Winter is not the best month for seeking out and catching Cutthroat Trout. April though to October offers the best months for catching them.

Summer Cutthroat Trout Fishing

Most of the widely distributed Cutthroat Trout can be caught in summer without much trouble. Coastal Cutthroat Trout are one of the easiest for both sea-run and freshwater varieties.

Yellowstone and Westslope Trout fishing baits and techniques do not change much. However, as the water heats up, they are found deeper and the use of wet flies is advise during this time. Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout eat the same food year round. Going with stone flies is your only bet as these make up over 90 percent of their diet.

Successful Fly Fishing Flies

Early summer finds Cutthroat Trout feeding on aquatic nymphs and larvae between one to three feet below the surface. Recommended flies for early summer include the Bead Head Hare’s Ear, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Bead Head Prince from 12 to 14. For Yellowstone Cutthroat, stonefly nymph patterns are required in sizes 6 to 10, though they also work well on other western Cutthroat Trout. Caddis flies are also very effective.

Other successful fly patterns for the Coastal Cutthroat Trout include the Mickey Finn, rolled muddler, marabou clouser minnow and Royal Coachman.

Successful Fly Fishing Rigging

Use a 4X tippet equipped with a yarn strike indicator located three to five feet from the nymph for late summer when the Cutthroat Trout are found deeper.

Most river habitats will have larger trout, salmon and charr species. While most Cutthroat Trout do not get very large and will work fine on light tackle, it is not recommended for any but the smallest streams. Salmon and other species are likely to go for the same baits and flies and are much bigger.

For this reason, we recommend medium action gear. Go with a four to seven weight graphite fly rod between eight to nine feet long. If you are going to attempt spinning gear, use a 6 to 6.5 foot medium-action spinning rod.

What is a Tippet?

The tippet is the connection from the fly line or leader and the fly. The tippet essentially adds life to the leader and extends it by several feet. So far, you may still not see the point to the tippet.

For each fly that is tied to the line, a few inches of tippet are used up. Without using a tippet, you will be using up your leader to the point where you might be replacing it daily.

Cutthroat Trout Habitat

Cutthroat Trout are found from Northern California to southern Alaska, including the coast of British Columbia. They are found in both freshwater and saltwater. They can be found in small ponds and bogs, never returning to the sea. They can also be found in the ocean where they migrate inland to spawn in the headwaters of rivers and streams.

Like all chart, salmon and trout, the Cutthroat Trout prefer clear, cool water. In river and streams, they can often be found laying in wait in pools and riffles and even behind large boulders.

In the ocean, Cutthroat Trout feed and shelter in estuaries, tidal lagoons and marshes. They do not head far out into the ocean. They can be often found in eelgrass and kelp beds along California and parts of British Columbia.

Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout

Sea-run Cutthroat Trout come into the river shortly after the first salmon run of the year. Like many migrating salmonades, the Cutthroat Trout Stay in the tidal waters for several days before migrating up river.

Dark overcast days seem to be better for Sea-run Cutthroat Trout. Dark overcast days are believed to be best because the cutthroat is better able to ambush its prey. Swim your fly across stream or back upstream, never downstream.