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- Fly Fishing for Sea-Run Cutthroat by Chester Allen|Tips and Tricks for Catching Sea-Run Cutts.
These are little flies that are deadly effective and will catch harvest trout by the bucket-full when they are laying in riffles behind spawning salmon, gorging on loose eggs until they puke. This is strike indicator fishing. Plastic beads are not flies, but are fished in the same manner and are unspeakably effective when fished by bead-o-maniacs.
Fishing egg patterns can be crazy at times. Straight from the fly Bench:. Sea Run Cutthroat flies — favorite fly sizes, hooks, wing materials, body materials, fly colors, and hackles……. I call these the Blueback days, the sea run cutthroat season. Difficult to save up enough days to fly fish for sea run cutthroat knowing that salmon numbers are building by the day, but these feisty fish are so spectacular that they are difficult to resist. Best fly sizes for Oregon Sea-run cutthroat fishing. Even heard reports of Lb.
Expect sea run cutthroat to be at the smaller end of the fish-size spectrum though. These fish will take flies in the 4 to 12 range, with 6 and 8 being probably the most effective, perhaps because these are the sizes that are fished most often. I urge anglers to NOT use 4 flies and to avoid certain 6 hooks, like the TMC , even though the TMC is at the top of the heap in terms of my favorite salmon — steelhead wet fly hooks. Think Sea run cutthroat eat this October caddis fly? Why avoid large hooks?
Funny thing, the Eagle Claw B was my hook of choice, hook of necessity and favorite hook, all at the same time, tying and fishing sea run cutthroat flies during he s and 80s. Those were the days when a lot of Blueback came home with us, involuntarily, in wicker or canvass creels, destined for the barbecue. Our attitudes are different these days, and we send the fish back into the depths to continue their migration whenever possible.
Here is what the fly bench looks like when i am preparing to shoot videos for Chris at the Caddis Fly. These are good sharp hooks, have low barbs that are easily pressed down, and heavy enough to swim the fly well. Day in, day out, I would reach for a size 8 to fish for Harvest trout. The 6 will occasionally bring more fish to the fly, but the 8 will earn more eatage and less fly nipping.
These false strikes are fun and exhilarating but do not result in hookage and tugage. Fly color. Oranges and reds are also front-runners in the color palate. Pink and yellow : nice colors for Sea Run Cutthroat flies. Pink is a very dependable color for Oregon sea run cutthroat flies. A second level of color choices includes black, olive, and purple. The bottom layer of color choices would be brown, and chartreuse. Unfortunately, Harvest Trout do not read my articles, routinely ignore my advice and develop their own set of color choices. I tend to fish dim light conditions with brighter colors, and go to more subtle colors in mid-day.
I might choose a size 6 at dawn and go to an 8 or 10 in the middle of the day. Much of my fly inspiration is based on stomach content analysis that proved Sea run Cutthroat prefer Rooster Tail Spinners over live crawdads, sculpins worms, or juvenile Chinook. Wing materials. My favorite winging material includes white Arctic Fox tail; white Bucktail; white deer belly hair; and Mirage Flashabou in a variety of color phases emphasizing pearl.
White seems to be my color of choice. I also tie sea-run flies with natural deer hair, the center section of Bucktail dark hair , squirrel, pheasant tail fibers remember the Dr. Avoid Arctic Fox body hair, too wimpy and scraggly for my likes.
Sadly, with any natural wing material, all packages of hair are not created alike. There can be a vast difference in the length, texture, hollowness, stiffness, and so forth, of Bucktails. Some Bucktail hair is easy to stack, but some is impossible. Hair from the base of the Bucktail is more hollow and will flare more than hair near the tip of the tail.
White deer belly hair is not as diverse as Bucktail, but again, some stacks and ties better than others. The most consistent wing materials tend to be the deer and elk hides, squirrel tails, and Arctic Fox tails. These are pretty solid and do not offer nearly as many surprises as Bucktail can. Body materials. Floss also works, although my preference is to Uni Yarn over floss because of its slight fuzziness right off the spool and the way it lays down so neatly.
Body rib. No question about this material: small Lagartun or Uni oval silver tinsel. I do not use plastic Mylar tinsel because it is relatively fragile and gets chewed up pretty easily. Oh boy. Here is a subject for hours of discussion. The availability of quality hackle feathers for tying wet flies in the size 6 — 12 range varies considerably moth by month, year by year.
A saddle patch you might be able to get this year, right now, might not be available, at any price, next year. Your selection next year might be better or it might be more limited. Strung brown rooster saddle hackle feathers. Great stuff for sea run cutthroat flies. The most consistently available hackle product I have used over the years include strung rooster schlappen and strung rooster saddle hackles.
These have been around forever and will probably still be here when you and I are long gone.
The only drawback I see to these strung rooster feathers is the need to sort out the junk and select feathers for size. But the effort is worth it as opposed to using inappropriate hackles. I definitely prefer to purchase my strung rooster saddles by at least the ounce, and more often by the pound or half pound, because it gives me the best selection of feather qualities, sizes and such forth.
American Saddle Clump hackle feathers are available in a ton of colors perfect for Sea Run Cutthroat fly patterns, steelhead flies, and Chinook Comets.
