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Thread: Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat

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    Default Fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat

    Hello!
    I'll be in Juneau and Skagway (disgorged from a Cruise Ship) in August and was wondering how the local fisherpeople feel about me trying to shorefish for sea run cutthroats. I've heard they will be in the area during this time, but I understand these fish are somewhat at risk of being overfished. Over 25 years ago, when I lived on Washington's Hood Canal I caught and released one beautiful specimen on ultralight tackle.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    first off wrong forum, second up here there aren't too many sea run cutts most of them spend their whole lives in freshwater. There are lots of dollies though, small spinners work great.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Okay, I'll try the fishing forum for tips on catching a Dolly Varden. Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    first off wrong forum, second up here there aren't too many sea run cutts most of them spend their whole lives in freshwater. There are lots of dollies though, small spinners work great.

    False - There are tons of sea-run cutts if you go to the right areas (that is key) unfortunately I am not willing to divulge

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    I agree with onelung. I've caught many sea-run cutts in SE Alaska. It may take a little while to find them, but when you do, you will find quite a few.

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    there are quite a bit less sea run fish the farther north you go. There are some, just not as many. Lots down south toward petersburg, and an extraordinary amount by Ketchican. Think about it onelung, how many SRCs do you catch fishing dollies in may?
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Hi Footlight-

    As the more knowledgeable members of the forum have indicated, there ARE sea-runs in SE, and there IS an abundance in a few areas of the Juneau region. August is crossover time, when sea-runs begin their ascent of their spawning streams, so odds are you will find them in estuary situations, much like hood canal's tahuya or union river estuaries.

    If you have an interest in flyfishing, check out http://www.juneauflyfishing.com/index.html
    Based out of Juneau, the 1/2 day trips are tailored for cruise-ship passengers.

    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    there are quite a bit less sea run fish the farther north you go. There are some, just not as many. Lots down south toward petersburg, and an extraordinary amount by Ketchican. Think about it onelung, how many SRCs do you catch fishing dollies in may?
    Well, I'm not going to bother arguing with you. But if you want to believe they dont exist in decent numbers thats fine with me. All I know is I can get into them pretty good if I go to the right areas.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneLunG View Post
    Well, I'm not going to bother arguing with you. But if you want to believe they dont exist in decent numbers thats fine with me. All I know is I can get into them pretty good if I go to the right areas.
    Oh I'm not arguing that there isn't good cutt fishing around here, its just much much better down south. And they are very localized and in places none of us want to tell visiting anglers I'd assume...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    there are quite a bit less sea run fish the farther north you go. There are some, just not as many. Lots down south toward petersburg, and an extraordinary amount by Ketchican. Think about it onelung, how many SRCs do you catch fishing dollies in may?

    I dont know, but to me your last sentence implied that there were none.

    I've got plenty - Not in May, but I have caught plenty - Last year I caught quite a few actually.

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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    Both Montana Cr. and Peterson Cr. have decent populations of cutts. Lots of cutts overwinter in Auke lake as well.

    Just like everything though, there are way better places than J-town, but there are fish-able numbers here.

    Montana Cr. in August can be very fun for trout and dollies. Fish egg patterns right behind spawning chum salmon.

    Good luck

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    I was also talking about sea run cutts, not resident cutts, I do pretty well on resident cutts up here but my understanding is that up here there are much fewer ones that go to the ocean and feed, instead more stay in the freshwater.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    i was talking about sea-runs.

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    I was under the impression that almost all stream cutts around here were sea-run - But I dunno for sure.

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    Default Sea run?

    How do you guys know if your catching a "sea run" Cutt? Is there a way to tell other than if you catch one in the salt near the mouth of a stream? I would think that would be the only way to know for sure. Those Cutts wintering over in Auke lake are resident fish which is why AKPM was stating again that he was talking about "sea run" Cutts. A sea running fish will not winter over in a fresh water lake usually. Sea run Rainbows (steelhead) winter in the salt. Sea run Dollies - again in the salt.

