Catching Cutthroat Trout

Piscifun fly fishing reels

Catching Cutthroat Trout


The various forms of cut-throat trout vary greatly in game qualities; even the same species in different waters, in different parts of its habitat, or at different seasons, will vary greatly in this regard. In general, however, it is perhaps a fair statement to say that the cutthroat trout are regarded by anglers as being inferior in gaminess to the eastern brook trout, But while this is true, it must not by any means be inferred that it is without game qualities, for it is really a fish which possesses those qualities in a very high degree. Its vigour and voraciousness are determined largely, of course, by the character of the stream or lake in which it lives. The individuals which dwell in cold streams about cascades and seething rapids will show marvellous strength and will make a fight which is rarely equalled by its eastern cousin; while in warmer and larger streams and lakes they may be very sluggish and show but little fight. Yet this is by no means always true. In the Klamath Lakes where the trout grow very large and where they are often very loggy, one is occasionally hooked which tries to the utmost, the skill of the angler to prevent his tackle from being smashed and at the same time save the fish. An instance is on record of a most enthusiastic and skilful angler who required one hour and three-quarters to bring to net a nine and three-quarter pound fish in Pelican Bay, Upper Klamath Lake.

These trout can be taken in all sorts of ways. Trolling in the lakes with the spoon or phantom minnow is the usual method but they rise readily to the artificial fly, the grasshopper, or a bunch Of salmon eggs. In the larger streams they may be caught in any of these ways, while in the smaller streams casting with the fly or with hook baited with grasshopper or salmon eggs is the most successful way.

To enumerate the streams and lakes in the West where one may find good trout-fishing would be entirely impracticable; they are numerous in all the Western States. One of us has found exceptionally fine trout fishing at the Dempsey Lakes in Montana, in and about the Payette and Redfish lakes in idaho, in Pacific Creek, and in the Klamath Lakes. Near Redfish Lake, in Idaho, is a small lake known as Fish Lake. Its area is about 25 acres. It is nearly circular in form very shallow, and 9000 feet above sea-level. In this little lake a particularly beautiful form of cut-throat is exceedingly abundant.

In August they could be taken on the artificial fly as rapidly as one could cast averaging more than one per minute. They bit vigorously, and were very gamy, often jumping 2 or 3 times out of the water. In this region the best fishing in the small streams is in the spring and up to late July. In the small lakes it continues good through the summer. In the streams somewhat larger, summer fishing is fairly good, but not until October is it at its best. But while some seasons are better than others. the angler will quite certainly always find good cut-throat trout fishing at whatever season he cares to try it.

From American Game and Food Fishes. Jordan and Evermann.