Sure, the annual chum scrum in Hood Canal is a circus, but regardless of a certain lack of aesthetics it’s still a blast.
Big, tough chum salmon return to the Hoodsport hatchery each fall and hang off the mouth of the hatchery creek, tearing up tackle and creating general chaos among shoulder-to-shoulder anglers. Nothing’s nastier than a 10-pound chum with an attitude in three feet of water, with nowhere to go except away.
You know what the scene out in front of the hatchery is going to look like, and you either enjoy it for what it is or stay home. If you don’t mind getting to know your neighbor on a first-name basis, then now’s the time, according to a spokesman at the hatchery.
“They’re doing pretty well right now,” he said, “but it’s not going to stay that way for long. Better get here soon.”
The most recent state creel check showed about 2½ fish per rod.
Take waders and a heavy steelhead weight rod (you’ll have to snub some of them pretty tight), and an assortment of spinners, Corkies, and yarn. Pink, red, orange and chartreuse are good colors, and some anglers hang a small anchovy under a float, the same thing they do at the Bait Box for Whidbey Island coho.
The fishery is limited to a certain area, so check it out on page 121 of the current fishing regulations pamphlet. The phone number at the Hoodsport Hatchery is 360-877-6408.