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    Default Sea Run Vs. Resident

    I haven't fished SE specifically for Cutties, but in Oregon the only way to tell you were catching a sea run Cutt was by the location and timing in which you caught it. Sea run Cutties were also generally much larger on average. A resident Cutt might average 8-10 inches, while a sea run Cutt would average around 13-14 inches. I suppose the only way to tell for sure though would be to kill it and take it in to be analyzed... or maybe a scale sample would do the trick.
    The life cycle of Coastal Cutthroat is pretty tricky. From what I know, some fish may only go to the salt once in their life, while others may go several times. Others spend the majority of their life in the estuaries, and some stay resident for the duration of their lives. They seem like tough critters to fully explain.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

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    I caught one last year while fishing for kings in Auke bay...It's the only one I've ever caught....But then again, I never target them...
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by LungShot View Post
    How do you guys know if your catching a "sea run" Cutt? Is there a way to tell other than if you catch one in the salt near the mouth of a stream? I would think that would be the only way to know for sure. Those Cutts wintering over in Auke lake are resident fish which is why AKPM was stating again that he was talking about "sea run" Cutts. A sea running fish will not winter over in a fresh water lake usually. Sea run Rainbows (steelhead) winter in the salt. Sea run Dollies - again in the salt.
    Interestingly both sea run dollies and cutthroat overwinter in freshwater.

    Cutts come in the fall much like fall run steelhead and overwinter in lakes and deep holes and spawn in the spring. Furthermore they never stay very far from the estuary. I've read usually not more than 30 miles from river mouths. According to ADF&G there are very few sea run cutts in northern southeast, there are some but IMO hardly worth targeting in the salt, especially with the ratio of dollies to cutts.

    Dolly life history is very weird, the general understanding (as I understand it) of the dollies around here is that they follow the salmon smolt down into the ocean spend the summer feeding on small fish and such then follow the adult salmon to feed on eggs and then they spawn in late october (I think). After spawning they go back out to the ocean and head into a system with a lake (primarily in Juneau Auke, Mendenhall and Windfall hence closures in the drainages) and over winter in the lake then follow the smolt back out in the spring.

    Maybe akBoater or G_smolt can chime in if I got something wrong

    There is some decent resident cut fishing here and throughout northern southeast but as I said in my first post they are resident fish.

    Also as others have pointed out both dollies, cutts and most other trout species (some books I've read even say lake trout) will go out to sea on occasion and it seems to be a totally random behavior in a lot of cases, even with steelhead some fish will stay in the river their whole lives and others will go to sea and both will spawn with each other and their offspring do the same thing.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Skookumchuck's Avatar
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    AKPM nailed the life histories. Dollies do stray much more than Cutts. Many of the fish spawn at Steep Cr. by the glacier. Can't fish there, but it's kinda neat to walk up to the falls in Oct to see them spawning. Watch out for bears.

    Sea-run cutthroat are typically larger. I found a hole full of them a couple years back and caught around 10 over a few days that I measured at over 18" and quite a few smaller ones. Not much luck last year though. They also get really pretty in the fall when they get ready to spawn. To tell for sure though, you would need to analyze a scale. Most of the sea-runs that I've caught in Juneau were in Sept-Oct during the silver run. They are very spotty, but once you find them, there are definatley catchable numbers here. THe only ones I've caught in the salt though was out around Salisbury beach / Pt Bishop.

    On a side note LungShot, some steelhead do overwinter in FW as adults. Many fall runs of steelies hatch, spend a couple of years in FW, smolt and go to sea for a coupla years or so, return to fresh in the fall-winter to overwinter in a lake or deep holes, and then they spawn in the spring and return to sea. Most of the kelts that make it back to sea will come back to spawn every year. The fall run at the Situk, Karta, and Karluk are all examples.

    The pic is one of many I caught at the outlet of Karluk lake in the spring of '06.
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    Member kjashen's Avatar
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    we used to hammer sea run cutts off of Piling Pt. in may, sometimes catch and release up to 30 per day, we assumed most of these fish were headed toward Bear Creek on Admiralty. Lots of resident cutts can be found in just about any creek crossing the Hoonah logging road system also.

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