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

Monday, November 1, 2010

Till next season

The are a couple of things that I have learned while fly fishing, the first thing I have learned is that October in Washington is a very special time to be fishing. The biggest problem is settling on the options, salmon in the rivers, salmon in the saltwater, last blast of lake fishing, dries for trout in the rivers, sea-runs in the Sound... The list goes on and on, to complicate matters, just about everyone of these fisheries is at its prime during this "golden" month. So when that month starts winding down and the fall colors are in full swing, what do I do? I look to one of the least popular of these options, which takes me to my second revelation.

This would be that I am an absolute sucker for small streams. I probably spend more time fishing the vast expanses of the Puget Sound, but the little out of the way waters that nobody wants to trouble with always seem to draw me back and that I is where I wind up fishing when there are too many options available to wrap my head around. Generally speaking small streams aren't going to gain you much of any bragging rights when it comes to big fish, but I have never been one to get held up on big fish as it is. Plus the smallish trout that do typically inhabit these waters also tend to be some of the more gorgeous fish around anyways.
The creek

So with an unusually beautiful end of October afternoon and several free hours on my hands out of the blue, I made the spurt of the moment decision to head to my usual end of the stream season haunt. Timing is everything on little streams like this and with my outing occurring the day after a good rain and right at I high tide, there was at least a decent chance that some sea-run cutthroat would be following the salmon into the creek. So I got a hold of my buddy Colton and we met up at the creek to do some Alaska style egg/ bead fishing, just on a smaller scale. Due to the brush nature of the stream, my 6' 1wt was my weapon of choice, while Colton opted for a little heavier 2wt.

As always with this particular stream the effort to reward ratio was pretty evenly matched, with just enough fish around to keep us from thinking about complaining about the tight brush and tangled log jam messes to climb over and lose flies in. However with my first drift along a great looking undercut bank, the rewards spoke for themselves and in terms of beauty some of these fish are hard to beat.
A native juvenile steel-throat hybrid (naturally occurring steelhead x sea run cutthroat)

This first fish that I caught for the day really caught me off guard as it had cutthroat slashes and spotting, but many of its other traits suggested rainbow trout, especially the smoking gun orange tip on the dorsal fin. Apparently this creek's native steelhead run still hasn't quite gone the way of the Do-Do. I would have said that this was a fluke, but my next three fish were also hybrids providing me with a few explanations on some cutthroat that I had caught over that past few years at the nearest beach that just didn't look right. After that some of the stream's more pure strained cutthroat finally made there presence known and these fish apparently had a health obsession with salmon eggs.

As if I needed more proof that there were a few steelhead calling these waters home, on my last cast of the day I caught a fish that I never expected to encounter, a beautiful 10" rainbow, likely a steelhead smolt that will be heading out to sea before long.
My catch of the day a beautiful rainbow

However I didn't have long to marvel at this fish as Colton on his first cast into the hole hooked into a fish as well and that fish had a bit more size to. The 2wt rod was easily out matched by this fish which decided to run down stream nearly into the backing before turning around and heading back up the other way. Colton got lucky because there were plenty of snags for it to choose from to dislodge the hook, but instead it head more to the main channel and after a few minutes we finally led it into the net. All I have to say is that Colton picked a heck of a fish to end the day and stream season with!
Colton's sea-run
Another look at the 17" cutthroat fresh out of the saltwater

With the stream trout season closed again till next year, it is time to turn my focus back to the salt water and before long winter run steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.

5 comments:

wyoflyfish said...

Another great report. I am still trying to stop drooling over that steelhead trip and now you are posting awesome small stream results too.

California Trout Stalker said...

Thanks for sharing a great trip! I like the way you didn't provide the name and location of "The Creek" in your writing or photograph. However, is there a riddle in a paragraph or secret hyperlink on one of your words that could save me time and provide a more accurate starting point for my research? I would love to be there too!

Gary said...

No secret riddles or hidden links on this one, if you want to email me though we can discuss creek fishing for sea run cutthroat.

mtorinus said...

Gary,

I had a question more than a comment. I recently set a goal to catch a native trout in each state. I am not sure it is even possible. But you might know. Something like, "The 50 Club." Must have a date, picture, witness for it to be an official state catch logged. What do you think?

Mark

Gary said...

Mark,
Unfortunately that is a quest that is not going to be possible as not ever state in the US has native trout. It might be possible to catch a trout in every state, but a good number of the midwest and southern states had waters too warm to ever support trout populations.

Gary