Coastal Chum Salmon
Buy Your License Online! Buy Your License Online!
Chum salmon
Summer Chum Salmon Conservation Initiative (SCSCI) Report Series
Recreational Salmon Fishing

Management of Coastal Chum Salmon

Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay chum salmon are managed as natural stocks. The only hatchery production of chum are small projects conducted by volunteer groups. An escapement goal has been established for each area that represents the number of adult chum needed to spawn in the rivers. The total number of chum salmon required for spawning in Grays Harbor rivers is 21,000. The escapement goal for Willapa Bay rivers combined is 35,400 chum salmon.

Each fall WDFW biologists walk "index" sections of rivers in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. An index is a measured section of river that is walked each week during the spawning season. For chum, the number of live fish and the number of dead fish are counted in each index. At the end of the season the peak counts of live and dead fish from the index are used to estimate the total number of chum spawners for the whole river.

Using current and historical data, the average number of spawning adults is used to predict the next year's abundance, or run size, of chum. Fishing seasons are based on the forecasted run size and are structured to provide harvest opportunity for both sport and commercial fishers. Seasons are also planned to ensure that enough chum reach the rivers to spawn. Each year, during the pre-season management process (North of Falcon) the schedule for that fall is set, establishing the duration of the fishery, the areas open to fishing, and specific gear restrictions.

For additional information on the management of recreational and commercial fisheries see: