Chum salmon occur in each of the large river systems of coastal Washington, from the Strait
of Juan de Fuca south to the mouth of the Columbia River. The largest populations are found
along the south coast; the chum stocks utilizing the rivers of Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.
The northern rivers, including the Quillayute, Hoh, and Queets systems, each support a small
chum stock. The observations of chum salmon in these river systems, however, are too
infrequent to estimate population abundance or status. Moving south, the Quinault River
chum stock has both wild and hatchery components, and is much more successful, with
annual run sizes generally between 5,000 and 25,000 fish.
In the south coastal zone, chum salmon are found throughout the Grays Harbor drainage, and
spawning occurs in each of the major river systems. The Satsop, Humptulips, and
Wynoochee rivers host major chum salmon runs. Adults begin entering the rivers in October,
and spawning begins in late October, peaks in mid/late November, and is usually completed
by early December. Runsizes generally between 20,000 and 50,000 fish, with occasional
returns of 100,000 or more (see table below).
The Willapa Bay tributaries and estuary provide productive habitats for chum salmon. Each of
the major tributary systems supports runs of chum salmon, with North, Palix, Nemah, Naselle,
and Bear river producing major chum runs. Adults begin entering the bay in late September,
and spawning begins in mid- to late October, peaks in early November, and is usually
completed by late November. Typical runsizes are in the 25,000 to 100,000 fish range, with
occasional returns between 150,000 and 225,000 chum (see table below).