Summer Chum salmon runs in the Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca region are the earliest returning Chum Salmon in the Washington region. And as such, they are an attraction to a number of anglers looking to smoke Chum Salmon for the summer.

Washington Chum Recovery Plan

Their only reason to return is to spawn and they start arriving as early as August and continue through to October. However, they are not active feeders at this time but will strike a bait or lure out of self defence.

Genetically Different Washington Chum

The Chum Salmon are genetically different from the Chum Salmon that return to spawn later in the fall months between October to December.

The reason for the difference is due to human intervention by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to improve Chum numbers in these streams, which were as low as 800 returning fish.

Along with an introduction of Chum Salmon to the area, the department also took further actions to reduce stresses on their numbers and increase the population.

Summer Fishing Techniques

Chum Salmon can often be readily taken on flies as they near their spawning streams or once they enter the freshwater. The best time for this is in the northern reaches of their distribution starting as early as June.

If you are planning a fishing trip, contact the local government of where you can find information on when the Chum begin their migration as it may change from year to year.

Fly Fishing for Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon can be extremely resistant to taking any flies. In streams these fish tend to prefer patterns fished at a dead drift or with sporadic twitches.

Keep the fly real – imitate natural movements of the fly you are using and be sure to bring a variety of flies. If one does not work, try another unit one works.

Chum are known to have a preference for the color chartreuse, but colors like pink, purple and black should not be overlooked. In estuarine environments, small fast stripped flies will often result in aggressive takes and long dogged battles.