October 21, 2010
Chum have been entering the Squamish since the end of September, however, the run size is very small to date. Anglers who are hooking up with fish are finding pockets of chum that are holding, most likely waiting for a bump of rain. Thankfully there is some rain coming this weekend which should draw in more salmon from Howe Sound.
Coho numbers seem to be good in all of the local rivers with gear proving to be the most effective due to the high turbidity. The last few days the rivers have cleared up offering better visibility and catch rates on the fly are up.
Immediate Future – Rain in the Forecast
Rain is on the way this weekend, a necessary evil required to fill the rivers with fish! Unfortunately this will change clarity and river levels as the freezing level is expected to hover around 1600m. Snow will blanket the tops of the peaks making for great scenery when the clouds clear, however, rivers may not be fish-able for the weekend.
Long Term Squamish Chum Forecast
Unfortunately the forecast for chum entering the Squamish system this year is poor. The assessments done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) indicate a very low return to Lower Mainland streams. This is also the case on most Vancouver Island streams and was also the case on Northern rivers this year. It is doubtful at this point that a chum retention will happen on the Squamish system during the 2010 return.
About the Fraser River Chum Return and Closures to Retention of Chum in Region 2
Johnson Straight chum numbers are dismal for 2010 and the Fraser River run has also been determined to be at critical levels, contrary to the mammoth sockeye return this past summer. The poor chum return has forced the closure of Fraser River chum to retention and there is no commercial fishery for Johnson Straight.
It should be noted that the 2010 chum adults entered the ocean the same year that the sockeye from 2009 entered the ocean. The sockeye return in 2009 was a devastating 1.7 million fish; the expected return was 13 million. The Government of Canada has ordered an inquiry into the terrible return. Perhaps some information will help diagnose what has happened to the chum in 2010.
Cohen Commission on Missing Sockeye: http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/
Keeping a positive outlook, the chum that are going to return in 2011 entered the ocean at the same time that the sockeye juveniles entered for the 2010 sockeye return….the best in almost a Century; 30+ Million fish! Let’s hope the chum follow suit.
For now please remember: No retention of chum salmon on the Squamish, Cheakamus, or Mamquam Rivers.
More Data Links.
Fraser River Chum Closure:
Albion Test Fishery for Chum Salmon
DFO published a graph showing that the numbers are below the 800K estimate which warrants the closure.
Graphs Showing Chum Numbers:
Albion Chum Numbers: