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Coastal Cutthroat Trout, or “Sea Runs” as they are affectionately known to South Sound Fly Fishers, do not have the commercial value of Salmon and Steelhead, but they are one of the great sport fish on the Pacific Coast. Unfortunately, over fishing, loss of habitat and water pollution has reduced the size and numbers of the Sea Runs. The fishing and fly clubs together with their state and national organizations started pressuring the State of Washington to change the regulations to protect these fish.
Bruce Ferguson, a member of both the South Sound Fly Fishers and the Puget Sound Fly Fishers, became one of the founders of the Sea Run Coalition. This organization was the forerunner of today’s Coastal Cutthroat Coalition. These fly fishing clubs joined with their sister organizations to save the Sea Run Cutthroat. Ferguson and several of his fellow club members became a fixture before the legislative committees and the Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Eventually the State of Washington began to change the regulations. The first phase was to increase size requirements of legally caught fish in the saltwater. “Keepers” were increased from eight to fourteen inches. This was an important step because it meant that most fish would likely spawn at least once before they could be legally killed. Another step was to decrease the bag limit from eight down to two fish. Finally in 1998 the state changed regulations so that no Cutthroat could be legally kept if caught in the saltwater. Since “Catch and Release” was implemented these fish have made a remarkable comeback. The fly fishing clubs and Trout Unlimited (TU) chapters can be proud of this turnaround. All of this was the result of their support and pressure being applied at the right time and right place to make the needed changes in regulation and behavior of the fishers.
Most of the work on behalf of Coastal Cutthroat is now being done by the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition. The CCC needs to continue with this important work and the fly fishing clubs and fishing organizations need to be vigilant in protecting these fish in Puget Sound and Hood Canal.
If you wish to donate funds to help protect and preserve these fish, please send your check made out to “SSFF” with the notation that it be applied to the Coastal Cutthroat Fund. Please mail your check to:
South Sound Fly Fishers, PO Box 2792, Olympia WA 98507.
A check will avoid credit card and PayPal Fees. Alternatively, you can use the button at the top of the page to donate via PayPal or credit card.
Mel Hurd, past President and a longtime member of SSFF, is the author of this incredible booklet. Mel originally wrote the booklet in 1993 and revised it in 2006. The 20 page booklet is one of the most informative references for the South Sound area with locations, tactics, etc. This booklet comes highly recommended by many members of our club, who have had success by following Mel’s tips. If you would like to make a donation and receive Mel Hurd’s guide to finding and fishing for sea run cutthroat in the South Puget Sound click here.
South Sound Fly Fishers is a Non-profit corporation registered with the State of Washington. South Sound Fly Fishers is a tax exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code 501 (c) (3). Donations to SSFF are tax deductible to the full extent of IRS guidelines. Thank you for your donation!