Washington’s Sea Run Cutthroat Trout

Sea-Run Cutthroats in south Puget Sound

I’m in Seattle on an extended holiday stay, waiting to catch a flight to Florida on Thursday. Last Saturday Dave McCoy, who runs Emerald Water Anglers in Seattle www.eneraldwateranglers.com, invited me to chase coastal cutthroats with him. Along on the trip were two first-timers who’d taken casting lessons last summer and now were ready to apply that skill on the water. Winter isn’t the easiest time to find sea-run cutthroat, nor is it the best time to catch numbers of them, but the beaches are nearly deserted in January and February and there’s something about getting in on some overlooked action that adds a touch of sweetness to any success. The clients this time were high school age boys, juniors at Roosevelt, one, Luke, trying his hand at getting accepted to Standford and the other, Marco, from Milan, Italy, set to enroll at the University of Washington.

Fooling around with starfish, south Puget Sound.

Is it right to feel inferior in the face of high-school students? Dave asked Marco, “Is it true about the competitive dressing in Milan?” and he answered, “Worse than you can imagine. It’s a contest from an early age.” I imagine the “bum’s-eye for clothes” attitude in Seattle is a welcome change. Anyway, we spent the day casting to cruising fish and

Last light for sea-run cutthroat.

enjoying one of those winter days near Seattle that makes you believe you’re in the right place in the world. Fifty degrees. Sunny. Seals popping their heads above the surface. Wigeon and mallards winging by. Crabs scooting around the shallows. Orcas meandering through the inlets. The Cascades shining to the east with the Olympics towering to the west. Waves lapping at the cobble, multicolored rocks. Eagles screeching from the trees, cursing those annoying seagulls. To be honest, it wasn’t a big day for the catch, but the boys found at least eight fish willing to eat and I won’t remember anything about that day with a camera in hand as not being just about perfect.A great sea-run cutthroat.

Madronas are one cool tree you'll see while fishing sea-run cutthroat in western Washington.

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