Chum salmon provide a big splash for chowder bowl

  • Wayne Kruse / Outdoor Writer
  • Wednesday, November 1, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

They’re big, they’re mean, they’re raggedy, they’re snaggle-toothed uglies, and they have mayhem in mind. Chum salmon – “dogs” in the vernacular – are pushing their aggressive, brazen way into area rivers and the only thing that’s going to stop them is quick action by the sportfishing fraternity.

So arm yourself with a good Kwikfish or a well-tested Buzz Bomb and help keep the barbarians from the door.

Sam Ingram of S&S Guide Service in Arlington did his part, with wife Susan, on the Skykomish Sunday, hooking four nice, bright chums to 16 or 18 pounds, landing three, and keeping only one. He needed that one, of course, as the basic ingredient for a batch of his famous “Sam’s Chum Chowder.”

The Ingrams launched at the mouth of the Sultan at 7:30 a.m., fished right there, and were having coffee at the Dutch Cup by 9:30 a.m. Sam said they used K-14 and K-15 Kwikfish in silver/green, and a silver/pink version he painted himself. Anything green, pink or purple should work, though, he said.

Darrell Kron at Hook, Line &Sinker in Smokey Point said chums are starting to show in the main Stillaguamish and in the Skagit as well as in the Sky, and that they seem to be large fish this year.

“One of the guides, Bill Wagner, showed me a fish he said he weighed on a hand scale before bleeding and cleaning it, and it went 37 pounds,” Kron said. “I saw the fish, and it could well have been somewhere in that range. It was a very big chum.”

Big indeed. The International Game Fish Association all-tackle world record chum salmon is only 35 pounds, taken on the British Columbia coast in 1995, and the listed state record is only 25 pounds, 10 ounces. So keep that in mind as you hit the rivers this fall, if you have any interest at all in fishing for a record.

Kron said the Stillaguamish opened Wednesday to two chums (release all coho and chinook), but under selective fishing regulations until Dec. 1. That means artificials only, single barbless hook.

Over on Hood Canal, the popular chum shore fishery at the Hoodsport Salmon Hatchery is starting to perk. State checks Sunday tallied 89 anglers with 15 fish, averaging 10 pounds. Hatchery personnel asked visiting anglers to not block driveways or mailboxes when they park to fish, and to stay within the red buoys, north and south of the hatchery creek.

Farther down-Sound, other shore fisheries at John’s Creek and Kennedy Creek showed eight anglers with five chums, and 55 with 32, respectively.

  • Local saltwater: This weekend will be the first for our abbreviated winter blackmouth season, and it should offer excellent fishing. All Star Charters skipper/owner Gary Krein says the number of feeder chinook being taken and released during the recent coho fishery showed good populations of both small and legal fish in all the usual areas.

    Krein likes Possession Bar and Point No Point, because both are holding lots of bait. Baby Island, to the north, should also produce, he says.

    He’ll be fishing at 70 to 120 or 150 feet on Possession, probably using a flasher and a Coyote spoon of green/white or “funky chicken” pattern. No. 603 Tomic plugs, mother of pearl, are a good choice where there’s a lot of bait around, he says. And the Grand Slam bucktail fly, a strange-looking but very productive hybrid lure introduced here last year, should again be a top producer, Krein says. The green/white model seemed to catch more fish for most anglers last year than the blue/white.

  • Hot coho action: The Cowlitz continues to smoke for coho anglers, putting out better than three fish per rod last week for boaters, and action almost that good for bank fishermen at the barrier dam. State personnel are “recycling” salmon surplus to hatchery needs, trucking them farther down on the Cowlitz and releasing them to run the gauntlet again.

    The Kalama and Lewis are also putting out top coho fishing.

  • Deer: The general westside buck hunt ended Sunday and, while there didn’t seem to be much enthusiasm for the whole thing this year on this side of the Cascades, the end result apparently wasn’t all that bad. Local meat cutters reported turning animals away because they had all they could handle, and even hunters who didn’t find a legal buck said they were seeing deer.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the good samaritan who returned my grandson’s identification bracelet, lost on a deer scouting trip with his father in the Methow Valley. Somewhere along the 360 spur off the 4100 mainline, Benson Creek, out of Twisp, Conner Kruse dropped the bracelet. It was found later, probably by another hunter, who took the time to return it in an anonymous envelope with an Everett postal processing stamp.

    I’m struck once again, as I have been many, many times over a long stint at this desk, at the honesty and integrity of those who take their recreation outdoors.

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