A return of 800,000-plus chum to Puget Sound and Hood Canal will let the good times roll for anglers well into the holiday months.
Chum, better known as dog salmon for their gnarly looking jawline at spawning time, are one of the hardest fighting fish and can feel like a king salmon when hooked on the end of a line.
Those targeting chums will be glad to know that some of the traditional hot spots are giving up some early chums, and it will only get better in the next few weeks as that is the peak time to be out there wetting aline for them in Hood Canal and for chum returning south of Kingston.
Some early chum have already shown up in catches around estuaries off Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, Johns Creek in Oakland Bay and the Hoodsport Hatchery in Hood Canal.
Here is a rundown from the creel checks that showed chum in catches:
- Chico Creek estuary in Dyes Inlet — Oct. 14: Three anglers caught no fish; Oct. 15: Two caught no fish; Oct. 17: One caught no fish; Oct. 18: 20 caught two chum; Oct. 19: 18 caught one chum; Oct. 20: 10 caught four chum.
- Curly Creek estuary near South-worth — Oct. 14: Six anglers caught two chum; Oct. 16: Two caught one chum; Oct. 20: Four caught one coho and two chum.
- Hoodsport shoreline, Hood Canal — Oct. 18: Six anglers caught one chum; Oct. 19: 21 caught 12 chum; Oct. 20: 14 caught three chum.
- Hartstene Island shoreline — Oct. 20: One angler caught three chum.
- Johns Creek estuary in Oakland Bay —Oct. 18: 14 anglers caught one chum.
- Tahuya ramp, Hood Canal — Oct. 17: One boats with three anglers caught 12 chum.
- Kennedy Creek estuary in Totten Inlet — Oct. 18: Three anglers caught no fish; Oct. 19: 17 caught seven chum; Oct. 20: Four caught no fish.
Hoodsport fish check:
- November 1 (26 anglers) (26 chum)
- November 2 (57 anglers) (110 chum)
- November 8 (29 anglers) (68 chum)
- November 9 (87 anglers) (210 chum)
Other good places to try for chum are North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Whatcom Creek in Bellingham, McLane Creek, Eagle Creek south of Potlatch State Park, and the public-access shores off Highway 101 from Eldon to Hoodsport.
The fall chinook counts are on a record setting pace in the Columbia River.
According to Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, the single-day count of 63,870 adult fall chinook at Bonneville Dam on Monday smashed the previous record set just last Saturday of 48,710.
The record before that was 45,884 fish set on Sept. 11, 2003.
“As far as I can tell going back through the annual counts since 1938, the 63,870 adult chinook counted at Bonneville may be a record daily count for all salmon, not just fall chinook,” Hymer said.
Other large single-day counts this season are: 42,445 on Sunday (Sept. 6); 48,710 on Saturday (Sept. 7); 25,956 on Friday (Sept. 6); 20,216 on Thursday (Sept. 5).
The 475,000 adult fall chinook counted at Bonneville Dam to date is the third highest on record for the entire run (from August through December).
Only 610,000 in 2003 and 584,000 in 2004 are larger.
Best salmon fishing on Columbia River since 1988!
Passage of Fall Chinook at Bonneville Dam through September 4 totals 273,820 adults. Chinook passage for both bright and tule stocks have exceeded preseason passage expectations to date. Based on the 10-year average, passage is 50% complete by September 9.
Passage of upriver summer steelhead since July 1 totals 182,898 fish. Counts have been less than expected. On August 26, the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) downgraded the Group A run size to 199,000 fish (68% of preseason). It is too early to update the Group B preseason forecast of 31,600 fish, but TAC noted counts of Group B fish are also tracking less than expected.
Catch estimates for the Buoy 10 recreational fishery include 15,500 Chinook kept (4,100 released) from 37,200 angler trips during Aug 1-22.
Estimated catch during the August 23-September 1 mark-selective fishery, is 6,800 Chinook kept (8,600 released) from 20,900 angler trips.
Total effort and catch thru Sept. 1 was 22,300 Chinook kept (12,700 released) from 58,100 angler trips.
Chinook catch was the highest on record since 1988 (30,700 fish).
Estimated coho harvest through September 1 totals 6,800 fish (including release mortalities) compared to the 13,100 fish available.
Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam:
Catch estimates for the lower Columbia River (LCR) recreational fishery include 12,600 Chinook kept (1,100 released) from 69,000 angler trips during Aug 1-31.
The fishery experienced record high catch in August (previous record 6,800 last year).
OCEAN RECREATIONAL SALMON FISHERY RESULTS
Coastwide Chinook mark-selective fishery
The Chinook mark-selective recreational fishery is now closed. The fishery operated under a coastwide quota of 8,000 marked Chinook. A total of 8,358 anglers participated in the fishery, and 2,798 Chinook were landed (35% of the quota).
All-Salmon Species Fisheries
The Columbia Ocean Area opened for all salmon species on June 22; the Westport Area opened for all salmon species on June 23. The La Push and Neah Bay Areas opened for all salmon species on June 29. Catch details for each of the areas are described below.
A total of 1,854 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery during the week ending July 28, landing 467 Chinook and 1,927 coho. No pink were landed. Through Sunday, July 28, a cumulative total of 3,059 Chinook (31% of the area guideline) and 8,432 coho (23% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.
A total of 2,406 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery during the week ending July 28, landing 1,541 Chinook, 910 coho, and 308 pink. Through Sunday, July 28, a cumulative total of 3,910 Chinook (17% of the area guideline) and 3,475 coho (13% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.
A total of 194 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery during the week ending July 28, landing 263 Chinook, 87 coho, and 49 pink. Through Sunday, July 28, a cumulative total of 758 Chinook (46% of the area guideline) and 495 coho (26% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.
A total of 1,572 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery during the week ending July 28, landing 565 Chinook, 556 coho, and 966 pink. Through Sunday, July 28, a cumulative total of 3,605 Chinook (74% of the area guideline) and 3,316 coho (43% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.
Skokomish River opens for salmon fishing Aug. 3rd under new rules, increased enforcement.
OLYMPIA – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers will be increasing resource-protection patrols on the Skokomish River, where recreational salmon fishing opens Aug. 1 under several new regulations.
“Anglers should read the regulation pamphlet carefully before heading out to fish the Skokomish River, because there are several changes this year and our officers will be strictly enforcing all the rules,” said Mike Cenci, WDFW’s deputy chief of enforcement.
The daily bag limit has been increased this year from one to two salmon for anglers fishing from the mouth of the river to the Highway 101 Bridge through Sept. 30. However, a new rule in effect this year requires anglers to carefully release any wild chinook salmon they catch. As in previous years, anglers must release chum salmon through Oct. 15.
The recreational fishery was converted to a mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook salmon – which are marked with a missing adipose fin – to help meet conservation goals for wild chinook salmon returning to the Skokomish River, said Thom Johnson, district fish biologist for WDFW.
Another change this year is that recreational fishing will be closed from the Highway 106 Bridge upstream to the Highway 101 Bridge on six Mondays to avoid potential gear conflicts with treaty tribal fishers, said Johnson. Those closures are scheduled for Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and Sept. 13. Recreational fishing downstream of the Highway 106 Bridge will remain open seven days a week through the fishing season.
Anglers fishing the Skokomish River also will be required to release any salmon not hooked inside the mouth and retain the first two legal salmon they catch. In addition, single-point barbless hooks are required and a night closure and anti-snagging rule will be in effect.
Anglers are expected to not only follow the fishing regulations, but also to properly dispose of trash and human waste, said Johnson.
Last year, WDFW warned Skokomish River anglers that the fishing season could be closed after an accumulation of trash and human waste created potential health and water quality problems. A cooperative clean-up effort by WDFW employees, anglers and Hunter Farms – a private landowner – helped to avert a closure by increasing the number of portable toilets and trash receptacles in the area and removing human waste and trash from the banks of the river.
Before the fishery opens this year, WDFW will increase the number of dumpsters and portable toilets along the river, and post signs asking anglers for their assistance in keeping the area clean.
“Our goal is to conduct an orderly and sustainable fishery on the Skokomish River,” said Johnson. “That can only happen if anglers follow the rules and do their part to keep the river clean and safe.”
Fishing regulations on the Skokomish River can be found in the 2010/2011 sportfishing rules pamphlet on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
Recreational salmon fishing on the Puyallup River from the City of Puyallup outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road upstream to the mouth of the White River is open on the following dates:
Aug. 1 through 10, and Aug. 12 through Aug. 31
Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28
Recreational salmon fishing on the Puyallup River from the 11th Street Bridge upstream to the City of Puyallup outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road, will be open on the following dates:
Aug. 16 through Aug. 31
Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, and 28
In all areas, anglers will have a daily limit of six salmon (minimum size 12 inches). Anglers may keep up to four adult salmon, of which only two may be any combination of chinook, coho and chum. All wild adult chinook salmon must be released.
Don Armeni ramp, West Seattle — July 19: 19 boats with 39 anglers caught three chinook and seven coho; July 20: 57 boats with 120 anglers caught nine chinook, 11 coho and 103 flounder; July 21: 50 boats with 120 anglers caught four chinook, 15 coho and two pinks.
Eddie Vine ramp, Shilshole Bay — July 16: 75 boats with 153 anglers caught 66 chinook, 22 coho, one pink and 25 flounder; July 17: 19 boats with 39 anglers caught 11 chinook; July 19: 93 boats with 180 anglers caught 24 chinook, 20 coho and 29 flounder; July 20: 115 boats with 244 anglers caught 30 chinook, 28 coho, four pinks and 80 flounder; July 21: 107 boats with 215 anglers caught 24 chinook, 29 coho, five pinks, one sockeye and 68 flounder.
Everett ramp — July 16: 94 boats with 212 anglers caught 96 chinook, 11 coho, three pinks and nine flounder; July 17: 25 boats with 61 angles caught 19 chinook and one coho; July 19: 98 boats with 217 anglers caught 54 chinook, 10 coho and 53 flounder; July 20: 211 boats with 498 anglers caught 60 chinook, 25 coho, three pinks and 126 flounder; July 21: 175 boats with 390 anglers caught 39 chinook, 10 coho, 10 pinks and 155 flounder.
Manchester ramp — July 17: Nine boats with 19 anglers caught one chinook and two coho; July 19: 20 boats with 36 anglers caught two coho and 16 herring.
Kingston ramp — July 16: 33 boats with 75 anglers caught 12 chinook, three coho and 17 flounder; July 21: 59 boats with 134 anglers caught eight chinook, 15 coho, one pink and four flounder.
Port Orchard ramp — July 15: Five boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 16: Three boats with three anglers caught no fish; July 18: Four boats with eight anglers caught one coho; July 21: Two boats with three anglers caught no fish.
Glenn Street ramp, Bellingham — July 20: 25 boats with 60 anglers caught nine chinook, one coho and 37 pinks.
Blaine ramp — July 19: Three boats with six anglers caught no fish; July 20: Two boats with seven anglers caught one kelp greenling and three lingcod; July 21: Three boats with six anglers caught eight pinks and two lingcod.
Swinomish Channel ramp — July 20: Eight boats with 21 anglers caught two chinook and five pinks; July 21: Six boats with 14 anglers caught two chinook and one pink.
Cornet Bay ramp, North Whidbey Island — July 15: Six boats with 14 anglers caught 12 pinks; July 19: Three boats with five anglers caught two pinks; July 20: 11 boats with 28 anglers caught one chinook and 18 pinks; July 21: Four boats with nine anglers caught no fish.
Washington Park ramp, Anacortes — July 15: 24 boats with 43 anglers caught 13 chinook and four pinks; July 19: Eight boats with 22 anglers caught six pinks; July 20: 20 boats with 59 anglers caught 11 chinook, one coho and 38 pinks; July 21: 13 boats with 38 anglers caught 21 pinks.
Olson’s Resort, Sekiu — July 16: 45 boats with 110 anglers caught 37 chinook, 53 coho, 19 pinks and three rockfish; July 17: 22 boats with 50 anglers caught 19 chinook, 14 coho, four pinks, 11 rockfish and one kelp greenling; July 18: 37 boats with 85 anglers caught 70 chinook, 18 coho, seven pinks and one rockfish; July 19: Five boats with 14 anglers caught 13 chinook, three coho, two pinks and two rockfish; July 20: 86 boats with 206 anglers caught 130 chinook, 10 coho and 61 pinks; July 21: 62 boats with 168 anglers caught 44 chinook, 10 coho, 13 pinks and one rockfish.
Van Riper’s Resort, Sekiu — July 16: 20 boats with 39 anglers caught 10 chinook, nine coho, four pinks, one rockfish, two lingcod and two kelp greenling; July 18: 37 boats with 85 anglers caught 70 chinook, 18 coho, seven pinks and one rockfish; July 19: 50 boats with 123 anglers caught 46 chinook, 13 coho, 33 pinks and one rockfish; July 20: 51 boats with 141 anglers caught 70 chinook, five coho, 16 pinks and three rockfish.
Curley’s Straitside Resort, Sekiu — July 18: 13 boats with 39 anglers caught 11 chinook, seven coho and three pinks; July 20: 13 boats with 33 anglers caught five chinook, four coho and 15 pinks.
Freshwater Bay ramp — July 19: 18 boats with 31 anglers caught 27 chinook, four coho and 10 pinks; July 21: 22 boats with 41 anglers caught 28 chinook, six coho and 15 pinks.
Ediz Hook ramp, Port Angeles — July 17: 36 boats with 71 anglers 34 chinook and nine pinks; July 18: 41 boats with 81 anglers caught 37 chinook, one coho and 13 pinks; July 19: Four boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 20: 44 boats with 91 anglers caught 26 chinook, two coho and two pinks; July 21: 59 boats with 139 anglers caught 51 chinook, one coho and 10 pinks.
Fort Worden State Park ramp north of Port Townsend — July 21: 31 boats with 68 anglers caught 42 chinook.
Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina — July 16: 79 boats with 169 anglers caught 194 chinook and one pink; July 17: 67 boats with 149 anglers caught 70 chinook and one coho; July 19: 63 boats with 130 anglers caught 55 chinook, three coho and one pink; July 20: 67 boats with 154 anglers caught 37 chinook, two coho and three pinks; July 21: 43 boats with 98 anglers caught 24 chinook and one pink.
Hoodsport shoreline, Hood Canal — July 15: 10 anglers caught one pink; July 20: 20 anglers caught four pinks; July 21: Nine anglers caught one chinook and five pinks.
Salsbury County Park ramp, Hood Canal — July 18: Two boats with three anglers caught one chinook.
Skokomish ramp, Hood Canal — July 20: Eight boats with 22 anglers caught two chinook; July 21: Nine boats with 17 anglers caught four chinook.
Redondo Beach ramp — July 16: 13 boats with 23 anglers caught three chinook, one pink and 16 flounder; July 19: 44 boats with 94 anglers caught one chinook, two coho and 165 flounder.
Narrows Marina and ramp — July 15: Five boats with 10 anglers caught no fish; July 18: Five boats with eight anglers caught one chinook; July 21: 11 boats with 25 anglers caught one chinook and six flounder.
Gig Harbor ramp — July 21: Five boats with seven anglers caught no fish.
Dash Point Park Pier — July 16: Two anglers caught one pink.
Point Defiance Park ramp and Boathouse, Tacoma — July 15: 48 boats with 73 anglers caught seven chinook, one coho and 41 flounder; July 16: 36 boats with 72 anglers caught one chinook and 22 flounder; July 17: 22 boats with 36 anglers caught three chinook and 24 flounder; July 19: 53 boats with 114 anglers caught nine chinook, two pinks and 17 flounder; July 21: 103 boats with 223 anglers caught 12 chinook, one coho, one pink and 162 flounder.
Solo Point ramp south of Tacoma — July 19: Three boats with six anglers caught no fish.
Luhr Beach ramp — July 16: One boat with two anglers caught no fish; July 21: Five boats with eight anglers caught no fish.
Zittel’s Marina — July 15: Five boats with 12 anglers caught no fish; July 19: Four boats with nine anglers caught no fish.
Wollochett Bay ramp — July 20: Two boats with three anglers caught one coho.
Boston Harbor Marina — July 21: Five boats with 11 anglers caught no fish.
Columbia River below Bonneville Dam — July 15-21: 1,445 bank anglers caught four sockeye and 150 steelhead, and released seven chinook, and 285 sockeye; 237 boats with 536 anglers caught 113 steelhead, and released one chinook and 178 steelhead; five boats with 10 anglers released 13 sturgeon; one bank angler caught no shad; 12 boats with 20 anglers caught eight walleye.
Columbia River in The Dalles Pool — July 15-21: Three bank anglers released 20 sturgeon; five boats with nine anglers released 53 sturgeon; 14 bank anglers released one wild steelhead; two boats with four anglers caught two walleye and released four; two boats with four anglers released 50 bass.
Cowlitz River— July 15-21: 20 bank anglers caught 19 mini jack chinook and one cutthroat trout; 74 boat anglers caught 43 steelhead and released one cutthroat trout.
