Since moving to Washington in April, I've had a few chances to escape the crowds of the Seattle area and explore east of the Cascades, but one of my longtime goals -- to finally catch my first unambiguous, bonafide, beautiful Westslope Cutthroat -- had eluded me due to high water from spring snowmelt or fishing streams dominated by other trout. This weekend I went fishing and camping with my wife Lena & dog Taiga to check out a couple possible trout fishing spots.
Saturday, we dove into a labyrinth of forest roads, creeping along precipitous cliffs and changing one severely flat tire before arriving at a tiny stream in a high-altitude meadow. Having no previous information on this stream besides an old scientific report documenting the existence of the species, I was delighted to find one of the best small-stream fly fishing experiences I've had. There were fat, colorful Westslope Cutthroat in every likely-looking pool, and a few were pushing 10-11 inches, giants for the size of the water.