Top Gear for Sea-run Cutthroat fishing

Most adult sea-run cutthroats are under 20-inches in length and another over 12 inches is considered a good-sized fish.  But they can fight hard, and heavy tidal currents add to the fight. You may also be battling winds while trying to cast so the recommended gear is a 6-weight fly rod with heavy (2x or 3x) tippets on 9-foot leaders.

We found a long, fast-action rod works best. One ideal rod for SRC work is the 6-weight Orvis Helios 2 in a 9-foot, 6-inch length. This rod offers the power and reach to easily cast line 40 or 50 feet – more than enough distance for most SRC fishing – even in a stiff wind. The tip-flex design, meanwhile, allows you to place flies gently and accurately in the water. That sensitive tip also helps you feel when the fish strike when fishing sub-surface flies.

We matched the Helios 2 with an Orvis Mirage reel. The large arbor spool on the Mirage helps you pick up and manage line quickly and efficiently, while sealed drag components and the anodized aluminum body resist corrosion during usage in saltwater environments.

Good waders and wading boots are also vital – even in summer, the Puget Sound water is too cold to stand in unprotected for hours at a time. Your regular river waders will work fine, but for boots, your best bet is avoiding felt soles. The latest generation of rubber wading soles provide the traction needed in beach sand and mud, the grip needed on baseball-sized rocks, and the durability needed for long walks to and from your fishing spots. The new G4 Boa Boot from Simms utilizes a Vibram sole designed specifically for wading on slippery rocks and incorporates a Boa lacing system with a corrosion-resistant stainless steel lace-cable to make getting the boots on and off easy.

The Orvis H2 rod and Mirage Reel can be found at and the Simms G4 Boas at


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