Sea Run Cutthroat are in already – and it’s only mid July…
Last week was a great opportunity to explore and fish my brains out. Spring Chinook season was winding down, but the ocean was there and, for me, a whole new sea to dip my toes into. And I had been noticing some fish messing around the estuaries that looked a lot like sea run cutthroat.
So, with visions of chunky twenty inch sea runs in my mind, I ventured out two times to look for one of my very favorite anadromous fish, the estuary and near-shore coastal cutthroat trout. I prefer to fish an outgoing tide, and I fished two windy afternoons – one in rain and one in sun, fishing an Echo Edge 590-4 matched with an Echo Ion 6/7 fly reel loaded with an Airflo Ridge Clear Delta line.
I fished grassy banks that dropped off into four feet of water. I fished sandy troughs that held three feet of water at low tide. I fished pilings and drop offs. I fished at the head of tide and – yes, I found sea runs. The question of how far offshore these fish had ventured, or if they actually had gone to sea or were silvery simply as a consequence of living in the saline estuary is one I really can’t answer.
Of 3 fish I enticed to my streamer in two afternoons, two were hooked and released. Both were very silvery, but neither had the striking blue back these fish sometimes show when they return fresh from the sea. I saw several much larger cutthroat chasing baitfish or rising to take something from the surface. But was not able to tempt the big fish to my fly. These were clearly not river cutts, but could have been estuary fish rather than offshore beasties. Whatever; they counted in my mind as sea runs, even if the definition of “sea” is open to interpretation. Ya know how it goes?
Anyway, I had a great time pushing a 5 wt with a small streamer into the wind across sand flats and chucking flies up under trees at head of tide. The Echo Edge was light, strong, and measured among the most pleasing sea run rods I have fished over the years. The Clear Intermediate line put my streamer just a foot under the surface, right where I like it for sea runs.
What a great way to get the 2011 sea run cutthroat season started! The next several months is going to be wonderful fishing and exploration time.