View Full Version : Chums-o-plenty

12-11-2003, 09:20 PM
I thought some of you might appreciate reading a fishing story and seeing a few WA outdoors pics from last weekend. We were fishing on the west side of the Hood Canal for chum salmon – also known locally as “dog salmon” because of the male’s very large canine-like teeth that develop during the spawn.

The weather was supposed to be overcast, windy and showers off and on throughout the day as my son Derek and I packed our gear in preparation for a wet and cold December day on the water. Instead we had an absolute calm, cool and partly cloudy day on the Olympic Peninsula here in Washington. With the competition minimal as word of the declining salmon run must have taken affect, my son and I decided where we would begin fishing and started looking for fish.

It's true the numbers of fish were down, but for some reason the fish that had arrived that morning to the creek were nickel bright and holding tight to the rocky bottom of the creek. So, it didn't take long for us to find where they were grouped up and begin presenting to them. As the sun would poke out from the clouds now and then, the tell-tale flash of the female fish fanning their redds would give their location away.

Derek was throwing drift gear, a weight, leader, bait and hook combination, that is tuned to bounce just over the rocks in order to present the fish with a tasty treat right about mouth level - gotta make it easy for them sometimes. Over the past three years he has gotten very good at reading the fish and judging how to present different baits to them in different water conditions.

I started the morning off (taking advantage of the calm clear weather) with my 8wt Fenwick Iron Feather and Lamson reel, shooting Cortland 444 steelhead sink-tip line and the little minnow pattern seen at the bottom of this page. This has always been a great combination for spooky fish holding to the bottom, They don't seem to think twice about hitting this little minnow fly. Many of the egg pattern, I've found, must be a bit too bright and tend to spook the fish a bit. Of course different fish react differently as well.

As Derek began casting, it wasn't long before I heard the first "FISH ON" from his direction. "Dad, dad, she's a bright one! Should I keep her?" He asked. I reminded him that he had just started and we only wanted a few healthy and bright fish to take home. So, he reluctantly sent her gently on her way. Of course this went on for only a short time before he just had to put one on the stringer. Meanwhile, It was only a few cast for myself until I had found the presentation drift I was looking for and started pulling up these bulldogs of the salmon world myself. Of course I had to find just about every half dead fish in the creek before I had my try at these frisky little freshies. But, I assured Derek that catching all the dead ones in order to make room for the "sweet" ones was the least I could do for him. ;^) And so the morning went on until we had each caught enough fish to send us home with sore backs and weak arms.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story. Please take a peek at the pics below.

My son, Derek (11) and a beautiful, bright little female chum. That kid is already a pro! Three years and well over 250 salmon caught - most released. All but the really yummy ones. We use exclusively barbless hooks and experience very few lost fish due to no barbs.

A male (buck) and female (hen) chum salmon – complimented by my 8wt flyrod & reel combo.

Another great fish for Derek. You can really see the characteristic color bars down the side of this chum hen.

A great little fly pattern that I use a lot for salmon. Pick up a rod and come on up sometime!


~ Shane