Lewis River mainstem — July 15-21: Nine boat anglers released one steelhead.
Lewis River North Fork — July 15-21: 11 bank anglers caught no fish.
Drano Lake — July 15-21: Two bank anglers caught no fish; 15 boat anglers caught one steelhead and released eight.
Mid-Channel Bank off Port Townsend had been getting all the rave reviews from salmon anglers pursuing kings since it opened on Tuesday, July 16.
When word got out, I had to urge to take any ways necessary to get in on the action so I made plans to head up to this large sandy plateau located in Admiralty Inlet on Thursday.
As luck would have it, two days before saw torrential downpours, a lightning and thunderstorm that had put off the bite remarkably on Wednesday.
Well everyday is different so we still decided to play the cards and headed out under the cloudy dark skies from the Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina to the eastern ledge of Midchannel Bank.
The morning low tide when we arrived on the bank at 5 a.m. had the currents pushing the boat from Craven Rock on the northeast side of Marrowstone Island in a northerly direction toward Point Wilson located just north of the town of Port Townsend.
It was one of those perfect drifts and the boats were all trolling along the 90 to 110 foot line with about a dozen boats jigging in the “Judges Hole,” named after King County Superior Court Judge Jim Bates who passed away some time ago but was one of the best mooching anglers on the bank.
Our plan was to troll with downriggers using Coyote Spoons and flashers bouncing the big 10 to 12 pound lead balls right off the sandy bottom.
Our first two drifts came up empty-handed, but on our third drift we finally hooked into one king that pulled out line and then unbuttoned before we even got a chance to see it.
We quickly moved back into position and no sooner we had another hit and this one also took off for the horizon, but we got it near the net once before it too unbuttoned.
0-for-2 on kings is not a good way the start the morning.
Finally at around 8:30 a.m. we started to see a semi-good bite happening with anglers hooked up on fish around us.
The pole on the star board popped off the downrigger clip as my friend hooked into a nice 13 pound hatchery that we landed.
The rest of the morning it was just a fish caught here and there, and I also boated another 13 pound hatchery king and we had another hook up before the fish simply went off the bite.
We got some Intel the fish and schools of baitfish on the now changing flood tide had moved onto the western side of the sandy flats so we decided to try our luck there.
The area we trolled wasn’t what we’d consider a traditional king holding area as we trolled along an area that was anywhere from as shallow as 45 feet to a depth of 75 feet. But, the screen was lit up with schools and baitfish and we marked what were some definite kings. Birds were also working the baitfish and it just seemed really fishy.
As we doubted ourselves one of the poles slammed down and off the clip, and made a run for the horizon. In a short period of about one hour we had a few more opportunities and saw some fish caught before the bite went off once again.
Those mooching herring and jigging also found a good king bite Thursday and Friday right off the Point Wilson lighthouse right on the end off the outgoing tide in 30 to 60 feet of water.
“For several days in a row the locals have been getting a lot fish right off the Point Wilson lighthouse, and that was a very popular place and elbow-to-elbow with anglers back in the 1970s and 1980s,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association in Seattle.
As we ended our day and going three-for-eight on kings we knew this was just the start of another great summer to the hatchery king fishery that will continue through Aug. 30 in northern and central Puget Sound.
Other areas where a king bite had finally started to pick up were Point No Point, Jefferson Head, Bush Point, the west side of Marrowstone Island, Possession Bar, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Yeomalt Point, Pilot Point, Richmond Beach, Edmonds area and Jefferson Head.
Surprisingly one place that hasn’t produced and usually does is Kingston, but that could change quickly as these fish migrate into Puget Sound. Also look for action to pick up to the south at Allen Bank off Blake Island, Dolphin Point on Vashon Island, Lincoln Park off West Seattle, Brace Point, Southworth and down along both side of Vashon Island heading into August.
With reports of limits from various sources the Selective Chinook fishery is under way!. Reports from Mid-Channel Bank to Posession Bar have all been awesome. The only thing tempering the enthusiasm for the opener is the fact that this was coming on the largest hatchery Chinook forecast in over a decade!. So gear up and be ready for a crazy weekend on the water!. Here are a few pictures from today’s catches. Courtesy of Tom Nelson and Captain Nick Kester from All Star Charters.
Tom and Kathy Nelson with Mathew Nelson taking the picture, with a nice 26 pound hatchery fish in the middle!