Catch A Cutthroat

This is an awkward time of year for fishing.  Each day, as the amount of daylight lengthens, we grow impatient to be back outside, with fishing rod in hand.  As the warmth of the sun returns, and the snow begins to disappear,  a growing mistrust for the strength of the ice on the once frozen, and now thawing lakes develops, and  ice fishing no longer holds the appeal it did a few short weeks ago.

You can try and distract yourself by organizing your gear, ensuring your line is serviceable, and your tackle box is ready for an outing.   Although time spent organizing gear, will maximize your time on the water, nothing takes the place of actually fishing.

The good news is that people are already fishing in Haines, Alaska. Everyone knows that Haines is the place for salmon fishing.  The Chilcoot and Chilkat rivers are famous for the five species of Pacific salmon that make their appearance each year.  But the best salmon fishing is still months away.  

Also well known to anglers, are the Dolly Varden, who are in the river to provide distraction and good eating while we wait for the salmon runs.

Few people however, mention the prized and sought after Cutthroat Trout.  Cutthroat Trout or ‘cutties’ have a yellowish-green body with no pinkish band along their sides, like their cousins, the Rainbow Trout.  The upper jaw extends well past the eye on adults.  The most striking characteristic of Cutthroat Trout is the distinctive red to orange slash on the underside of the lower jaw.

Although Mosquito lake is still covered in ice, Doug Olerud of the Alaska Sport Shop, in Haines, reports that people are catching cutties and Dolley Varden on the Chilkat river.  

For fly fishermen, Olerud recommends: “the Alevin in a size 6, and the Little McFry in size 10.”  Midnight Clouser and Huevo Frito are also producing.  If you want to chuck lures, Olerud advises that at this time of year,  you need lures in colours that replicate salmon fry like: Kastmaster lures.  “The chrome and blue, or chrome and green are the best sellers,” says Olerud.  Swedish Pimples and Pixies are also a good bet.  You will also want to try your own favourites.

Residents of the Yukon, under a reciprocal agreement, may purchase an annual sport fishing license and a king salmon stamp at Alaska resident rates. In order to do so, Yukon residents will need to provide a copy of their current resident Yukon sport fishing license and a valid Yukon Territory government issued identification card to an Alaskan license vendor. If you have not met the Yukon’s requirements to be considered a resident, then you cannot purchase a Yukon Reciprocal sport fishing license/king salmon stamp. This special license is available from any license vendor selling sport licenses. If you have any questions, please contact ADF&G Licensing at [email protected] .

Get out in the sunshine, and give it a try.  Tight lines.

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