August 5, 2013

Cutthroats in a Brown Trout stream

The other day I was on my way back from my parents house and stopped in at a creek that haven't fished since winter. It is a nice stream, with modest to high gradient. I usually catch all browns when I fish it, but that day I caught mainly cutthroats. These would be Bonneville cutthroats, given the location of the watershed.

The water is running lower than I've seen it, 57 CFS. Normally when I fish it the flow is 75-90 CFS. The water temperature was good at 60 degrees F so I wasn't too worried about overly stressing out the fish I caught.

I entered the water and started fishing with the Daiwa LT36SF and a #4 line. I mainly fished upstream, with an occasional cross-stream cast. Within 3-4 minutes of arrival I was into my first fish, a 10 inch cutthroat.


One thing I really like about tenkara techniques is the ability to dissect or systematically take apart a stream, regardless of the flow pattern and obstacles. If you want to fish that little eddy on the far side, then cast and place your fly right there. If you want to hit that hydraulic cushion on the upstream side of the large boulder-rapids, then cast over and place your fly there. The main thing you have to remember in these type of situations is to accelerate your forward cast enough so that the fly hits the water and not the line. If your line even touches the water then the fly will be dragged out of position. So, accelerate forward, stop the cast abruptly at the 10 o'clock position and let the fly hit the water, all the time not allowing the line to touch the water. BTW, I'm talking line here, not tippet. Obviously some of your tippet will contact the water as your fly sinks, but even then, keep this contact to a minimum. That way your fly will stay in place -- hover, so to speak, in that pocket of water. This gives that precious few seconds for the trout to see your fly and react.


As I was saying earlier, I took a number of cutthroats where normally I take browns. The largest fish was 13 inches; nice and healthy with excellent color. I took him out of a pocket upstream and to the right of a tongue and chute of water being diverted by a large boulder. There would have been no way I could have taken him with western gear and techniques, even high sticking. As soon as he took the fly he plunged over the fall and shot down stream. I guided him into some more calm water and netted him. Very nice fish!

I targeted my cast here ...
... and caught this beautiful Bonneville cutthroat.

I fished for only about 1.5 hours and it rained a little but that was OK by me. It was a nice little break catching my favorite trout species.

Here's a video of some of the fish:

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