Jeremy Maynard chum report

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by Cuba Libre, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    New post on The Ardent Angler
    by Jeremy Maynard
    What a difference a year makes – twelve months ago salmon fishermen of all kinds were marveling at the size of the chum return to the inner south coast of BC but now, not so much. Before anyone gets too gloomy it should be said that there’s still plenty of time for the overall run-size in 2017 to increase substantially, and there’s signs of this occurring, but the first half of what might be termed “chum season” has left most fishermen underwhelmed.

    Although there’s no formal forecast for chum salmon and despite the very large return in 2016 the pre-season signals for this year were for an average run-size at best, largely based on weaker than average survivals of other salmon species like pink and coho’s that went to sea in the same years (2014 & 2015) that would be contributing to this years chum return but have already returned (2015 &2016). This less optimistic outlook for the main fall run of chums this year was offset by the strong showing of the relatively less numerous south coast summer chum stocks, which were easily the most abundant in quite a few years. They show up in the sockeye test fisheries in upper Johnstone Strait and are assessed in a small number of rivers like the Orford and several in the Broughton Archipelago area. Already in the rivers for a month or more returns of these chum stocks have been larger than average, good news for the grizzly bears there.

    For hook and line fishermen a factor compounding the consequences of a relatively low run size has been that for much of the 2017 chum season so far this has been a year when the these fish haven’t wanted to bite. Chums are a bit quirky this way but it has been an observed phenomenon over time and there’s little doubt that this is one of those years when the chums for reasons unknown simply don’t want to bite on gear that has been reliable in the past.
    Not only does this affect angling success but also there are commercial trollers that target chums and usually the mass of flasher and pink hootchy rigs each boat can fish ensures a steady harvest, but not this year. Reading the first commercial catch report I thought there must have been a typo when it stated the catch for 13 boats over 14 days was 456 fish but apparently it was correct, the chums had a bad case of lockjaw!

    Knowing that I didn’t feel so bad about my own lack of success – shared by everyone else I saw on the water – during the couple of times I fished on the Thanksgiving weekend, usually about the peak of the run-timing and a fairly certain bet for productive fishing. All I can say is that there seems to be some evidence that this condition is easing and I had slightly better success on my most recent trip (October 14), boating five chums even though there was little sign of chums moving through during the time I was on the water. In many previous years that would have been considered a mediocre catch but this year a handful of chums in the boat is something to feel good about! In addition we caught a mid-teens chinook, part of a double-header, and released one large wild coho.


    An unusual mid-October double header.

    I’ll say one thing about these particular chums, all of them were in silver bright A+ condition. This gives me hope that the run and the state of maturity of the fish are later than usual, likely driven by the dry fall so far. Homing salmon can be very sensitive to atmospheric pressure and with the sustained dry weather they might have been in no hurry to migrate out of the open ocean. Now that the weather has changed, with the more customary low-pressure system dominating the fall weather forecast for the next while at least, the rivers should rise to provide ideal conditions for holding salmon to migrate into freshwater and get on with spawning season in earnest. I just hope we don’t get too much rain as we did last fall!

    There are signs of this delay elsewhere – I started back on the fall crew at Quinsam hatchery last week only to find that the large egg-takes from pink salmon were still underway, weeks later than usual. By the time I start back to work there the large production egg-takes are normally long since completed and every few years I might get to take part in a small “mop-up” egg-take on my first day or two back. Not this year, the pink salmon have been very slow to mature and even now, in mid-October, there are still plenty of “green” fish well shy of suitable maturity from which to take eggs and milt. The final production pink salmon egg-take for 2017 is scheduled for October 16th, easily the latest on record at this 40+ year old facility. The good news is that after a slow start the run-size estimate in the Quinsam River has now exceeded 100,000 pink salmon (and still counting), plenty to seed all the available river habitat.

