Coastal Cutthroat Fishing in Creeks and Rivers - Be Prepared

Coastal cutthroat fishing on creeks and rivers on the coast is a thrilling experience for any angler and we are obsessed. With their elusive nature and tendency to hide in the jungles of the Pacific Northwest, these fish require some preparation and techniques to catch. In this blog post, we'll go over some tips in preparation for coastal cutthroat fishing on creeks and rivers as the season quickly approaches.

Or first piece of advice is to research the location BEFORE heading out to fish, it's essential to research the location thoroughly. We have spoke about this before but using tools like OnX to study the contour and for finding public access will be a major asset. Not only do you need to check the access and terrain but be sure to check for any regulations or closures in the area! Additionally, look for information on the water levels, spring in the PNW can treacherous at times and these fish to not play well when the rivers are high and visibility is poor! 

Once you’ve honed in on the location and things are looking good, choosing the right gear becomes equally as important. For coastal cutthroat fishing on creeks and rivers, small streamers, larger dry flies, and bigger nymphs are popular choices. During this time of year, you will generally find us fishing small streamer patterns that utilize a hot spot and incorporate Spawn Products like Spawn Simi Seal and Spawn Micro Jig Shanks! We use a 3 or 4wt in smaller systems and a 4 or 5wt in the larger rivers. We always use a floating line but you will find a sink tip in our pack ready if we aren’t getting our small streamer into the right zone! All of this gear can be found here at Spawn!

What you wear while targeting cutthroat can be easily overlooked and is something we constantly bring up prior to guiding and fishing these creeks and rivers. The jungles of the Pacific Northwest generally don’t have trails or paths to take you deep into where these fish live, so it's important to dress appropriately. You will be bush whacking, stepping in mud, crossing the streams, climbing over downed timber and overcoming obstacles the entire day.  Wearing durable, comfortable and waterproof clothing that will keep you warm and dry is important. Additionally, we recommend you bring a good pair of wading boots with good traction to navigate the uneven riverbeds. Generally, we don’t wear waders on the small creeks but it is always an option for those that get cold fast in this early season fishing. However, middle sized and larger rivers we do wear waders so that we can stand in the water and reach the places these fish live. Lastly a pair of polarized glasses are a must, Smith Low Light Yellow or Costa Sunrise Mirror are our two top recommendations and both are in stock!

One of the last things you need to do to prepare for the upcoming season is practice your casting. These creeks will test even the best anglers and casting is an essential skill in coastal cutthroat fishing on creeks and rivers. It's not about creating the perfect presentation loop on the cast but rather casting flies into tight hard to reach spots! The creeks and rivers in the Pacific Northwest can be narrow and lined with trees, so accurate casting is necessary to get your fly in front of the fish. Practice your casting before heading out, and try to master different casting techniques, such as roll casting, bow and arrow and sidearm casting.

Coastal cutthroat fishing on creeks and rivers on the coast is a unique and exciting experience. With the right preparation and techniques, you can increase your chances of catching these elusive fish. Remember to research the location, choose the right gear, dress appropriately, and practice your casting! With these tips, you'll be well on your way to a successful day when this fishery opens here in a month!

 Once the rivers open we will highlight on the water tips to ensure once you’re there you bring this amazing species to the net!




Carroll Jenkins:

Does your shop have Guide service? Especially for the creek’s.

May 01, 2023

Joshua Dahlquist:

Good read, thanks for laying it all out. I’ll be in soon fellers!

May 01, 2023

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