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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are a number of members of this forum who fish for sea-run cutthroats here in the Puget Sound Area, and was hoping to get a bit of information from them. I have been watching and reading the posts regarding this with interest, but find it a bit hard to follow.

Being somewhat new to the Pacific Northwest, my experience for fishing for sea-run cutthroat is severly limited. Since I live in the area, I figured I might as well give it a try, and see what all the fuss is about.

I am looking for information on what techniques, flies, lines, leaders, and of course, locations to chase these fish. I would assume, having had a few years of saltwater fly fishing experience, that the fishing is somewhat dependent on the tides. What are the best tides to fish, the waxing tide, waning tide, or dead tide?

I have heard to look for locations that have a river flowing into a beach, can anyone suggest some locations near Redmond? The reason I am interested in this is I'm looking for a bit of fishing to do before and/or after work, since I work night-shift and have the days off.

I have found the article here on Washingtonflyfishing.com quite informative, and the website pugetsoundflyfishing.com informative as well, but neither of them provide any locations that sound familiar to me. Any suggestions of where to go that's close?

Anyone out there interested in taking a newbie sea-run cutt fisherman fishing, drop me a line…

worldanglr
 

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Hey Ryan,

I would think it would be cool to meet you and fish for Cutts. Your site is all action. Anyway, your best bet is north on 405 and over I-5, like you were headed to Mukelteo. You can head all the way out to the ferry, but if you get off on 99, it's just a little hop to Picnic Point. I live in Mill Creek so I could meet you say at Teds sport center and then run ya down there. As far as equipment, I use a 9wt, hoping for the killer Salmonid, but it works on Cutts too. I use floating and intermediate lines and some shooting heads I play with on a running line. I have a 7 wt I'm going to set up with a Rio multi-tip and will use that for Cutts primarily. I've just started tying up salt flies so I don't have everything I need yet. Maybe some of the other guys can give a suggestion or two. I only have one or two reels for salt. Either way, I am religious about rinsing everything with fresh water when I get home.

Now I don’t know it all, but I can get ya out on the salt from the beach. I usually fish somewhere every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 1 in the morning, after my kids get on the bus for school. You can send me a private message through this site. I am headed there this Tuesday.

Let me know whasup,

Matt

"Everyday that you wake up and decide not to go fishing...is one less day you'll go fishing." Forrest Maxwell
 

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Hey, it says I've been a member since the 26th. How the heck did I get 250 posts in three days? Chris, I think when I changed a profile on that day, it changed my member since date.

Matt

"Everyday that you wake up and decide not to go fishing...is one less day you'll go fishing." Forrest Maxwell
 

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I mostly fish the west side of the sound and hood canal so I am not in the know for your area but I have fished for them all my life and might be able to share a little info.
If you want to get into fishing for cutts, I would get an aqualux fly line. it is a clear intermediate sink line and very good for fishing the salt. they are commonly refered to as "slime" lines. Off of your fly line i fish about a 7 foot leader with about 8 or 6 pound tippet. I would reccomend a 6wt which will handle most of the fish unless you get a king or chum where you might get smoked.
I almost exclusively fish an epoxy head minnow or a clouser(pink/white). I will also fish some shrimp patterns but find the baitfish patterns much more effective. I also fish some tube flies which I like alot but they are tough to tie and are better for the bigger fish(great for salmon).
If you are going to fish searuns it always helps if you can throw a long line. Many of the fish are close to shore but the longer your casts the better the odds.
As far as what tides to fish, i dont think it really matters. Location matters more than tide most of the time. I have spots for the incoming and spots for the outgoing. I find most of the cutts in areas where there is a rocky shore and sharp slope into the water. I also like where there is good current and an eddy. casting right along the rip line has always proven effective for me. Lots of times in the summer when there is a lot of bait around the eel grass flats can be great for cutts. The candle fish try to hide in the grass and the cutts will cruise the edges and are easy to catch.
when the fish are starting to move into the streams to spawn they will congregate around the mouths of streams but I have never done very well right at a stream mouth unless the fish were starting into the fresh water.
A book you may want to look into is the "Estuary Flyfisher", it was written about the southern end of hood canal and is full of good information.
I would be happy to go fish with you this summer but unfortunately I am in California right now and wont be back to WA until the baseball season is over.
Camano Island has good fishing i hear but cannot verify. Go to hood canal or call a fly shop on the west side of the sound for info if you go over there.
 

