Chasing Cutthroat with Tenkara

by Jeffry Gottfried
(Portland, Oregon)

One of 12 cutthrout caught in Canyon Creek,  SW Washington

One of 12 cutthrout caught in Canyon Creek, SW Washington

My friend Ari and I fished a number of small creeks in the Lewis River watershed in SW Washington. I had read about larger cutthroat that migrated from reservoirs behind Lewis River dams into small tribs during fall and winter.

We fished for two hours on Souxian Creek and caught only a few small cutthroat on our tenkara rods. We then moved to Canyon Creek, which we had crossed on our way to Souxian Creek. Climbing down into the canyon with the tenkara rod was like climbing down with no rod at all. Once down, we started catching fish after fish 8-10". We worked our way upstream wading and climbing over rocks until we reached a deep pool below a large waterfall, impassible to fish.

I cast a caddis fly pattern into the white water below the falls and lifted the rod and pointed it toward the center of the creek to skitter the fly across the surface and out came this beautiful 14" cutthroat, almost twice as big as the next largest fish caught that day. What a great surprise! What a great fight on a 5:5 Ayu rod.

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