It’s that time of year … runoff is over, for the most part. High-country streams are cold and clear and accessible. The bugs aren’t as bad as they were a month ago. It’s cutthroat time.
These magical weeks of summer and into the fall are the best time of year to catch native cutthroat trout. When you can find them, they’re plentiful. They’re willing. And they’re gorgeous.
I love the signature, lazy cutthroat rise. They slowly meander from the depths, in no hurry. They generally lack the caution that other trout seem to possess. They rarely tend to give a fly more than a mere inspection, as if to determine if the bug looks like something to eat rather than worry if it looks like something lethal. Among other factors, this might be why, here in the West, pure cutthroat trout streams are fewer and farther in between than ever. Not only are they generally easy to catch, they’re also susceptible to non-native invasive trout either out-competing them in their home waters or muddying their genetics on the spawning redds.
But make no mistake about it. Cutthroat trout are the signature trout of the West (and, as you’ll see in the video above, the Northwest). Efforts to protect and restore them are bearing fruit and completely worthwhile.
Life in the Rockies without cutthroat trout just wouldn’t be the same.
— Chris Hunt