East Coast/West Coast All Around The Continent: Sea Run Cutthroat [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: East Coast/West Coast All Around The Continent: Sea Run Cutthroat

06-21-2008, 11:35 AM
Just got back from Rhode Island, where I had a great time catching stripers and having my flies chomped off by rampaging blues, and got to wondering: what have they (East Coasters) got that we ain't got?

Well, they certainly have exemplary angling opportunities within very short drives of some of the largest cities in New England. I was astounded at the number of striped bass readily accessible to car-topper or shore-based anglers. This was quality fishing (and catching) amid gorgeous scenery. Who could ask for anything more?

It used to be like that out here in the wild west, but it sure ain't like that now. We didn't have stripers (except in very localized cases), but we had salmonids in abundance.

I was out on my dock last evening on a very good tide, letting the fly swing across the current in hopes of a pull from a sea-run cutthroat. Alsea Bay, where I live, used to be a world-class fishery for these wonderful critters, but I'm still waiting for my first fish of the season. When I moved here in 2000, I hooked them all year around. The fishing has fallen off steadily since then, so now all I get is casting practice in beautiful, inspiring surroundings.

One of the things I've noticed about Alsea Bay is the lack of bait this year. Prior years, thousands of tiny, green shrimp would appear in mid-April, about the time the smolts were exiting the system. Later, there would be sporadic flurries of Northern Anchovy and needlefish. Nothing much this year, so far.

We do have a lot of harbor seals, and the ones two miles up the bay seem expert at catching fish. Watching them is like watching an attacking shark: huge bulges, wakes and turns in the water culminating in a whirlpool swirl.

This Bay is a very confined space, and with the large harbor seal population, I don't see how the sea-run cutthroat can survive if there isn't another source of food for the seals.

Bait is the key (although a reasonable reduction in the harbor seal population would be most welcome). Narragansett Bay was teeming with bait and consequently teeming with healthy game fish. What's happened to the bait around here? How do we get it back?

I'll try to follow up this rant with a call or visit to the Oregon Marine Sciences Center, just up the road in Newport, to try to find out how this situation is being monitored and listen to what they have to tell me.

Meanwhile, how is the sea-run cutthroat fishing holding up in Puget Sound?



06-27-2008, 09:58 AM
Eric -
While I don't fish the south Sound from the reports one hears it sounds as if that fishery is holding up well.

Here in North Sound (both the salt and rivers) my sense is that the fishery has declined. That is more of a factor of increased numbers of rods fishing on a limited resource than a decline in population abundance.

One observatrion that continue to puzzle me is that the quality of the fishery on the rivers where harvest is allowed seems to be better where CnR is required all summer and fall.

Tight lines