Oregon Chummy Wummy Report - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:50 PM
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Eric Eric is offline
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Oregon Chummy Wummy Report

Went Monday and yesterday to the Tillamook Bay area for our annual Hooknose Chum fish-in. Left, dragging the driftboat, through 60-80 mph winds, tiptoeing, as it were, over the hazard-light-lit Yaquina Bay Bridge and arriving about 9:30 at the lower Kilchis launch with the wind and rain in full and exuberant consort. While I was waiting for Rick and Bill, I talked to a couple of stalwarts who had just escaped the river and were gearing down for the trip back to warmth, safety and, presumably, a long and leisurely conversation with Jack Daniels. I could sort of relate.

Shortly afterward, the guys showed up, and we quickly voted to skip the drift and foot-fish some upper riffles we knew about. We switched gear around and headed up river to see what was what and maybe catch some fish.

When we got to the riffle in question, there were a couple of fly floggers standing out in the spray apparently catching fish. We sat in the car for awhile, seeking motivation, as large branches and small logs fly past the window, crashing to perdition through the blackberry thickets below. Finally we did struggle out of the comfort zone and into our waders and out into the stream.

Sheets of spray were lifting off the surface and adding their soggy mix to the horizontal rain. I was incredibly grateful for the Dutch Harbor tee-shirt I bought for Kodiak, since it was keeping me dry, as I stumbled through the shallows, countering the blasts on one side with the push of the current on the other. Eventually we reached casting positions across from the slot we wished to fish, about 10 feet away. Even then, fishing was a chore as our Type IV 10 wt sink tips blew out like kite strings over the lies.

We kept at it for awhile with no hookups and no actual sightings of fish. The thing is with Chums, they are very showy fish. When they're around, porpoise rolls and tail-splashes are pretty constant. We saw none, so we quit that drift, and rather than crowd in on the pair downstream, we hiked up the road to another spot that had produced in the past.

After dodging a couple of near misses with projectile alder branches, though, we decided this wasn't a great idea. The weather report called for an abatement in the wind by mid-afternoon, and since we hadn't seen any fresh fish anyway, we decided to drive over to the Miami and cool-it until conditions improved, hurricane-wise.

Turns out the weather man was right (for once). About two or so, the wind fell off to nothing and the rain pretty much quit, too. We prowled around up and down the banks looking for pods of fresh fish, finding very few. The fish were definitely off the bite, and we had no takes from the worthies we attempted to tempt. The river was rising, albeit slowly, murking up a bit, and fishing conditions generally deteriorating. We decided to head on back to the Kilchis to see what was going on there. All things being equal, we prefer the Kilchis to the Miami, as it's a bigger stream and the fish can do their stuff to a much greater degree than when confined to the tiny waters of the creek-sized Miami.

The Kilchis looked like a salad bar. I have never seen so many leaves at once. They were washing down a hundred to the cubic foot, and swinging flies was pretty much out of the question. We quit for the day.

Tuesday dawned clear (I suppose, since I was still asleep when that event occured), anyway, at the crack of noon it was still clear and nice, so we decided to drift the Kilchis. We put in at the Forest Service bridge and floated down to the lower take-out without seeing anything to fish for. We should have put in at the County Park upstream, I suppose, but we were looking for fresh run fish in the lower part of the river. They still should have been coming in strong, even this late in the season.

We went back to the Miami, which was in perfect shape, and had a good afternoon hooking and landing a mixed bag of fresh-run and shop-worn fish. The fish hit fairly well on lightly weighted, chartreuse flies presented on those fast-sinking tips. The highlight of the day, though, was when Rick hooked a Chinook. Rick had some luck in that the fish didn't bolt, but chose to slug it out in the small pool in which it was hooked. Ultimately he lost the fish, a female about fifteen pounds, as he was sliding onto the gravel. The fish was incredibly lively even after a ten-minute fight, and furrowed its way to safely with no apparent damage. High-fives all around, anyway. We've caught the odd Steelhead Chum fishing the Miami, but never a Chinook.

Our general take on the fishing situation was that the Kilchis run of Chums seemed smaller than in years past. We hope these fine game fish will continue to provide us with late-fall sport for many years to come, but their situation will bear watching.

Fished Out in Waldport

Eric
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:34 AM
chromer chromer is offline
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Great dawg report.

probably the most under-rated sport fish and a perfect warmup for winter steelhead

i love em

(I wish the lowlifes would stop snaggin them)
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:51 PM
Stew Stew is offline
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These already depressed runs were indeed smaller this season. Abuse by anglers, anglers wading through chum salmon spawning redds and the over all poor returns of all north coast salmon in general this fall is not very encouraging for the chum salmon.
I believe we need to leave them completely alone meaning no targeting them whatsoever.
I spend a lot of time in the Tillamook area and in order to save the remnant run of chum salmon we need to make tough choices and those choices would be for us fly fishermen to leave these runs alone altogether. I agree that chums make for great sport but in the long run the ODFW needs to recognize further that these fish should not be harassed in any way so they they can spawn unmoloested.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:48 PM
chromer chromer is offline
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Sad to hear that


Drive up here to washington the populations seem to be at all time highs in certain rivers especially around the puget sound rivers
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:00 PM
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Laying off the fish in the southern end of their distribution is probably a good idea, but may be too late.

There is still good spawning escapement into the Tillamook Bay feeder streams, and there has been for most recent years, but the population of Chum continues to decline despite catch-and-release and early closure restrictions.

There may be ocean factors operating here that cannot be offset by even more restrictions on the sports fishery. Nevertheless, it's a place to start in removing Chum from the target fishery list in Oregon. We Chum-fans could always invade the Puget Sound/Hood Canal areas, I suppose.

I'd hate to loose these fish.

Cheers,

Eric
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:25 AM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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Unhappy For a moment there I thought you were talking about the ..

Chetco.

"Sheets of spray were lifting off the surface and adding their soggy mix to the horizontal rain. I was incredibly grateful for the Dutch Harbor tee-shirt I bought for Kodiak, since it was keeping me dry, as I stumbled through the shallows, countering the blasts on one side with the push of the current on the other. Eventually we reached casting positions across from the slot we wished to fish, about 10 feet away. Even then, fishing was a chore as our Type IV 10 wt sink tips blew out like kite strings over the lies."

Perfect description of the two past Decembers ......... Oh, forgot to mention the flooding .....

Last edited by fredaevans; 11-24-2007 at 10:40 AM.
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