutthroat as though it was his first wild fish. That is the right attitude to have when you are fishing for wild fish anywhere.No matter how many you catch. That was early last November, not far from your area.

My personal best day of Cutthroat fishing though,(numbers, quality, gratitude etc.), was last Christmas, when I caught two cutthroat trout over 18" on a size twelve Stimulator in about an hour of fishing. For some reason that was just about as perfect a Christmas day as I can dream of having.

Be patient and stick with it, be creative, fish all parts of each tide, and eventually you may find yourself out there flyfishing one day, surrounded by wild sea run Cutthroat Trout, and it will be just you and them. And you wont bother to count them or measure them anymore.


AKA Beadhead
How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

Great post Bob, thanks. I would add a couple comments, SRC will often bite just about anything that looks like a baitfish, especially in summer. However they can be very spooky. Sloppy wading and/or wading too deep (or wading at all) can scare them away. If you are standing at the water's edge and casting straight out there is a good chance they can see you, this is one reason why casting at and angle works. Also their prey tend to travel parallel to shore. Low light or anything except full midday sun are my alternating theories.

If fishing from a boat try casting to shore or trolling a line behind you while paddling/rowing as silently as possible, and changing direction. In summer I have my best luck fishing weighted flys with a floating line. Think about how visible you are. Speaking of summer this is not the time to give up on SRCs!

If you gotta do #s then one wild SRC in the salt is worth 20 spring stockers.
Oh, and you will have some zero days, sometimes they just aint there.

Ok that was a bit more than a couple comments. This is one of my favorite fishes to pursue...can you tell?


Mike Etgen

Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

New River Mike

There's no way I could top the replies you've gotten here even if I did think I knew what I was talking about.
I've just started to fish the salt for SRC's over the late winter to early spring (with about a six week hiatus)
and most of my trips have been to the same area near Port Orchard. I've been skunked about half the time, and once caught a juvenile salmon. I've missed hooking up on several more strikes, so I've had my chances. And I've invariably been there the lightest part of the day, so I can see plenty of reasons I haven't done better.
However, not to belabor what Bob T. said, I've seen bald eagles (still a thrill to an east coaster), seals, loons, etc., and on most days have had this particular stretch of beach to myself. I call that good no matter how the catching goes. Plus, I'm paying my dues, listening to what these more experienced guys have to say,and anticipating the good catching days will come in time.
I'm glad you posted your experience, as they and the responses made me feel a little better about my own early returns.
It's amazing - I've caught about five of these guys and I'm totally hooked on them.

How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

My 2 cents would be to work the first 20 feet of water before entering, as most of my hook ups happen then as opposed to casts while in the water. second would be to find new places :smokin they are allover the place:thumb bhudda.


Active Member
How often do people catch SRC. Ratio? (5:1) or Wha...

One thing I want to add in regards to the wading and fishing the shallows, is that when I am fishing from my boat and casting into the beach, sometimes I will bring the fly right off the beach and get an immeadiate strike in the shallows.
If you ever fish in rough water conditions and are walking the beach try bringing the fly all the way into your feet. You will be amazed at how far into the beach the fish will come trying to get the fly. Reminds me of the Orcas picking seals off the beach. Sometimes the fish will be almost all the way out of the water when a waves falls back.

NRM, Josh, etc.... any of you guys that are new to SRCs and fishing the salt are welcome to come out with me in my boat on Hood Canal or around bainbridge this summer. I'd love to take you all out and show you guys around (and catch some fish of course)
Thanks so much for all the help. I know it sounded whiny but I guess I was just irritated by going out and trying to figure this out on my own. It seemed like my learning curve was not going anywhere for lack of fish. Well thanks. I am going to take out my inlaws 12ft boat and hit up the lower Hood Canal area this weekend. Thanks again guys. You saved my hope once again.


Active Member
Josh what area do you plan to fish? I have a few places I would highly reccomend down by Belfair and on the "Great Bend" of Hood Canal.
Shoot me an e-mail.


Hey if it makes you feel any better, I've been out a dozen times since December looking for SRC's and I've yet to even see one. You thought your learning curve was bad... :) I've worked the beaches from Des Moines to Purdy to Port Townsend, nada to show for it besides a suntan.

Keep at it, I know I will.


Latest posts