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In search of Westslope Cutthroat Trout

By Troutnut on July 22nd, 2017
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.

Photos by Troutnut from Mystery Creek #199 and the Yakima River in Washington

My wife Lena's best fish of the day From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
My wife Lena's best fish of the day
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
My first westslope cutthroat! From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
My first westslope cutthroat!
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
This pool held two pretty westslope cutthroats From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
This pool held two pretty westslope cutthroats
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
Small stream fly fishing at its finest From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Small stream fly fishing at its finest
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From the Yakima River in Washington.
LocationYakima River
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
My wife Lena fishing a nice mountain meadow From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
My wife Lena fishing a nice mountain meadow
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
Yakima River from WA highway 10 near Teanaway, with rafters floating down. From the Yakima River in Washington.
Yakima River from WA highway 10 near Teanaway, with rafters floating down.
LocationYakima River
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
My first westslope cuttthroat, up close From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
My first westslope cuttthroat, up close
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
My biggest fish of the day, a beautiful westslope cutthroat trout. From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
My biggest fish of the day, a beautiful westslope cutthroat trout.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II
 From Mystery Creek # 199 in Washington.
Date TakenJul 22, 2017
Date AddedJul 24, 2017
AuthorTroutnut
CameraCanon EOS 7D Mark II

Most recent comments on this post (latest on top)

Jmd123July 31st, 2017, 2:05 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2126
It's definitely wet-wading time around here. I was out two weeks ago on the Rifle and I felt like I was on a spirit quest in a sweat lodge...wondered when I was gonna start hallucinating or something. The waders will be taking a rest for a couple of months, at least.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
WbranchJuly 29th, 2017, 12:16 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2185
Okay, I have a pair of waist highs for streams I know are no deeper than 2' -4'. I too wear my chest waders most of the time but I fish big water 90% of the time. I wet wade the Missouri in the day time and don waders for the evening fishing. As soon as the sun goes down it gets darn chilly at 6000 feet above sea level.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TroutnutJuly 29th, 2017, 11:24 am
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2415
Just convenience. We don't really have good gear for wet wading, we don't have hip waders, and didn't really know what depths to expect when exploring new spots. I tend to just wear chest waders for almost everything, out of habit.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
WbranchJuly 29th, 2017, 10:52 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2185
Jason, I just have to ask why do you and your wife wear chest waders when it is likely there is no water much deeper than your knees. To ward off mosquitoes perhaps? Protection from vipers?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
TroutnutJuly 27th, 2017, 10:03 pm
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2415
If you get to southern OR be sure to check in.


Will do!

Without traffic, I'm about half an hour from work, and half an hour from the nearest trout steams wild enough to have cougar tracks on the sandbars. I've been doing a lot of evening after-work fishing at places up to an hour and a half away, though it's maddening if I don't leave at the right time and that drive stretches to three hours of crawling along in traffic. I'm slowly learning to be more strategic about my travel.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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