Lake Sammamish Cutthroat: 2/8/2011

I’ve been reading so many positive reports on the popular Sammamish Cutthroat fishery and decided that it would be a good occassion to fire up the Arima and run out the motors as they’ve been sitting idle for a few months during the winter doldrums. What better than to hit a local lake in my backyard for sea run cutthroat trout? Since I bought a ‘new’ to me boat with some electric downriggers, I wanted to make sure that I was ready to go coming salmon season and to make sure that all my gear works properly come July 1st. Yes, its still 4.5 months away, but one can always be prepared to ensure for trouble free operation versus seeing those guys trying to turn over a gunked up motor while boats trying to launch are getting upset.

Many of the reports I’ve been seeing was from WashingtonLakes.com and the winter cutthroat fishery is appearing to get more popular as the word is out for these beautiful trout.

Dad and I left home at 9 am and the short drive to the boat launch was an easy one. To our surprise there were several other boats that just launched and were aiming to get into some of the cuttie action as well. I didn’t expect too much since this was our first time and I didn’t even have all the right gear that guys were using: Slingblade dodger, and wedding ring. I only have a couple of heavy downrigger rods meant for salmon, and with little time to prepare, I opted to just go for using what was available to me in the ole’ tackle box.

I slapped on a pair of zero dodgers, which I’d picked up a few years back for the L. Washington Sockeye fishery and threw on a rapala lure on one and a black cone head zonker on the other rod. Down both rods went one to 10 feet, the other to 15 feet.  I know that next time I go, I’ll be prepared with a lighter action rod, lighter trout release clips, and the sling blade dodger and white hootchie.

The first fish I barely knew it was on as the rod was pulsing a little differently but upon inspection the rod shook and voila cutthroat ‘on’! The second fish which dad had on, was lost closer to the boat, a nice fish, but just came un-buttoned. The Rapala didn’t see any action, so I strung up the fly rod with full sink type 6 line and a white rabbit fur leech with orange hot head bead, and down she went with about 80′ of line out.

After a few more passes, the fly rod started dancing and the reel was singing and a nice chrome beauty was on! Who said you can’t fish with a fly rod? Its not exactly what I’d call pure fly fishing, but a nice surprise for the last fish of the day. We decided to pack up around 2:30 and head back as I had some things to finish up for work that afternoon.

I ended up buying a Washington State boat launch pass, $70 which allows for launching at all the state parks. At $7 a pop, the pass should more than pay for itself if I decide to fish this lake a few more times, and I will, with the smallmouth season, perch, and the Kings that come in the summer.  I never really put much thought into our local fisheries, but with the price of gas these days and being able to get away for a few hours, this little fishery will be a nice one to enjoy all year around.

One interesting note that upon my dissection of the throat samples, I found many size 10-12 fresh water shrimp or euphasids of sorts. These things were just everywhere! There were also a couple amber Chironomids size 16, so might interesting to fish it from a pram and a floating line.  What I like about the boat is the ability to cover alot of water and being in a covered, sheltered warm cabin with room to stretch out and feel comfortable. I really look forward to spending more time on the Arima when the pinks are in, it will be a great platform to fish for them, but in the meantime, I’ll take the L. Sammamish Cutthroat.

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