Just as the river is the best habitat for fly fishing, the lake habitat is better suited for a bait caster.

Cutthroat Trout Coastal Tips

When fly fishing the brackish water of western rivers and stream of the United States and Canada, use fly patterns that resemble ocean going bait fish, river fish that are found in brackish water and shrimp patterns. This includes salmon and charr fry, alevin and smolt.

Spring is when Cutthroat Trout spawn. In the fall, sea-going Cutthroat Trout spend most of their time in the bottom end of the river where the water is brackish and moving out into the ocean not too far away from the river mouth. Sometimes they may spend their time waiting in the lower end of the river waiting for the tide to wash in bait fish and other foods like zooplankton.

Tidal Fishing Tips

In earlier articles, we talked about the preference for Cutthroat Trout to focus on a particular form of bait for a few hours or so before change to another food preference. Knowing the best time to use their preferred baits will help you be more successful.

Shrimp are only fed on at night when they are found near the surface feeding on zooplankton. During the day, they are much deeper in the ocean. Deeper than the Cutthroat Trout will go.

Herring are a very popular ocean going bait fish consumed by cutthroat trout along with salmon. They are often found in mid to late fall schooling in the bays and estuaries from California up through British Columbia, Canada. These bait patterns work well at. The key to using herring is to know when they are found in your area. In British Columbia, they can be found in November and December. Contact a local fish club or bait shop for specifics.

Feeding Off Salmon Eggs

Salmon spawn in the fall around the same time as Cutthroat Trout. Cutthroat Trout usually head upstream following behind salmon but unlike salmon, they do not die after spawning. This is an excellent time for catching Cutthroat Trout as they actively feed on the dying remains of the decaying salmon and even their eggs. Any salmon egg pattern will work well during this time as salmon eggs are a very popular food. In fact, Cutthroat Trout can be found following salmon and waiting for them to expire before feeding on their eggs.

Cutthroat Fishing Regulations

Each state and province has regulations in place to protect fish species that are threatened and protect others from becoming endangered. If you are fishing a new state or province, check ahead for current regulations. The penalties for violation can be severe including seizure of vehicles and gear.

Restrictions for many coastal jurisdictions include the following:

:: You must use a single barbless hook.

:: You can only use one fishing rod at a time in streams.

:: You can only retain two hatchery-marked trout per day in streams (and some lakes) and they must be over 30cm long..

It is important to check the regulations for changes and updates regularly. For fish that you have to release, please do so with care so their chance of surviving remains high.

Habitat Threats

The greatest threats to those threatened Cutthroat Trout come from habitat loss and excessive fishing. The introduction of alien fish species has been another factor. While many love bass fishing, the introduction of these fish into cutthroat trout habitat has led to their decline.

States and provinces like Montana, British Columbia and Washington have a mature mining and forestry industry. These industries have led to habitat loss where they interfere with streams and river run off from saltation of the water, flow alteration and acidification.

While stocking programs are attempting to fix the problem, it is only a workaround. For those areas where restocking stops, the population immediately begins to decline where human interaction continues to harm their habitat.