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Hey Wrld,

I lived in Redmond until just a few weeks ago, and my favorite fishing is for SRC's.

I catch alot of em, nice ones, and never drive more that 20 mins from Redmond.

One thing though - Gotta go in the Fall (Aug thru Oct).

Look me up in the late summer, I'll put you on the fish. Otherwise there may be Salt action not too far away - I don't know about fishing salt though.

[email protected]

Let 'em go!
 

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Sea-run cutthroat seem to prefer different tides at different beaches. It depends more on the configuration of the shoreline than simply on the stage or direction of the tide. As a general rule, incoming tides seem to be best, but there are some beaches where all or most of the action occurs on the falling tide. There are no easy ways, you have to learn the peculiarities of the beach you are fishing. From your area, the beaches north of Seattle would seem to be closest. Meadowdale Park and Picnic Point can be good; further south, Carkeek Park and even Golden Gardens are productive at certain times of the year.

A nearby stream is not an absolute requirement. Although some cutthroat never leave the influence of the estuaries of their natal streams, some may wander as much as thirty miles from the mouths of the streams where they were born. This is probably most common with those whose birth streams are small, having estuaries that are neither large nor particularly rich. Sea-run cutthroat exhibit the most varied life histories of any salmonids and are, in many cases, very highly adapted to the peculiar conditions (water flow and temperature regimes, etc.) of their native streams.

In the Puget Sound area, March is probably the peak spawning month, but fish may be spawning any time from January through May. Many early-spawning fish will have returned to salt water before the late-spawners have begun their spawning run, so that some fish are available in salt water year-round. This has given rise to the apparently erroneous notion that some sea-run cutthroat overwinter in salt water. That said, this time of the year is when the densities of sea-run cutthroat populations in salt water are at their lowest, and therefore the time when successful fishing is least likely. The likelihood of catching "snakes", poorly recovered cutthroat kelts, is also increased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm starting to get a good idea of a few places to try, so I thought I'd sent a follow up email with a few questions I have. I sat down last night and tied up a dozen clousers in white/chartuese and white/olive with various materials and various head weights. That should get me started as far as pattern selection goes. I have a six weight, it's a Winston so probably not as fast a rod as I should be using, but it'll do. I only have a floating line for it with a couple of various size sink tip heads, but that should get me by. My reel is a Bauer and I've used it in salt water before.

Let's pose a scenario.

I drive to a local spot, rig up my rod, tie on a size 8 olive clouser, and wonder down to the beach. As one angler told me, I would wade out about knee deep, start casting parallel to the shore, and fan cast my way down the beach. However, what sort of structure am I looking for? Are there certain areas I should be concentrating my casting on? I understand that kelp beds attract fish, as that's where baitfish are likely to be found, but what about depressions in the beach? I would assume I should work just about any structure I can find with a few more casts than normal, and cover the unlikely looking areas a bit more quickly.

My other big question is what retrieve should I be using? Seeing as I'm using an olive clouser, I'm imitating a baitfish. Do these baitfish I'm imitating move quickly, or should I be using a slower, jerkier retrieve? Has anyone found one retrieve to be more successful than others? Or should I be varying my retrieve?

Also, I hear talk about resident silvers, what exactly are people talking about? Does this mean silvers that stay in the sound year-round? Are there certain areas that these fish can be found with any frequency, or are they spread out randomly?

Do just about any beaches hold sea-run cutthroats? Are the fish actually congregating at the beaches, or are you just catching them as they're passing through because this happens to be a place where you can fish for them? Has anyone fished the beaches on the north coast of the Peninsula? What about the west coast? What areas in the Tacoma region should I try?

