Crazy day: jack steelhead, blackmouth, and sea-run cutthroat

#1
Yesterday I landed what appeared to be a jack steelhead(16-17"). It is seen in photo below. Since the quality of the picture is poor, I will discribe what is not readily apparent. All the fins were white/transparent with no red slash under it's mouth. It's gill plates had a reddish ting to them. I am almost 100% positive that it was not a sea-run cutthroat. Historically the stream which feeds the the estuary has had a run of steelhead. If it was truly a jack steelhead that would be pretty cool! Another possibility is that the fish could have been a resident rainbow that out migrated/got flushed into the estuary during the high water events of the last couple of weeks.

Shortly after landing the above fish I caught a 15-16" blackmouth. Every year I usually hook a few blackmouth when fishing for coho or sea-run cutthroat but not as small.

The sea-run cutthroat fishing was pretty good as 6 fish(12-15") were landed using a olive/white clouser minnow. While I was eating lunch a +20 inch sea-run cutthroat twice was seen chasing sand lance as the baitfish would be spraying out of the water. But by the time I cast a top water sand lance out there, the fish was gone. I will never get tired of seeing sand lance getting chased up to the water surface by coho or sea-run cutthroat.

The chum salmon are gone from this estuary as they shot right up several nearby streams due high water events and didn't stage or mill around this year. When chum salmon stage or mill around in an estuary, the sea-run cutthroat seem to be scattered/intimidated by schools and jumping chum salmon. Hopefully the sea-run cutthroat will drop back into the estuary after feasting on chum eggs.

If only there would have been some resident coho around, I might have been able to have had a "grand slam".;)

Roger
 

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#2
Very cool Roger, glad you had a good day! Quite the species list for the day! What were you doing not fishing topwater, thats what I want to know!!
 
#3
The tail looks fairly square and heavily spotted- I would say from the photo it very well could be a small steelie. Props if it was- they are defs rare in the salt!
 
#7
What were you doing not fishing topwater, thats what I want to know!!
It is a long story;). The sea-run cutthroat just don't seem to be as interested in top water patterns in the last week or so. It might have to do with not many of them around now. I am not a purist top water extremist anymore as it is sometimes necessary to get down and dirty with sinking patterns;).

I am going to try using Jeff's squid skater when fishing for resident coho this winter. I think that they may like it as much as the sea-run cutthroat did this past early summer. Jeff's conhead squid pattern has work when using a sinking line so that will be another pattern to use for resident coho this winter.

Roger
 
#8
Roger, I've actually had fewer great days fishing topwater this year. I have found myself searching deeper to find fish, which I rarely did last year at this time. Could just be different tides, temps, any number of factors, but I have had significantly less hook ups on top.
 
#9
Roger, I've actually had fewer great days fishing topwater this year. I have found myself searching deeper to find fish, which I rarely did last year at this time. Could just be different tides, temps, any number of factors, but I have had significantly less hook ups on top.
I have also had fewer great days fishing top water this year. The last great top water outing was mid June when you and I had an awesome day skating top water patterns for sea-run cutthroat. It was steadily downhill after that epic day.

This past summer I also found myself using sinking lines more than previous summers when I almost exclusively used top water pattern with success.

Roger
 
#10
Wow great report! I've noticed chum moving right up stream and not hanging out in the estuaries as well. Interesting about the top water action not being as good.
 

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