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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since I've never put more thought into catching searun cutthroat than slapping on a pink or purple leech... I'm wondering about this migrating fry ambush concept.

I'll be in Southeast AK for a week next month, and the place should be crawling with cutthroat. I have some 1"-1.5" baby chums and pinks tied up, feeling good about those.

Here's my question: do src's go upriver to get at baby salmon, or do they sit in the estuary and wait? I will explore both either way, but curious if anyone had a theory or two to share.

Thanks!
 

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I think the answer you will get from the P/S guys is, in the bays & estuaries. They are just now starting to funnel out. When fishing, watch for slashing fish and cast that direction. If you have time look at your beach at low tide, find the structure if any and concentrate on those ambush points near creeks that you believe held spawning salmon.
Not knowing the food source for your area, I would also have some black wolly buggers, searun bugger & squimp patterns. Let us knw how it goes
 

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Have not fished cutthroat in Alaska but based on the life history information that I seen expect Alaskan cutthroat to behave more like north Sound fish than south Sound fish.

That is like the north Sound cutthroat the vas majority of the Alaskan cutthroat over-winter in freshwater. However the Alaskan fish have demonstrated an addition behavior not commonly seen in Washington. That is it is not uncommon for those cutthroat over-wintering in freshwater do so in lakes. Further it is not uncommon for fish from streams without lakes to migrate adjacent basins to find suitable lakes in which to over-winter. In that situation sub-adult fish will typically remain in the lakes until the spring out migration period however the mature fish from other basins will leave the over-wintering lake to return to adjacent streams to spawn. As a result there can be a more complex marine water migration patterns than what we see here in Puget Sound.

Depending on the timing of those pre and post-spawning behaviors of the adult fish you find so fishing in the salt but I would expect the most consistent fishing (especially those targeting salmon fry) in the streams with the top of the estuaries and lower main stem likely high concentration areas. All this of course is based on "book knowledge" and I would certainly listen to the local knowledge in regards to timing and location of best fishing locations. Suspect any of the commonly used fly patterns from this region will adapt well to those more northern environments.

Curt
 

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I think you would find more sea-run dollies than cutties up there. Mems
I've enjoyed great Dolly fishing in the Juneau vicinity (Douglas Island mostly). I didn't connect with any cuts, but I also wasn't trying... For what it's worth, my most productive flies on Dollies was an orange and silver flash fly and a small green/white clouser. They hung around just outside kelp, which may not be visible in April. Best of luck!
 

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A couple years ago I was on Prince of Wales Island in May and the searun cutthroat as well as Dolly Varden fishing was amazing.... probably the best of my life not counting some days in NW B.C. and most fish we targeted with a pink rolled muddler pattern (google it) and that was by far the best fly of the trip for me although a few went for a small olive and brown clouser minnow that was pretty much a chum fry pattern for the area but pink seemed to be the key and YES try and find a stream or river where you can hike downstream and find lower tidal influenced pools man.... tight lines!!!!
 

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A couple years ago I was on Prince of Wales Island in May and the searun cutthroat as well as Dolly Varden fishing was amazing.... probably the best of my life not counting some days in NW B.C. and most fish we targeted with a pink rolled muddler pattern (google it) and that was by far the best fly of the trip for me although a few went for a small olive and brown clouser minnow that was pretty much a chum fry pattern for the area but pink seemed to be the key and YES try and find a stream or river where you can hike downstream and find lower tidal influenced pools man.... tight lines!!!!
I like that pattern, gone tie me up some. Should work perfect for Pinkapocalypse as they start to invade, natural for SRC
 

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Thanks for all the replies guys! I will be on POW, definitely tying some rolled muddlers now. I do have some #8 pink clouser minnows, I'll probably try those too.
POW may be better off right now, but here in Juneau, we have had 3 feet of snow in the past few days and all of the rivers are still frozen over for the most part. I went out the other day in search of dollies (not all that many cutthroat around here) with no luck sadly. Pretty much all of SE AK has had winter storms for the past few days, but it's due to warm up come Sat/Sun so hopefully it will be a little nicer for you're trip up. Oh and I can tell you for a fact that chum baby patterns work fantastic for Dollies, also grey/white, black/white, olive/white and pink/white clousers.

Where on POW are you going to be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
POW may be better off right now, but here in Juneau, we have had 3 feet of snow in the past few days and all of the rivers are still frozen over for the most part. I went out the other day in search of dollies (not all that many cutthroat around here) with no luck sadly. Pretty much all of SE AK has had winter storms for the past few days, but it's due to warm up come Sat/Sun so hopefully it will be a little nicer for you're trip up. Oh and I can tell you for a fact that chum baby patterns work fantastic for Dollies, also grey/white, black/white, olive/white and pink/white clousers.

Where on POW are you going to be?
Hopefully things warm up in the next month! My girlfriend spent several hours (long story) in Juneau last week, said it was gorgeous.

We will be spending two nights at 12 Mile Cabin, 4 nights at Staney Creek Cabin, and two nights at a motel in Klawock. Now that I wrote it down, that's a lot of nights!
 

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Make sure to hit the Thorne River man..... my best days were hiking from the day use area Grave Creek I think it was called and hiking down stream via game trails to a large pool only accessible on a low tide.... the Staney Creek estuary is beautiful as well as 12 mile although the fishing we best for me on the Thorne for sure.... have a blast and please let me know how it goes man....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Make sure to hit the Thorne River man..... my best days were hiking from the day use area Grave Creek I think it was called and hiking down stream via game trails to a large pool only accessible on a low tide.... the Staney Creek estuary is beautiful as well as 12 mile although the fishing we best for me on the Thorne for sure.... have a blast and please let me know how it goes man....
Thanks for the pointer on the Thorne, probably fishing there 2 or 3 days. We also plan on hitting 12 Mile, Cable, Harris, Eagle, and Staney. I've found a ton of weir survey data, but for some reason I can't find fisheries data on the Thorne.

Just bought a new camera, so there will be a picture heavy report last week of April. So pumped!
 

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As a general SE AK rule, the "small fish food group" is way more pink fry than chum fry, and more dollies than cutties, but both can change system-to-system. Cutties and dollies both generally overwinter in freshwater (mostly lake-based systems), then outmigrate to feed and (for cutts) spawn. Skinny, pale, and ravenous in April, you will find dollies in pretty much every creek and quite a few in estuaries and tidal inlets. They aren't really too particular this time of year, but they CAN occasionally get really picky ...when that happens, change your fly size and presentation depth first before you change color. Go-to colors for April and early may are green/gold, grey/silver, and all white.

The only fly you really need is this one...even if they did spell my name wrong. Alongside the lookbook pic are a few survivors of the Dolly Wars.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As a general SE AK rule, the "small fish food group" is way more pink fry than chum fry, and more dollies than cutties, but both can change system-to-system. Cutties and dollies both generally overwinter in freshwater (mostly lake-based systems), then outmigrate to feed and (for cutts) spawn. Skinny, pale, and ravenous in April, you will find dollies in pretty much every creek and quite a few in estuaries and tidal inlets. They aren't really too particular this time of year, but they CAN occasionally get really picky ...when that happens, change your fly size and presentation depth first before you change color. Go-to colors for April and early may are green/gold, grey/silver, and all white.

The only fly you really need is this one...even if they did spell my name wrong. Alongside the lookbook pic are a few survivors of the Dolly Wars. View attachment 136557
Good stuff right there. I've got some small jig hooks perfect for that pattern. Thanks man!
 
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