Fly Fishing For Cutthroat Trout and Resident Coho in Puget Sound
Puget Sound has a great fishery that is unknown to most people and that is fly fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout, Chinook and Coho Salmon next to its beaches. The Puget Sound has almost 2,500 miles of shoreline. That is a lot of gravel beaches and oyster beds. Most of it is prime territory for cruising Cutthroat and Salmon. It seems like it was almost designed for inshore fly fishing.
You cruise speedily across the Puget Sound, headed towards the best beaches in your guide’s vast index of places to fish. The boat slows down. This is the spot! Imagine being in a boat just a stone’s throw from the shore, with nothing more than the push of the tide to keep the boat moving. The experience is surreal. You are casting a fly into the crystal clear waters near cobbled beaches and get throttled by an aggressive Cutthroat Trout. It is the first fish but it will be one of many you catch today.
Luckily for us, there is a new outfit that caters to the fly fishing faithful and it is South Sound Skiffs.
South Sound Skiffs Charter Outfit
South Sound Skiffs is a new company based out of Puget Sound and their focus is fly fishing for Sea Run Cutthroat Trout, Chinook and Coho. They are one of the only fly fishing outfits that have a Salmon Charter License to they can legitimately target Salmon in Puget Sound.
Captains Nick Clayton and Bart Morrow are veterans in the Puget Sound fly fishing world and tailor their operation to fly anglers. Their center console boats are the perfect open platform to target the beaches of Puget Sound with a fly rod. Check out their website South Sound Skiffs and discover the opportunities that Puget Sound has to offer for anyone wanting a great day on the water catching fish on the fly.
Fishing Report for March and April
I spoke with Captain Nick Clayton today and learned that fishing right now is as good as it gets on Puget Sound, Washington’s southern beaches. Their main area of focus is Marine Areas 11 and 13. This area encompasses the beaches of Vashon Island, Gig Harbor, Tacoma Narrows and most of southern Puget Sound down to Olympia.
Their 17′ skiffs are versatile and can motor close enough to the shoreline to get within a short cast of fish cruising the beaches. You don’t need to offer up a rock star 70′ double haul to catch fish (but if you got it use it!). Both boats are averaging 1 to 3 dozen fish per angler. Sea Run Cutthroat Trout are in the 13″ to 16″ range with a few trophies approaching 19″. Resident Coho feed and grow bigger as the spring progresses, but now they are in the 1 to 4 pound range. Chinook (it ain’t summer so let’s call them Blackmouth or Resident Chinook) are averaging 16″ to 20″, and every once in a while they tie into a serious 4 pound to 8 pound fish.
Puget Sound Fly Fishing Gear and Flies
The beauty of this fishery is that these fish are hungry and aggressively feeding. Cutthroat and Salmon cruise the shoreline and feed on a variety of small bait fish. Your captain will edge the boat into the shallows and you will cast towards the shoreline and strip-retrieve until you get bit. When targeting Salmon, the captains of South Sound Skiffs will sometimes seek out tidal rips in open water and find fish. This is a light tackle fishery. A 6 weight fly rod is perfect.
The best flies imitate the bait fish that these fish are feeding on. Chum fry, Herring and Sand Lance are the primary forage. Captain Nick says that his best producing flies are Chum Babies, Surf Candies, Clouser Minnows and UV Resin Sand Lance.
Contact South Sound Skiffs
These guys provide one of Washington’s best fly fishing experiences. If a fly fishing trip on Puget Sound interests you, please check out their website South Sound Skiffs.