South Sound Canoe Club

Nathan Crawford

You don’t pass up a fishing invite from serial adventurers Roving Dears, especially when they share a secret spot for sea-run cutthroat in Washington’s South Puget Sound. We promptly raided our gear library, packed the Syncro for a weekend, and headed north after work.

After four hours of driving, the friendly Dears greeted us with cold beers and a warm campfire. The next morning was stereotypical Pacific Northwest— grey, soggy and brisk. We quickly rigged over coffee and instant oatmeal, eager to get on the water.

Portage is punishing

The trail was longer than anticipated, nearly a mile, and full of steep, mud-slicked switchbacks. From afar, the coastline looked promising and worthy of hauling three seventeen-foot canoes. But seeing fish jump right offshore validated the grueling trek. Wasting no time to launch and throw lines, we hooked a couple of beauties in the first ten minutes.

Angling for coastal cutthroat

Feisty football-sized fish, sea-run cutthroat fight like steelhead with an inferiority complex. They spooked easily but grew less timid with each passing rain shower, bringing them closer to the surface. With proper presentation, they smash flies faster than a fat kid at a cake buffet—unless a coho gets it first.

Send the chopper

We were lucky to have photographer bud Boone Rodriguez come along with his arsenal of camera equipment, including a DJI Mavic Pro drone. He capitalized on weather breaks, firing a gatling of shutters. Crystalline water with pearly white oyster shell beds made for some downright tropicalia aerial shots.

Keep those lines tight

Huge thanks to the Roving Dears for their hospitality, and mega props to Boone for capturing the magic. Learn more about this ill-tempered battler and where to find them by checking out the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition.