Friday, November 11, 2011

"Taking your dog for a walk" Chum fishing in Western Washington.

For those whom dare to say "I love Chum Fish'n" this story is for you. First we have the mighty brut Chinook, known as "King" Salmon. Then those chrome bright torpedo's, Cohos called "Silvers". The tasty, somewhat rare Sockeye nicknamed "Reds". The distinctive humpys known as "Pinks"(Ok there is nothing pink about this fish, not even the flesh). At the bottom of the food chain, Chum aka "dog salmon" the ugly duckling of the salmon world. They come in from the ocean bright and shiny chrome. That first smell of fresh water and they transform into a mystical, oddly stripped fish. Colors of green, yellow, purple and little red. They are the tie dyed tee-shirt wearing  hippie of the salmonoid species. The males quickly grow hooked jaws adorned with long sharp teeth which poke out in no particular direction. The females are smaller and fight like crazy, they must only be attractive to a male chum. Males will fight each other to the death just to spawn with one and for his trouble he dies. (go figure, fish love). Most of the major rivers and many small creeks enjoy great Chum runs, so they are somewhat plentiful. Chum are not as hard to find as the elusive Kings, Silvers and Sockeye.
Here is Nate a happy fisherman, proud to display a male fresh from the Satsup River. This dog was just moments from his fateful return to water, chasing females and blessing us with more chums in four years. So why is it we fisherman choose to fish for the bottom rung of the salmon ladder? Because no matter what they look like, they fight like hell! Those whom choose to swing a well tied fly into boiling waters of chum will admit its a "kick in the pants". Hook em and hold on for dear life. For goodness sakes keep those precious fingers away from the knob on your reel (bloody knuckle syndrome). You've got to do that at least once a season just to maintain those scares of battle. Others like my good friend Nate drift corkies low hugging the pebbles, anxiously awaiting that jerk followed by a line peeling reel scream. Up the bank, down the bank across the river and back. Now folks that's what we here on the Kitsap Peninsula call "walking the dog". So when the maples turn from green to gold that little Chum alarm clock goes off in my head. It must time to grab a leash and take those darn dogs for a good long walk.

Chico Creek Chum on a Fish Creek Spinner
Check your local regulations and I'll bet you find some body of water near by where the Chum running right now!

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