One of my favorite places to fish (that is not saltwater) is Lake Washington for cutthroat trout in the winter. It took me a little while to figure out how to catch these fish, but once I did I can now consistently catch them.
he secret to catching Lake Washington Cutthroat is not tackle. Most trout anglers know that small dodgers and spoons work well. However, my go-to set up for Lake Washington cutthroats is a Mack’s Sling Blade Dodger (usually green) and a Brad’s Mini Cut Plug (usually the MCP-14 or MCP-37). However, you can also run a dodger and small spoon or Wedding Ring. A good spoon that I have had luck with is the Fire Tiger or the Krocodile, but I’m sure any good small spoon would work.
Where to Fish
The secret to catching Lake Washington Cutthroat is not where to fish. Most anglers on the lake know where to fish, or can easily spot where others are fishing. Like many others, I really like fishing the southern end of Mercer Island the most. But if I am not getting bit I may fish the middle of the lake (off of Coulon Park) or the west side (see map below)
Depths and Speeds
It is funny because you will see all sorts of marks on your sonar down deep, but take my word for it, those marks are NOT cutthroat.
Depth: I usually fish between 20 and 40 feet. Every once and a while I might go as deep as 60 feet. But stay shallow most of the time. Also you want to pay attention to the thermocline line on your sonar for hints on where the fish may be.
Speed: I have the best luck right around 2 miles per hour. But also watch your down rigger lines for the proper blow back.
The SECRET to Catching Lake Washington Cutthroat
The secret to catching Lake Washington cutthroat is this — 200 feet. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. But I have found that these fish are shy of the boat. So my rule of thumb when fishing these fishing is: 2-22-200. That’s 2 miles per hour, fish 22 feet deep, and have your gear 200 feet back away from the boat.
If you run the recommended gear (above) and fish the 2-22-200 method, I guarantee you will catch cutthroat…….also, an occasional rainbow :). Good luck!
Hook ’em Deep!