Estuarine notes on exceptions to the cobble and cover preferences for SRC...

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
My Roger Stephens style notes on fishing for SRC...though for big estuaries, and from a Yak

1- River opening to fall, SRC will stack and reliably hang over a very muddy and otherwise snag free river bottom, particularly if there is a sudden dropoff of 2-5 feet

2- They will particularly hang there if two currents, mild and strong, meet, which is how that dropoff gets shaped anyways

3- Seals will mark these channels and hover over them

4- Juvenile bulls hang in the same location, mixed with adult returning and 8-14 inch -perhaps resident- SRC

5- Estuarine ebb is easier to catch (at least for me) SRC than the flood

6- Cutts abandon these lies when the average water depth is 3 feet or less, maybe because air-based predators can take them out, that and boat wakes start kicking up mud clouds along the river edge. Sculpins will start hitting in those same locations if you are too shallow

7- Up or crosscurrent casts result in more hookups than down. For safety, anchoring should be in mild current and fishing towards stronger.

8- On strikes when I am standing in the yak and submerging the rod tip on retrieve (ie rod is almost vertical), no set is needed, if anything the set, with a rod tip lift results in fish lost, strip set if needed. The resistance of the rod in the water usually suffices, that and the strike is hard to feel anyways, most commonly it is weight of fish on

9- Boat based guys should avoid these locations, there are often submerged tree stumps and clay/mud shelves that could put you and your engine in considerable danger very quickly. That and boat based anglers- in general- are often oblivious to the dangers of boat wakes to people in Kayaks.

10- Kayak anglers anchored up over differing currents in the setting of occasional boat wakes need to be super vigilant re size and shape of wakes as modified by currents. Similarly for large river debris and anchor-snagging rootwads. Hot day, weekend summer Jetskiers need to be watched extremely closely, they are oblivious to the danger they are in or that they put others in.

Excellent info./observations that help fill in some "blanks" to understand and have success fishing for sea-run cuttroat. Much of what you said is not "standard"
thoughts about the sea-run cutthroat fisheries.

When Boot speaks, listen to his outside the "box" wisdom!


Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
Thanx Boot. Interesting observations. I tend to agree with most of them.
Most of the cutts that I hook when I'm trolling set the hook themselves, and when casting/retrieving, I seem to get 'em on either a strip set or just suddenly feel their weight on the next strip after a pause.

I don't have to worry about other boat traffic so much in my local estuaries. Gotta love the shallow mud bars and submerged wood!

And I too find it easier to locate feeding cutts on the outgoing or low tide, unless I find a fresh pod moving upstream on a tidal creek with the incoming tide. Then I try to get above them and be ready (perhaps anchored) when they catch up with me. For some reason, the low tide change seems to be a good time to troll down below the creek mouths or at least below the head of (low-tide) tidewater. I also find that trolling downstream (or with the current) is more productive than trolling directly against it. I usually do get some hits when trolling a streamer upstream on my way to the top of tidewater, though. I always try to have a streamer or baitfish pattern dragging behind me when I'm paddling, as soon as I clear the launch, and only reel in when I have to paddle thru gunk or over a shallow eel grass bed, etc.

The cutts seem to go hide or find deeper water when it gets shallower than 3 or 4 feet deep.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
Nice write up Boot.
Then there always seems to be that one fish that to goes against the tide. Sorry no pun instended. ;)
I caught that fish yesterday. I think in 20 years of fishing that particular location, I've seen a total of three caught there.
This beach screams I'm not a cutthroat beach. Always a pleasant surprise to be there when Mr. Yellow Fins decides to show up for a rare appearance.

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