Not Fly Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat in Oregon

Not Fly Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat in Oregon

Coastal Cuts.  Harvest trout.  Blueback. (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)

Chris Daughters asked me to write about fly fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat and tie some Sea Run flies to feature on the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog.  Silly boy.  He has fallen for the joke, the snipe hunt, the imaginary fish.

These anadromous cutthroat trout are NOT present in Oregon coastal rivers.  Some fly fishers dispute this fact, but they will soon receive a visit from the knee breaker division of the rumor suppression squad.   Then the problem will just go away.

However, let us imagine that there were actual sea-run cutthroat in Oregon.  There are not, but what if there were?  What would one do about it?  Go fish for them, if they would take a fly, I would guess.  Huuumm.  I managed to us the word “would” three times in two sentences.  Nice.

Why would people coin cool imaginary names for imaginary fish?  Part of the clever rumor, I think.

“Blueback” refers to the blue back of this imaginary fish when it first imaginarily returns to freshwater after a short foray (several months) in the ocean.  Imagine a deep steel blue back, clean white belly, and silvery sides.  This is all part of a plot to lure fly anglers away from places where the summer steelhead seeking populace has grown to the point that there are 1.7 fly fishers standing on every Deschutes River rock and valet parking has become the norm at every pull-out on the California – North Umpqua Interstate Highway.

The “Harvest Trout”  line-of-bull hints that the fish are in the rivers in the autumn, when summer crops are harvested.  Again, this is a desperate attempt to decrease the density of steelhead anglers and send them into fishless reaches of Oregon coastal rivers, sell more tackle, burn more fossil fuel, and generally disperse anglers across fishless waters where they won’t interfere with serious and knowledgeable steelhead and/or salmon anglers.

As one who does fish for steelhead and salmon, I heartily support any effort to keep people from messing with personal playground rivers like the South Santiam, a yet undiscovered and unpublicized bonanza for summer steelhead fly fishing.  If people knew that I average nine wild summer steelhead between 9 and 17 lbs. per day, skating dry flies on the South Santiam, well, I would probably have some competition.  But no one knows about the huge run of wild summer steelhead on the South Santiam, yet, so for now, I have this wilderness river pretty much to myself.

In the spirit of this practical joke, I decided to go with the story, to make up some cool imaginary stuff to support the legend of the Sea-run cutthroat in Oregon.  Cool stuff like a hypothetical discussion of flies for sea-run cutthroat:  fly styles, color combinations, best materials, best fly sizes, and so on.  Taking this imaginary venture to the limits of sanity, where I live, I even decided to tie a bunch of flies and shoot some videos for Chris to post on the Oregon Flyfishing Blog.  Ha ha.  What a joke.

Chris and I will spread the faux information, videos, and flies between my WordPress blog and the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog in the next few weeks.  Have a laugh on us, please.


4 thoughts on “Not Fly Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat in Oregon

  1. My favorite “little-known-fact” regarding cutthroat came from a biologist last week. When asked what time of year Oregon’s coastal cutthroat spawn, he said, “Considering that we have documented them spawning in 9 out of 12 months of the year, it’s fair to say they spawn whenever they want to.” Reminded me of an experience I had with pesky cutts about ten years ago. We were sampling a remote reach of Silver King, one of the last refuges for Puite Cutts in the Eastern Sierra. I photographed a pair of Piutes spawning in August. Both senior biologists expalined, “That’s not possible! Somebody please explain to those cutthroat that they are spring spawners!”

    I guess my point is that our little cutthroat, the fish from which all of our varied pacific salmon evolved, is among the least understood characters present in our rivers. And mystery is cool.

  2. I saw that fly box at the shop today, along with your devilish notes. Absolutely gorgeous stuff, man. Let me know if you need them back…

    1. Dude, if you didn’t loose ll of those flies on branches and trees last weekend, how ’bout i buy the box from you today? Might need it soon. JN

  3. Interesting. This old man has caught this non existant fish in the lower Yaquina river at my secret location (which will remain secret) on spinners and worms from August to around November every single year for over 60 years.

    Yea, I know. You can’t catch fish on a spinner and worm in salt water, everyone knows that. (Please explain that to the 19 pound Chinook I caught doing that this year right under the tree that fell in the river at milepost number 8. Maybe she just didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to bite? Plus I got two non existant Cuttroat that day, also.)

    16 of them this Fall, from 14″ to 18″, covered with sea lice which makes me a tad ‘spicious they was in the Ocean. Funny I never catch them any other time of the year, at least not with sea lice on them.

    The good part is the non existant run is building and getting better, at this rate soon the non existant fishery should be great fun.

    Of course to CATCH a Cuttroat you first must be smarter than the fish is. There is that. Flies?


    Hee hee…*EB

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