While silvers are in fast decline throughout Puget Sound, Chum salmon have yet to peak. This good news because salmon fishing with the exception of chum salmon has closed in Marine areas 9 and 10. Throughout November chum salmon will be arriving gangbusters, and some say they are tackle busters.
For we saltwater fly anglers this is a special time of year that many of us look forwards to. This is the chance to get really large fish to come to the fly. Despite their physical demeanor every once in a while a not so gentle encounter tells me what brutal game fish chum salmon really are. But the equipment is simple. All one needs is a 7 to 9 weight fly rod equipped with a floating line and one of the many custom tied chum patterns available at Peninsula Outfitters.
Chum salmon are making their annual showing in several local estuaries including John’s Creek near Shelton, Finch Creek at the Hoodsport Hatchery, and Chico Creek near Silverdale among other local estuaries. Remember though, that it is illegal to fish in river channels that cross these tide flats, only beyond the mouth at any given time in a tidal cycle. This is not an issue as most of these flats are very shallow and are easy to wade.
Fishing for these leviathans is also easy. Spot a school of moving fish and lead them by ten or fifteen feet. Then let the fly slowly descend through the water column with just enough stripping to keep the fly off the bottom and well within the visual axis of the fish. Chum do not look down, but forward and up.
Chums are the Mac trucks of the Puget Sound salmon world. They are relatively easy to hail, but impossible to slow down. What better fish for the post-Halloween season. Put on proper rain gear, and enjoy one of your potentially best battles of the year!