Its that time of year, Spring, March to May. Chum salmon fry have emerged from their gravelly redds and have commenced their migration to their ocean feeding grounds. All along the shores of Puget Sound schools of millions if these fry are moving and along with them a plethora of predators including sea run cutthroat trout (SRC).
For their part, SRC have not been long out of their natal spawning streams. It takes a great deal of effort to spawn and they are ravenously hungry. One may think it may be more than coincidental that emaciated SRC arrive coincidental with a favorite food, baby chum salmon. But this, in fact, may be part of a complex ecological design process of coincidental evolution.
Chum salmon fry migrate in very shallow waters along beaches, often just a few inches deep, a defense mechanism against predators. Likewise, SRC are will often station themselves in shallow waters just outside of the chum schools to more efficiently make feeding forays on these, a favorite and abundant food.
Very often I have seen anglers in water up to their waists casting out to even deeper water on hopes of hooking a fish. That is when they have waded through the very water most likely to produce a fish. Is there a lesson here? This time of year it may just be best not to get in the water at all, or stay very shallow at best, and work the shorelines.
The moral? Don’t step on the fish.