About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page nativetroutflyfishing.com.

Gary

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Estuary cutthroat and coho

I had a few hours before I had to be to work on Wednesday and the weather and tide looked way to good to pass up, so I decided to head out the Puget Sound for some fishing. I picked a local beach that has several creeks feeding into it in hopes that I would find some cutthroat waiting to intercept out-migrating juvenile chum salmon. When I got to the beach the current was flowing strong and for the first fifteen minutes or so there was no sign of any fish. However that soon changed as I made my way closer to one of the small creek mouths where cutthroat could be seen busting bait on the surface and rocketing out of the water. After a fly changes I found a pattern that was to their liking and started getting into fish. The best fish that I got out of the group was a solid 15" cutthroat that grabbed my fly right a the rod tip before charging back out for deeper water.

A 15" cutthroat on a chum fry pattern

After landing the 15" cutthroat, it was like somebody flipped a switch and the cutthroat just vanished. I went for a few more minutes with out seeing any sign of fish, before I noticed a disturbance on the surface down the beach 100 yards to my right. On my first cast into this spot I hooked into a nice fish, which ended up being a resident coho salmon. This fish was followed by another and another and I was into some of the best coho fishing that I have seen this season. The only problem was that at this point I was running low on time and after a couple more fish it was time to pull the plug on things and head off to the the fly shop.

The coho were joining in on the chum fry feast too

With my the success of my Wednesday outing my friend Ryan and I decided to head out to another estuary that I had been meaning to fish for sometime to see if there were any fish around.
The beach at the estuary

It didn't take long to figure out that there were fish at this spot as within the first minute on the water one shot out of the water. We started out doing the cast then take to steps down the beach routine and Ryan who was in the front started getting hits, but couldn't quite get the fish to stay on for very long. After covering a good stretch of beach with no fish to hand, we made our way over to a point off of the creek mouth and started to cover the water again. Within a couple minutes of stationing ourselves at this spot, a school of coho moved in an started to slash chum fry on the surface. I got a cast right into the middle of one of these groups of coho and and only had time to strip the fly a couple of times before I hooked into a decent fish. I quickly landed and released the fish, then got my fly back in the water and got another coho.

A female resident coho

Now it was Ryan's turn to get into some fish and with the coho actively working the a school of chum fry right in front of use it didn't take long for him to get his first one. Or second for that matter...
Ryan with his first resident coho on a fly

As the tide started to go out and the estuary started to drain, the coho moved and so did we. However with the success that we had just had, Ryan and I decided to head out again on Friday, where the scene replayed itself with both of us getting into several more fish including a beef 18" coho. It seems that the fish have really keyed into the chum fry migration, so the estuaries should be the place to be for the next month...

2 comments:

Cutthroat Stalker said...

Gary,

Sounds like that was a lot of fun! What's a "typical" size that you catch fishing by the shore like that?

I need to send you an email about your offer to Dan to fish some sea-run cutts, but I lost all my addresses a couple of months ago. Could you shoot me an email? If you don't have mine anymore, just send one from my blog (lower right side).

Thanks,

-scott c

Gary said...

The typical size this time of the year is around 12-14" for the cutthroat and 14-16" for the coho although bigger fish are definitely a possibility.