Searching For Early Chinook Run Indications?

With a damp, dreary Memorial Day weekend in progress, it’s time to look north for the first indications of our actual chinook returns.

So why do we look north and what are we looking for? GREAT QUESTION!!! To answer that question, let’s have a quick review of what the University of Washington School of Fisheries catalogs as FISH 450: Salmonid Behavior and Life History.

As our juvenile chinook leave Puget Sound they “turn right” or head north to the rich oceanic pasture known as the Gulf of Alaska. Then, as they mature they eventually make their way back to the coast…and, bump right into Southeast Alaska!

So, it’s no secret that the tremendous salmon fisheries in Southeast Alaska, the Queen Charlotte Islands, northern British Columbia and the west coast of Vancouver Island are, to a great extent, driven by salmonid production in Oregon, the Columbia River, coastal Washington and Puget Sound. Therefore, if you are looking at a real indication of what our actual returns are looking like, Southeast Alaska is the place to look!

After a winter of going blind pouring over forecasts, pictures of actual, huge summer chinook is indeed a sight for sore eyes! Our good friend Derek Floyd of Reel Class Charters in Sitka, Alaska has been providing ample evidence of what looks like a great summer salmon season here in the Pacific Northwest!

Here’s Derek with a fine 39 pound specimen which fell prey to a trolling/mooching technique he has described during his past interviews on The Outdoor Line.

Other reports from coastal chinook fisheries have been extremely positive with the Washington coastal commercial troll fishery catching it’s quota in near record time, the west coast of Vancouver Island’s Nootka Sound Resort and the Queen Charlotte Islands beginning to percolate as well!

 

Still not convinced??? Check out Sherry Diehl’s 48.4 pound hog which is currently on top of the Sitka Salmon Derby leaderboard. 

Sherry Diehl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sitka Salmon Derby is a two-weekend event that ends this coming weekend (May 31 & June 1) and according to Derby officials, both the numbers of fish entered and average size of the chinook are up significantly from last year. In 2012, a 44 pounder took top honors in the event. This year?….a 40 pounder may fall outside the top ten.

Other significant -and unquestionably positive reports come from Rob Endsley of Prince of Wales Sportfishing. His contacts in Craig, Alaska (approximately 150 miles south of Sitka) have also reported chinook to the mid 40 pound range!

Keep in mind that this season marks the highest chinook Abundance Index since the Pacific Salmon Treaty mandated a coastal management plan for our chinook runs.

The reason for the high abundance index? Near record runs headed for the Columbia, the highest forecast of hatchery chinook bound for Puget Sound in recent memory and a bumper crop of Canadian chinook as well.

With reports like this I hope you can see what I’m seeing… One heck of a summer season!

Sharpen the hooks boys…sharpen the hooks!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

“Chirp” Your Sonar with Lowrance Sonarhub

I’ve seen Lowrance’s new Sonarhub in action on Nelly’s boat and on the Salt Patrol boat and the Chirped sonar images are ridiculous. This new technology allows you to actually see the fish feeding in dense schools of baitfish and it clarifies the sonar images immensely. The next time you see the Salt Patrol boat at an event take a look at some of John’s sonar images and I guarantee they’ll blow you away.

Here’s a press bulletin from Lowrance about the new product release that explains the new Sonarhub in detail:

Lowrance Sonar Hub -The Outdoor LineRob  Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

 

Special Hunt Worksheet Available

Every year I have a helluva time keeping all my special hunt applications for Washington sorted out. With the deadline coming up here on May 22nd the time to work on your special hunt units was actually a couple of months ago. If you’re like me, however, you’ll be getting things organized and submitted between now and May 22nd.

Luckily, Steve Turner from Snake River Hunting Club just zapped me the worksheet that he made up for their yearly submissions for special hunts here in Washington State.

Click on the images below to get the larger, printable .PDF version of this worksheet.

Washington Special Hunt Work Sheet - Snake River Hunting Club special_hunts2_webSteve Turner from Snake River Hunting Club is available for questions via email at snakeriverhuntin@aol.com. Steve Turner and Don Davis were the guys that set up my .300 Win Mag last summer and they’ll be setting up a 7mm 08 that I just ordered. These guys live, eat, and breath guns, hunting, and special draws. Give them a shout for more info!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com