Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Maybe It's Time To Re-Think 6X Tippets

I guess the old cliche "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" should be on my headstone someday.
During this trout season I have had more than a few fish that have broken me off with a powerful head shake but being an untrainable old dog I "doggedly" insist on using a 6X tippet which is about three pound test.
Today I hooked another surprise summer steelhead and of course he broke me off. Not surprising, I suppose, but when larger than average cutthroat trout are doing the same thing then maybe a heavier tippet might be in think?
When fishing this time of year it's not all that uncommon to hook an occasional steelhead and it makes for a great day although they are seldom landed. I have also hooked some larger than usual trout during October and have left my fly in their lip.
The coastal trout season ends on Friday and I might get out one more time before I pack up my trout gear for the winter. I especially hate to see it end this year because next year there will be a harvest allowed on these wild trout. Maybe by prolonging the season, if only in my mind, these fish will remain protected but alas it's not to be.
I find myself wondering how I will react when I see dead eight inch cutthroat trout on someones stringer. I know it will be hard not to say something but I will try to bite my tongue and move on.
It makes me sad and filled with self doubt about what more I could have done to protect these wild fish. I know I could have done more and wish I would have.
I'll have a long and cold winter to ponder that and prepare myself for this kill fishery next year so maybe I'll just stick to the upper reaches of the coastal rivers and thus sequester myself from the harvest crowd and any potential confrontations.
Pessimistically speaking though, I know the best days of coastal cutthroat trout fishing with a fly are behind me now and I wish I could say that their future does not look bleak but reality being what it is I would be just kidding myself.
So I would encourage each of you to not let wild trout vanish and the only thing left is memories...please be involved


  1. I try never to go below 4x unless the fish are realy spook. That stil might not do it for summer steelhead. know at least one local fly guide who fished 10# floro on his dropper nymph when he thinks there is a good chance of hooking a summer steelhead while trout fishing.

    Sorry about the cutthroat. Is there a minimum size or slot limit that could reduce the damage?

  2. Shane,

    Keep the faith! You certainly have done an admirable job trying to educate us about their plight. Maybe with a new administration there will be a little more scientific thinking top to bottom and a reevaluation of the coastal cutthroat in the not too distant future. It's easy to sequester yourself, but I don't think you'll be able to help but get involved when the next round comes up.

    -scott c