Our summer is finally here in Western Washington! We could not be more deserving of great weather and better fishing! With this push of heat we need to change our focus from the hidden bays and back waters to the open water. Sure there will still be fish hanging in the protected structure, but the big fish… They know the bait likes that cold push of current! Here are a few things to consider to find the big fish!
Sincerely, there are very few things that get me as stoked as “Let’s chase the big fish today.” With the exception of blonde women who tie flies, tequila after I get off the water, and plane tickets to the tarpon grounds, my favorite things come down to chasing big Sea Run Cutthroat in the summer. Fortunately, the season is here for chasing the big ones. From now till mid September, we will find the biggest fish of the season. Here are the things you need to know!
For the most part, until the water starts to warm, we find our biggest fish in the bays and back waters of Hood Canal and Puget Sound. Rocky shore lines protected from the winds, hidden from most of the world, with steep shorelines that stay cool until the warmest part of the year. As the waters warm, the baitfish and oxygen levels decrease in these areas, and the fish move to the open water and main current channels. The fishing itself is still very similar, however the locations tend to be a little less friendly to wading. The currents are a little stronger making you think about how to present your cast in these open currents. Furthermore the hunt is much faster and our mobility with the boat is much more important. We run to our locations, make our cast and look for signs of fish and bait, then we run to the next spot. We might cover a quite a few miles of water before finding the perfect location.
Our fishing is pretty similar, Cast, Strip, Cast, Strip…. Those acts are very much the same for the most part. However, the fish seem to prefer a speed of retrieve this time of year… Problem is, it changes throughout the day, with light, temps, and tidal flow. I tell my clients; “Start slow, and speed up till you end fast.” As we fish through this method you will see at a certain point in the retrieve we catch the most fish. It might start off the fish want the retrieve fast when the water temps are 61 F and the light is really low on the water. As it warms to 64 F the fish might like the slow retrieve and a deeper sunk fly with the high light.
This is a preference… I know a ton of different flies catch Sea Run Cutthroat. However I do think there are a few things to consider as the weather warms and the sun is high in the sky. Add Weight. This can be an old school Clouser pattern, a cone head, or hidden tungsten beads/Loon Powder. The flies that get down quick tend to catch more fish this time of year. Maintain a big profile with a subtle foot print. When a Sea Run Cutthroat expends the energy to chase your fly, it is also exposing itself to predators, and typically moving a long ways for it. Make the fish think it is worth it by keeping a big profile. Herring, Anchovies, and Sandlance are all in good numbers and all have larger profiles right now.
Summer is the hidden gem of the north west! We have endless options of outdoor entertainment. Fishing for big Sea Run Cutthroat should be at the top of your list! I hope this allows you to find more success! Tight Lines and we hope to see you on the water!
Captain Justin Waters