searun cutthroat trout
Searun brook trout are talked about a lot in New England. Because of the damage to estuarine systems many strains have gone by the wayside. Out in the west, there are many healthy runs of coastal searun cutthroat trout ("cutts" we call 'em), some reaching several pounds. These populations give me a sense of assurance that we could restore searun brookie runs in the northeast some day.
I recall a guy who had recorded a steelhead on his permit and sat down to stop fishing. I went over and realized the fish was a cutt... a HUGE cutt! Upon realizing my observation was true, he stood up and walked away to start fishing down the river bank since he had not limited out - thinking of the fish as a "bonus". Unlike him, I was spellbound by this incredible cutt and could not stop looking at it for several minutes more. Most searun cutts are in the 1-3 pound class (by my experiences). They take flies aggressively and fight with purpose. They have the most beautiful golden hue, like a searun brown, and brilliant silver sides when fresh from the sea. Unlike browns, they do not have the large spots with light aureoles around them - and i would venture to say they lack the brown's volmer teeth as well. The spots are often x-shaped and smaller than salmon spots, and the tail is delicately ribbed with spots along every ray.
They are called harvest trout in the northwest because they return in the fall and I think it has something to do with the incredible eating quality of these fish. Some strains are endangered so I almost always release them.
(images and fly patterns to follow)