Friday, October 23, 2009


Last week I approached my favorite Cutthroat stream with trepidation. All was still. Signs of life normally heralding a sea run cutthroat stream in the prime of the year were absent. The creek was dismally low for mid october, and various tokens of the hard summer stared up at me from the drying banks. There was still water but in some places there wasn't enough to create a current let alone a riffle.
I approached the first hole with an october caddis that needed to be used before november on a willing cutthroat. The sight that unfolded before me was almost sickening. There they were, in the hundreds all packed on top of each other like a coven of vampires. They snapped and thrashed at each other each, humped backs baked and tattered in the sun as long teeth glimmered. One would violate another's personal space only to be clutched in ratty jaws with grey and black receding gum lines.

Although this could be easily confused as George Romero's latest attempt at an Zombie flick, it wasn't...This was my favorite creek during the aftermath of Washington's fabled 2009 Humpy run.

It all seemed like a fisherman's deal with the devil gone awry in a predictably classic way. a month ago the humpys were bright and shiny and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Those omnipresent pink spoons were bought by the thousands. Any scrap of fly tying material even close to the color pink was devoured by fly fisherman hungry for the little slimers known as Humpys. But its all fun and games until they change with a puberty that would make any teenager's seem like a pleasant memory. The males sprout that famous humped back, and their snouts grow long, with gum lines that peel back to reveal fangs made for fighting... And the love affair soon ends with fisherman. Many regard them as a nuisance that keeps them from catching more desirable species.
I even grumbled at my favorite cutthroat creek becoming humped. The cutthroat were there most likely gorging on salmon eggs. They would ignore bugs, and if I swung a egg pattern I would undoubtedly snag a salmon, and the salmon were having a rough enough time as it is.
The bright side to all this is that there is a ton of bio mass in the river to feed the next generation of cutthroats, steelhead, and salmon. next year should be amazing. But how did this one species thrive when other coastal salmonids are failing? The Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife says it is because they DON'T manage them... WTF??(!)??

Since my last visit to the creek we received a hard rain or three and the creek should be clearer now. Carcasses of humpys that died after spawning or in vain should wash away into the log jams. In few months time this wealth of fish stink, slimy bodies and life will be a fading memory.


  1. Great read and a great blog you have!
    The header photo is SICK!!

  2. Great pictures! Great blog! You got a new follower