    Another surprise has been the number of coho encountered in the first few days of fishing for chinook broodstock, which is accomplished by a 7-8-person crew using a beach seine net in the lower river. Like other anglers and guides I’ve been concerned by the low numbers of coho encountered while fishing near Campbell River in the saltwater this past late summer and early fall period. In contrast there have been reports of highly productive coho fishing in Juan de Fuca Strait around the bottom end of Vancouver Island so perhaps fish are migrating inside mostly via the southern route, I sure hope so.

    Anyway, with the arrival of some rain fall now feels like it’s underway and everything that goes with it in these parts, including the most important part of the lives of salmon, successful spawning and the start of a new generation.

    Jeremy Maynard | October 15, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:
    Barnacle Bill likes this.
  2. SerengetiGuide

    SerengetiGuide Well-Known Member

    This would make sense as on the Woss River same weekend 2 years ago under the bridge there were between 40-50 Chinook and 40-50 other smaller either Sockeye or Coho (was at dusk couldn't tell)...whereas those same fish have not showed up at all yet this year under the bridge. Saw some Coho under the Nimpkish River bridge right beside Woss today though so that's a good sign...first fish I've seen down there so far this year although heard reports of quite a few Coho above the falls.
  3. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Well-Known Member

    Caught my chum on Anchovies this year while targeting Chinook. Had chum gear out on the other side and nothing on the pink and purple squirts. Fishing the Fraser River Mouth
  4. sly_karma

    sly_karma Well-Known Member

    I note that commercial boats target chum at this time of year, yet you very rarely see chum on sale in retailers. Labeling issues perhaps? Sockeye so much more desirable to consumers.
  5. scott craven

    scott craven Well-Known Member

    Chum have very little value or demand at retail.
    I don't believe i've ever seen it for sale.
  6. Reeltime

    Reeltime Well-Known Member

    Ive seen it for sale in the west side Safeway at Oakridge mall ,it had some snazzy labeling i tried to turn the underneath to get a
    look at the skin and it had tiger strips i was like wow never seen that before packaged over sea's ,the package had a little clear window to
    see the flesh not the tiger green skin ..
  7. Crow

    Crow Active Member

    If the can does not identify the species it could very well be Chum.
    We have ours someked and canned, not many complaints from people we share it with.
    Never any leftovers.
  8. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Well-Known Member

    Mainly a roe fishery,

    Smoke salmon, animal feed
  9. chris73

    chris73 Well-Known Member

    Excellent eating, smoked the best! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    ReelDreams likes this.
  10. Rockfish

    Rockfish Well-Known Member

    Have found I prefer fresh to frozen and would rather eat a fresh Chum or Pink than any of the other species that have been frozen for a few months. Chums and Pinks are great smoked, especially the Chums which I think smoke up better than Sockeye which I find to be a little dry with less oil in them. That fat helps hold the smoke.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
  11. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    And mega slimy!
  12. Prawn Star

    Prawn Star Active Member

    Totally agree. Maybe the flesh is too soft to hold up to freeze and thaw. The fat holds the smoke for sure Rockfish.
  13. lazylump

    lazylump Member

    I'm not sure why people think chums have less oil in them than sockeye? The opposite is true chums smoke well because they have a lower oil content. There used to be a seafood shop where I live which was run by a family of old time fisherman, they carried fresh bright chum and labelled it as silverbright.
  14. california

    california Well-Known Member

    The fat content in the pacific salmon species is related to the distance they must travel to spawn. The species with the longest most difficult migrations have the highest fat content as they need the stored energy. Chinook, then Sockeye have the highest fat content, followed by Coho, while pinks and Chum have relatively low fat content as they generally spawn close to the river estuaries and have the shortest migrations in fresh water. A pink or Chum has about 1/3 the fat content in the meat as a Chinook. It makes sense they would smoke up differently. I personally like pinks or chum if they are cooked fresh, right after being caught in the salt. Not after being frozen though.
    lazylump, carpeweekend and Whitebuck like this.

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