Thanks for all the helpful posts and comments…

worldanglr
http://www.worldanglr.com/

Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job.
-Paul Schullery
 

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your rod should be fine. If you are fishing from a beach i would go with the floating line or a light sink tip. You dont need to get the fly down very much for cutts.
One problem I saw a lot last summer when guiding people for searuns was that they wade as far as they can into the water and then try to cast out as far as possible. You should almost never wade over your knees, and most of the time you dont even need to wade at the spots I fish.
The structure that you need to pay the most attection to is the current. Find places where the current sweeps along the shore and shoots out into deeper water off a point. at the point the current will form an eddy. Right along the tide line and where the eddy forms there will be a depression formed by the current and that is where you should start looking for fish. Lots of places that are good for the cutts are just places where they will be prowling for baitfish and it can be hit and miss fishing. ALways cast over places like old boat launch ramps and rocks that will provide shelter from the current. I have a couple launches that no matter what there are always cutts sitting behind.
Stripping action will depend on the dayand what the fish want but I alwayst start out with a fast retrieve. Usually the faster the better. cutts are very agressive in the salt escpecially after spawning and will attack anything that looks right.
resident silvers are local fish that are around 1-2 pounds and haven;t gone out to the ocean yet. They travel around in big schools most of the time so usually where there is 1 there are more. These schools travel around quite a bit and are hard to pin point to one spot.
There are almost always cutts along some portions of a beach but they will congregate in certain areas that will hold the food.
Many people fish under the narrows bridge for cutts, silvers and B'mouth but having never done it i can;t tell you much.
I am assuming you mean the Olympic penn. and not the Kitsap penn. I have caught cutts in the rivers on all sides of the OP but have never targeted them anywhere but the hood canal.
http://apps.ecy.wa.gov/shorephotos/scripts/bigphoto.asp?id=KIT0692
this is a link from the mapping site at PSFFs. The top of the photo is facing east. It shows my all time best spot and probably my most fished spot because it is like 5 min from my house. You can see the line of the current running down from L-R and coming off the shallow bar in the indentation of the shoreline. This is an outgoing tide and right at the N end of the shallow bar, it drops off very quickly.
http://apps.ecy.wa.gov/shorephotos/scripts/bigphoto.asp?id=KIT0292
This is another photo of a great spot. It is a sharp shoreline and the cutts will cruise this rocky beach for food when the tide starts running. you can't see it in the photo but on the left side there are 2 different sets of boat launches that are great spots to fish for the cutts. This spot is usually better on an incoming tide with an eddy forming off of the little point.
http://apps.ecy.wa.gov/shorephotos/scripts/bigphoto.asp?id=JEF0469
This is another great spot. Deep on the left, shallow on the right and a lot of current running around the point. Great spot for silvers too.

I hope these examples help you see what you should look for in a good spot for cutts. I would always fish rocky shorelines too. Sandy beaches are not good src spots in my experience.
 

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Wow! Talk about fabulous returns to a fly fisherman's questions!!
What a great site this is.
My 23 cents:
Follow all of the above. Excellent advise here. Don't get discouraged because the water is so vast. Remember that you are always casting to a target you have decided to hit. Never just throw and hope.
I use a small boat in the Hood and I troll a small but bright fly (I really don't think it matters to the fish) but it might to you so use something hot. When I hit a fish, I keep going like nothing happened. When out of range, I sneak back up beach on all fours and cast to that spot. Where there is one, there are usually more, if not spooked. If you can't see the bottom, you just ain't fishin' for cutties.
Be very careful to release all fish unharmed. This is a resource we can protect but the fishery cannot stand a kill, not even one. Please don't.
RJL
 

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On Hood Canal I've had my most successful salt water fishing for SRC's over oyster beds. I will generally choose an oyster bed not far from a small fresh water tributary and proceed to float (using my boat) along side the oyster bed in 5-15 feet of water. I prefer using a rolled mudler as my confidence SRC pattern and basically do as mentioned above by casting and using relatively fast, short, sharp retrieves. If I haven't found fish within the first 10 minutes or so, I keep moving. If the fish are there they will usually come out and let you know.

The Cowlitz hosts large numbers of SRC's and highly recommend it for chasing them in fresh water. I find that SRC's like water that is very simliar to water that Steelhead hold in, moderately fast. If possible, I try to find areas where the water dumps over a gravel ledge to deeper water as the SRC's congregate there and wait for food.

