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Flies for spawning cutthroats


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15 replies to this topic

#1 chugbug27

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 04:54 PM

I'm heading out for two days of mid-week creek fishing for spawning cutthroat in the Eastern Sierras. They are in their annual spring migration from a large lake. The creek is maybe 20 feet across and anywhere from 2-10 feet deep, depending. It's a first for me.

Any experienced advice on what fly patterns to use? Much appreciated!
cb27

#2 ihang10

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 05:27 PM

Call the nearest fly shop.

#3 chugbug27

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 08:45 PM

Normally yes, but not in this instance
cb27

#4 mikechell

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:10 PM

I have no experience about trout fishing.  But from all the conversations and articles ... I was under the belief that spawn run fish don't actually eat anything.  If that's the case, bright streamers would illicit reaction strikes ... yes?


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#5 chugbug27

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 09:53 PM

The best info I've got, and it's just info from research and not experience, is that the prespawning cuts hover downstream of the redds to eat eggs and to eat the larger nymphs and larvae that the spawners dredge up making and tending to the redds, and that postspawners are hungry for almost anything when spotted not near any redds, and that the spawners attack anything that angers them. So I'm taking egg patterns, stonefly nymph and caddis larva imitations, hairwings, classic wets, and assorted flashy attractors. I'm also taking a bunch of swap flies to hopefully post some swap caught pics...

Again, if anyone's got experience to share, please do, thanks in advance!
cb27

#6 tjm

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 03:21 AM

I caught cuts in Idaho on worms and single eggs  way back when, have never been back with flies. It must have post spawn, it was warm enough to camp at 8700'.

A half inch long piece of red worm threaded on a #16 hook looks very near a caddis larva, imo, and that would be my go to fly I think. The eggs that we used were bright red, fwtw. & ~3/16" diameter.

I'd likely trade the classic wets for some woolly-buggers, just because I use buggers everywhere and just a hunch I'd try a sparse  MikeyFinn in the riffle, and never go out without some kind of midge, for me that's a Griffiths gnat, mosquito should always be in the box too.

 

Wish I could help with experience on that drainage but closest I ever got to there is probably Winnemucca.

 

Hit the web sites for some of those Pyramid outfitters and see what they are bragging up.



#7 spiralspey

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:14 AM

Most fly fishers I know consider targeting fish on or around the redds to be pretty unethical, but if fishing for them is legal that's up to you. If you do decide to fish for them please be careful where you wade, redds are often in shallow areas and can be hard to see in off color flows. Spawning and post spawn fish will often be skinny and weak, usually very poor fighters, so play them quickly and release them in calmer water so they aren't swept downstream helplessly.

#8 Fshflys

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:28 AM

2 years ago it was Micro Mays, I think they liked the flash on the wing case. We fished a 100 yd stretch & caught fish all day long, most in the 20 in class. 1st fish the 2nd day I almost couldn't land it my arm was so sore. 13435422_1005809322789473_49890587823321



#9 chugbug27

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:56 AM

I'll steer clear of the redds, thanks for that. Got a little ahead of myself. 🙄
cb27

#10 chugbug27

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 11:42 PM

So, I'm back from my first ever major spawning experience.  Fish wise it was spectacular. Fisherman wise it was, well, tawdry. 

 

Fish wise:

Tons of enormous lake trout trekking up a small creek in pairs and schools, a lot of spawning activity, which was as I said, spectacular to watch. I got the hang of things pretty quickly. Paired spawning trout, and a host of others vying for the redd with the male of the spawning pair fighting them off. Couldn't tell if the competitors were trying to add their genetics to the mix, or whether they were trying to eat the eggs, or maybe something else. Spectacular.  Below the redds there were often pods of trout hanging out in the deeper water below. 

 

Fisherman wise:

Lots of traffic, no respect for the spawning trout. None whatsoever. I didn't get it until I saw it. Spin fishermen and fly fishermen, all targeting the spawning fish on and around the redds, basically either dangling flashy spoons in front of them or throwing assorted flies by them until they bit or got hooked on a fin or tail. To the point where the spawning fish could not be left alone.  Saw lots of them wrestled to the ground and held for pictures for way, way too long after an exhausting fight. Lots of dead fish floating down the stream. A few fly fishermen were fishing the deeper pools downstream of the redds, but really only a small percentage.

 

I had some spectacular fish, but didn't take pictures.  I didn't fish the redds, and didn't catch nearly as many fish as those that did fish the redds. What worked best for me was nymphs that imitated the nymphs that the spawning trout were kicking up to the pods of fish waiting in the pool below -- mostly green bodied and tan bodied cased caddis and golden and black stoneflies. Occasionally the trout would porpoise up to adult caddis flies which were hatching sporadically, but I found a big stonefly stimulator worked better on those trout than imitating the small hatching caddis.  The best was vicente's peeking caddis from the 9th annual season opener swap, which caught me a big lake fed rainbow that had traveled up with the spawning cutthroats, hovering in the pool below the redd.  Jumped a good two feet, length about 22-24 inches, maybe 5 lbs, got him to shoreline but he snapped off along with the fly before I could release him. 


cb27

#11 vicente

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Posted 25 May 2018 - 09:47 PM

man wish you coulda gotten him in for a picture would love to a trout like that with one of my flys in its mouth, glad the fly worked well for you.

#12 chugbug27

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 12:36 AM

You and me both vicente
cb27

#13 vicente

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 02:03 AM

I would imagine so I figure out the recipe for that fly if you want, it was ftd dubbing and flashy stuff.

#14 chugbug27

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 08:22 AM

If you could post recipe that would be great...
cb27

#15 vicente

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 03:54 PM

Ok chug the dubbing is ftd, big bopper dubbing in golden stone, the hot spot is the ftd crystal flash in chartreuse us, the hook is an umpqua U555 jig. I just used steel or brass Cyclops beads the hackle was just some really webby barred hackle.