Searun Cutthroat Fly Fishing in Puget Sound Seattle Washington
Available in a wide array of colors, these feathers have long tapered narrow tips that are great for dry flies, decent web that makes them very good for tying buggers — and most importantly — a short, wide webby base of the feather stem. What do I look for in hackles for Sea-run flies? For bushy, bold profile flies, I like to have a feather with fairly full, substantial hackle barbules and a fair amount of web, maybe a lot of web.
The reason I want these hackle feather properties is that I believe that it lets my flies flow and pulse in the water. On the other hand , some of my Sea-run cutthroat flies are fairly slim and feature much smaller, sparser hackle collars. This is because, in my creative imagination, there are days and fish that will respond better to a more subtle, smaller, and sparser fly than to a bug bush fly.
Interesting perspective. Badger hackle. Now there is a feather I wish we could get more consistently these days. The Spruce Fly and many other traditional Sea-run cutthroat flies depend on Badger neck feathers. Try to get some these days. Good luck. A close approximation of Badger hackles can be found in the natural grizzly variant saddle hackles, strung. These are offered in packages and can be purchased by the ounce or pound also.
The strung material contains a lot of throw-away feathers, but there are a fair number I call this an acceptable junk to treasure ratio of really good saddle feathers and many give the impression of a mottled Badger feather. Neck feathers versus saddle feathers.
Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout
Here is a great subject for debate. I love nice wide webby neck hackles. I love nice wide webby saddle hackles. Each of the above, of course, needs to be properly proportioned or in some cases, over sized for the hook. My subtle size, slim body flies are rigged with smaller sparser hackles than the big bushy flies I tie as exciter patterns. Schlappen tends to have the slimmest center feather quills, which is nice for winding the hackle onto the hook.
Both saddle and neck hackle feathers can have perfect fiber length and web — but then be a mess to tie with because they have big thick center quills. All you can do is buy the dang feathers and try tying with them. The best test of a hackle is how it winds onto the hook. Remember, too, that feathers taken from different parts of the cape or saddle patch will be different, so each cape or saddle patch will probably have sweet areas with the best hackles for certain size flies. I love these fish. These fish are found in virtually all , yes all — Oregon coastal rivers, and are in most if not all of the Columbia River tributaries at least upstream to Bonneville dam.
Formerly, and maybe even now, they were distributed as far upstream as about Hood River. Maybe they did, they could have, but maybe these migratory cutthroat simply migrated into the mainstem Columbia to chow down on juvenile salmon and steelhead before returning to the Hood. I bet there was a lot of food for a piscivorous fish when the Columbia was wild. Back to sea run cutthroat life history in Oregon. The recommendation was not adopted. This makes the migratory timing and duration of salty residence very similar to the half-pounder steelhead native to the Rogue and Klamath rivers in southern Oregon — Northern California.
Big difference is that virtually none of the half pounder steelhead are sexually mature after their first seaward migration, but virtually all of the sea run cutthroat will spawn on their first return from the salt. This is true for Oregon, however as one looks north to Alaska, one finds that many sea run cutthroat may not be sexually mature on their first return to freshwater. How big are sea run cutthroat? They are true.
Trusted friends who dive our coastal rivers every year see a few of these fish , but the monster sea runs steadfastly elude my best efforts to catch them.
What is the most dependable way to catch sea run cutthroat in Oregon? Answer: 1 find a deep hole in any Oregon coastal river a little distance above the head of tidewater; 2 make sure the hole is somewhat secluded location: 3 wait for night fall; 4 build a bonfire; 5 ensure that adequate supplies of beer, chips, hot dogs, and all the trimmings are at hand; 6 plunk out a gob of worms, crawdad tails, shrimp, or bullhead meat on a hook; 7 sit back on the beach, have a nice social time with friends, and reel in the cutthroat like crazy. Not hardly. This method was described to me as the traditional sea run fishing tactic practiced in the s, a dairy farmer confided his secret methods in the s, and in , a young guy working a coffee kiosk in Monmouth bragged that this was the only way to really catch sea runs, having just returned from a successful fishing adventure on a certain nearby river.
Fished Siletz tidewater on Sunday. Last half of the incoming and early to mid outgoing tide. Fished above and below Strom Park. Great water. Plenty of shady sea run habitat. Most excellent fishing technique was applied. Sea-runs don't generally head out into the open ocean like the other pacific salmonids do, but instead, prefer to stay within relative proximity to their natal streams.
Like steelhead, Sea-run cutthroat have the ability to spawn multiple times without dieing. Within a given population of Sea-runs, some adult fish will migrate to the estuaries while others will be resident within their natal streams. Generally however, the best fishing for them in fresh water late fall through spring. Just as some populations of Sea-runs may stay in fresh water, their are also populations of trout which spend the majority of their life in the estuaries, making them a quarry to pursue nearly year round. Sea-runs are generally not shy. These fish will often rise to a dry fly in estuaries although no hatch may be present.
The same holds true for fresh water. If in the estuaries, look for oyster beds as these trout are often found within close proximity. A standard 5 wt. In fresh water they are usually found in faster water during the hot summer months. Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarki clarki.