Winter for Chum Salmon concludes the spawning cycle. For Chum Salmon located in the northern part of their distribution, spawning ended in in late October. However, spawning can go as late as December in the southern reach of their distribution.

While there are tens of thousands of Chum Salmon that spawn in December, they will not strike lures and baits out of hunger. In fact, Chum Salmon stop feeding as they migrate up their birth river to spawn and die shortly after spawning, usually after about two weeks.

Furthermore, their bodies are torn up and their flesh is not very good tasting at this point. Even when they are in perfect condition, they are not the most savoury tasting fish. So the best place to catch them in the winter is in the ocean.

Locating Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon can be found in Arctic Ocean and Pacific ocean. In the Pacific Ocean, they are found in the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, the Laptev Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Chuchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea and the Gulf of Alaska.

In the first three years of their life, they can be found far out at sea looking for food. However, most of the Chum Salmon stay close to shore where the majority of food is and are often found in water no deeper than 60 feet, though they can go as deep as 250 feet.

Equipment Tips

When fishing for Chum Salmon in the ocean, they can be caught with the same baits, lures and techniques as other salmon, though they will not go as far out in to the ocean as Sockeye Salmon.

The key to locating them is to follow a few tips. The first is to know the patterns and movements of bait fish. Chum Salmon are a predatory fish and will follow prey fish into shallow or deep water, into bays or out to sea.

Chum Salmon will even follow prey fish into warmer water than they like just to feed before retreating back to cooler water after feeding.

The second tip, which is key to finding them is the use of a good fish finder. The ocean is far too big of a place to fish without one. Even if you know their exact location, knowing their depth will save a lot of guessing.

Choosing a Good Charter

The third tip is using a well known charter boat that provides all the tackle and gear. This is perfect for out of towners that don’t want to risk their gear getting damaged or lost on a plane.

The best way to locate a well known and seasoned fishing charter is through the local chamber of commerce, checking with local tackle shops and municipal web sites.

Don’t forget to ask the local chamber of commerce if they have had any trouble with charter captains and even check with the better business bureau. Key questions to ask are length of time in business, size of boat, is everything provided and do they guarantee a catch.

While no captain can guarantee you will catch any fish, some will promise you will catch some fish or your outing is free. Be sure to find out what they guarantee really offers.