Best of luck and congrats on your website.
Skinny
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow,

Awesome responses, I couldn't have asked for better information. From all these posts I've managed to put together enough information to be able to get out there and do a bit more than just flail away blindly. That's what I was trying to avoid, I spent many hours in Australia blindly flogging the sandy beaches looking for flathead before I finally figured out what structure looked like on a beach.

D3Smartie: Thanks so much, your information was more than I could have asked for, that's great information! Thanks again...

Skinny: Thanks for the info, and thanks for the congrats!

If anyone wants to volunteer to take me out in a boat for the day, drop me a PM. :)

worldanglr
http://www.worldanglr.com/

Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job.
-Paul Schullery
 

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I found a couple of images of flies that are very effective for the SRCs.
The first is a Jim's Dandy or Snotnose Dart. I think it is supposed to imitate a worm or something. I really dont know but they will work.
The second is just a baitfish pattern. Anything like it will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Very interesting patterns, have you got the recipies for them? The second pattern is just your standard run of the mill epoxy baitfish pattern, although I don't think I'd go through the trouble of putting on the feather tail just to have a SRC chop it off.

However, the first pattern looks interesting, as I would have never thought to fish anything like that, do you know what materials it's made out of and what sizes?

Thanks
worldanglr
http://www.worldanglr.com/

Calling Fly Fishing a hobby is like calling Brain Surgery a job.
-Paul Schullery
 

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Pick up a copy of Steve Raymond's "The Estuary Flyfisher". All the local info you ever wanted on tides, flies, tackle, and tactics from a guy who has spent a lifetime fishing for cutts in the salt. A must read on this topic.
 

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Don't forget dries. Orange Stimulators work great in the fall. Strip them fast on the surface. I did pretty good at Meadowdale Park in Lynnwood in Oct. and Nov. last year. The guys at Ted's Sporting Goods are a great source of info about Meadowdale. Good Luck!
 

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the sizes are 4 or 6.
I dont know the exacts for it. But here is the basic stuff.
white marabou tail.
gold dubbing body with copper tinsle or wire wrapped oer the dubbing.
The cone head.
It is a very simple fly to tie. The Port Townsend angler has some for sale on their website and I know Nw Angler in Pouslbo sells them as well. Those are the only places I have seen them.
 

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Here is the recipe-- not that the above won't catch fish:

Tail: marabou dyed with just a touch of fluorescent orange-- it's a bit oranger than a faint shrimp pink. Add a few strands of pearlescent flashabou.

Body: burnt orange floss ribbed with copper wire, orange dubbing immediately behind conehead.

It's a simple tie and very, repeat very, effective.

However, if I didn't have the exact materials on hand, I would try others in the orangish color range.

Silvers--and just about everything else-- like the fly as well. It's designed to represent a polychaete worm.

I've tied several color variations and think you could get away with a white marabou tail and orange chenille body and conehead. Regardless, this pattern is definitely one you should have in the box.
 

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Waters West in PA has 'em, too. When I was in the shop around Christmas, the proprietor (I think his name is Dave if I can remember correctly) recommended the pattern to me when I asked him about effective cutt patterns for the salt. I bought a couple, along with some baitfish patterns he recommended. I'm still trying to figure out the local estuaries hereabouts in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor...mostly mud bottom with stumps, pilings, some eelgrass and some cultivated oyster beds. I found a couple of spots last fall, but mostly I've been catching them when going after steelhead in local rivers with my spinning gear.(I only have a 6 wt. setup and feel that I can bring a fish in quicker with my spin rig--sorry...maybe next year I will have an 8 wt. setup...four out of the last five steelies I hooked were wild and I was able to get them in without overly tiring them out and release them unharmed. Also, I have zippo confidence in my ability to present a fly to where the steelies hang...the times I tried I felt like I was flailing and flogging the water and just causing a disturbance and spooking the fish). I've been getting so many cutts in some places I started pinching the barbs off all my hooks, even though I've lost three nice steelies due to thrown hooks. The Old Man is right..."The thrill is in the release." Can't hardly wait to go after the cutts with flies, though. My plug nickle. Jimbo
 
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