The trout of summer

It is truly mind boggling to me that you can spend a weekend evening at a sunny summer picturesque beach 30 minutes from a capital city that is teeming with sea run cutthroat and find yourself alone…but such is the life of a sea run cutthroater. You all should just continue to sit in your house playing video games with the blinds closed. I hear that’s more fun anyways.

1 of about 20 fish from a recent outing. Summer can sometimes provide unreal days, as small schools of fat hungry cutthroat congregate in certain areas (not telling) on the tides





meat eater amongst green salad








The search for the holy grail aka golden death trout

Steelheaders understand that a steelhead is no mere “rainbow trout”. Just as that is true the sea run cutthroat is no mere cutthroat (it just doesnt have a catchy name like golden death trout). To compare them is a denigration. Ocean survival produces fit specimens. Lake fish swim around, eat easy food and get fat. Sure there’s eagles and stuff. Most of the food is well below the surface. Only dumb trout linger at the surface. The ocean you have to understand is full of strong currents with very fit fast sharp toothed predators that love to eat anadromous fish. Salmon spawn once. Big deal, large steelhead and sea run cutthroat specimens can spawn 8 times over (with 8 remigrations to the ocean). The changeover process from salt to freshwater existence/combined with spawning takes an immense amount of energy, and to survive this requires again fit fish. That is the true height of wild anadromous greatness. Skeena trib or dean summer or chrome as fuck skagit spring steelhead inspire a lot of awe in people. They are special, a breed apart. People don’t fish there to catch kelts, they go specifically and sacrifice numbers for those few big egg wagons. To me those big cutthroat and the places they live are the same. There are cutthroat. There are 12 inch sea run cutthroat. And then there are the 20 inch plus golden death trout.

Definition: Golden death trout (pl.) 20″ plus true sea run cutthroat, usually carry a golden colouration ; see definition below

Definition: Sea run cutthroat (pl.) cutthroat you catch in or near to salt water (there are no sea runs in lake cowichan)

I’ve met a number of casual anglers who claim to have caught 24″ or larger true sea run cutthroat (up to ten pounds supposedly). But I’ve never seen pictures of any of these fish Why? (1)They haven’t actually caught one that big (99%) or (2) Fear of poacher scum, which hide seemingly in every nook and cranny of this entire rock and the internet.

Often when fishing for sea runs, you will catch a lot of fish in the 10-12 inch range. A lot of people will fish for sea runs, catch a few 10″ fish over a cooking hot full day in july at the beach and then dismiss the fishery. It’s like steelheading, you don’t go out once during a three week low water period in january not catch anything and then decide that steelheading sucks. If you do, you should stick to stocker trout at your local pond. You have to work for it, watch the tides and weather, go out and actually fish places during different times, tides, and weather, hike, cover water, try different flies. While catching 10 inch cutthroats is fun and fairly easy I don’t target them. Every cast I make is looking for that one fish, that crooked hooked nosed old mini shark. 7 wt fish, bend out dry fly hooks fish (had it happen), “Holy crap my 7 wt spey was bent to the handle I thought it was a steelhead” (also happened) fish. Fish that would laugh at your puny four weight and your size 18 mayfly. Sea run cutthroat the size of alaskan rainbows. These fish though very few still exist in some places.

These are huge sea runs (2nd and 8th photo from top), for us sea run guys catching one of these fish would be the equivalent to a steelheader catching a 35 lb thompson river steelhead. These are the holy grail of sea run cutthroat fishing. Catching one of these fish would be enough to fish hookless flies the rest of your life.

Here’s to the illness never ending quest to catch the golden death trout on the fly.