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Maybe it’s because they’re right in our backyard, or because they’re too small, or simply that they’re overshadowed by the glamour of salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, but there is a thriving population of sea run cutthroat trout along nearly every beach in Puget Sound. And the fishing is fantastic, perhaps the finest urban trout fishery in the country. In the rush to chase fat, tasty king salmon here in the Sound, and on the coast, and down in the Columbia, or swing flies for steelhead in big, rushing rivers, it’s easy to forget about the humble cutthroat.

I’ve often thought, if only they were twice as big, the typical 14-to-15-inch sea run cutt would match the average 28-to-30-inch steelhead. The rare 20-incher would turn into the trophy 40-inch steelhead–both are found with about the same frequency, or lack thereof. If only. Of course, then Puget Sound cutts would be world famous, coveted by fly anglers everywhere.The inevitable hoards would descend.

Last night, after a hectic few weeks of work and travel and an especially long day at the desk, the beauty of our little cutthroat fishery became clearer than ever. Smarty and I jumped in the boat, ran about five minutes, and started chucking flies. It was calm, quiet, gorgeous on the water. And there wasn’t a single other person fishing in any direction. We fished a couple hours, found a few fish–that’s a beauty Smarty landed above–and made it back to the house with plenty of time for the traditional Tuesday dinner. Turns out our cutthroat are exactly the right size.


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