Coastal cutthroat: non sea run edition

Once every couple years I spare a bit of time for the “other” coastal cutthroat, pictured below from a recent trip up north island. Resident fish are usually quite aggressive and fun, and found in small pretty streams. Lots of single hand spey casting required here. enjoy




October Tide

It being the fall, otherwise known as the best time to chase sea run cutthroat, I thought I should highlight a lesser known sea run cutthroat pattern, the October Tide created by the late Doug Rose. A simple to tie, great pattern to throw near a downed log on a drizzly day near the coast when each tide brings flushes of fresh sea run cutthroat and coho. Designed for tidewater in the above conditions which is right now pretty much everywhere, so get to the bench and then give this one a try on your next trip.



Pattern by Doug Rose

Hook: 8-12 2-3xl trout hook

Thread: Black 6/0

Tail: Red schlappen or other hackle

Body: Peacock herl

Rib: silver oval or flat tinsel

Wing/throat: mallard flank, fibers stripped and tied in bunched

Like many good patterns this is a variation of a theme, given Doug Rose’s twist. A nice pattern by a superb cutthroat angler.

Kokish river clean power cash orgy

So, once upon a time salmon and steelhead in the streams on the island had something approximating environmental protection (in writing at least) to the point that at least they could have a, you know, river to swim in. Until 2013 that is. This is the Kokish river hydroelectric project, (pictures below) a run of the river project that looks to significantly divert and dewater 9 of the 10 km of anadromous accessible river. This river has runs of sockeye, chum, coho, chinook, pink salmon, dolly varden, both resident and sea run cutthroat and apparently eulachon. Oh yeah and threatened winter and summer steelhead.


I don’t even know where to start. This isn’t about fishing or tree hugging hippies versus the chainsaw wielding working man, this is just preposterous, especially when you consider that the “green” power produced by this IPP is subsidized and then apparently will be sold at a financial loss. Surely wild fish are worth more, no? How about putting the net loss that this IPP will operate at for the province for the next 40 years against the direct loss of tourism dollars and taxes to the area? That is all of the fishers and kayakers, hockey players and general nature users who will now not come anywhere near this farce of a clean energy project. There is a place for run of river projects and job creation but choosing one of the worst possible candidates and then just ramming through approval is not the way to do it.

The Kokish river estuary below (hasn’t the river been abused enough?)


We all practice land rape in one way or another but when I leave the river at the end of the day, there is still a river left, and trees, and less garbage, and there are fish still swimming in the waters. Nearby Telegraph Cove is full of wealthy tourists who come to see the areas unique beauty including the river. How is destroying this river helping the local economy? Dewatering 9 of 10 km of anadromous range of the river is not land use it is wholesale extirpation of what is supposed to be threatened and protected species. The federal and provincial governments have both rubber stamped it as if there were no fish in the river at all. Putting a bunch of eco buzzwords on your website doesn’t change the reality that this project is damaging this river’s fish species.


Remember that under current environmental regulations, the fish in this river aren’t technically even considered a fishery anymore. The Namgis First Nation is not only FOR this project but a partner and BC Hydro (whose wisdom has incurred future BC residents with insane amounts of deferred debt) can now apparently cook up any old BS and greenwash it to the sounds of crickets in this province. So much for stewardship by any of the bodies involved. I am ashamed of you BC.

I am aware that people in this part of the world need jobs, but where do you draw the line? Apparently after seeing a project like this come to fruition it is clear there is no line anymore and the precedent is set.

To be fair here are a few links for you to peruse and decide for yourself. – Brookfeild’s project site – provincial environmental assessment pages (read rubber stamping process) -try to find a pro project comment in the public comment submissions – Namgis first nation’s dedicated project page – a guide to this and other IPP projects in BC(not pro industry, just pro common sense) – DFO muzzling scientists? whoa. who would have seen that coming…the happy smiley fishes don’t need water they will just have to take some personal accountability and evolve wings to fly up the river -a 2003 scientific assessment of steelhead stocks in the kokish and other nearby watersheds


hey if you look closely you can spot the “LWD” built in


This is truly what greenwashing looks like

(Below) Hey look at that streamside riparian habitat enhancement going on


The Silver Brown

A common question asked of those who pursue sea run cutthroat is which patterns are the “best”. Most will say any general pattern such as a olive woolly bugger will do, but fly fishing is rarely about utility. I have encountered various situations where choice of pattern will be the difference between success and failure. For some reason when fishing low water, late summer/early fall conditions cutthroat in the rivers near salt water like fry patterns and for this Roderick Haig Brown’s Silver Brown is an excellent choice. A simple salmon fry pattern intended to imitate the coho fry which appear more orange/brown than other species. When wet this fly does a fine job of imitating these fish. The silver brown is a handsome fly, it doesn’t look like part of a feather boa or a chunk of drier lint. Aside from the Indian crow which to the best of my knowledge isn’t available to buy unless in exchange for a kidney or at gun point (and which is easy to substitute) it is made of common materials. It is not necessary to tie it with a bead head, rather it being a low water pattern, it does not need to be weighted. A classic pattern worth tying on to chase these fine fish.

Below tied in a more full summer steelhead style


Hook: size 6-8 2-3xl trout debarbed (cause why the fuck not?)

Thread: black 6/0 of your favorite brand

Body: Silver tinsel, with an (optional) opposite silver wire wrap (for durability)

Wing: Small amount (or matched wing sets if you want to get fancy) of golden pheasant centre tail fibers, with a very small amount of orange polar bear or bucktail

Throat: a few turns of golden pheasant rump

Tail: (indian crow) I use part of a golden pheasent tippet or a small orange hackle tip as a sub.

Tied variously for trout in fresh and salt water


For a good history of Roderick Haig Brown and many other tiers of BC fly patterns check out Art Lingren’s Fly Patterns of British Columbia