Tips and Tricks: Chum Fry Hatch
The local legion of Puget Sound “hatches” is the chum fry. Folks flock to Puget Sound from all over the state. They are coming here for a chance to experience some of the most exciting trout fishing around. Bait balls getting slashed at by predatory Sea Run Cutthroat trout, fish clearing the water spewing small bait fish into the air, and eating flies with no hesitation.
If Puget Sound’s most famous “hatch” is the Chum fry migration then the Hood Canal is the holy grail of it. Hood Canal famously has huge runs of chum salmon in a relatively narrow and healthy body of water. Moreover adding the littering of small spawning creeks and a summer run of chum, you have yourself the best fishery around for this event!
Here are a few things to know before heading out:
First, be as close to the stream that they are coming out of as you can, exactly when they are coming out. Then find the schools of chum fry, and keep your fly in the water as much as possible. Finally, if at all possible, be on the down current side of the school. This allows your fly to be the first chum fry to get to the cutthroat. Done! You have all of my tricks (that I am willing to share with you here). Let’s Elaborate a bit!
Starting off with being close to the streams. The big balance of fishing the chum fry hatch is being there as they are dumping out of the creeks. You want to be close so you are getting fish that are just turning onto the bait. The first bite of cake is always the sweetest. However, we don’t want to be there before the school has emerged and the fish are not turned on. So it’s really a balancing act.
The next step to finding success with the chum fry hatch is this. “Keeping your baitfish in the water!” There is a lot of bait to choose from! Getting a “eat” is a matter of having your fly in the water when the fish crashes through the school. Typically these fish are eating 5-10 baitfish at a time at the begging of the hatch, you can’t be one of them if your fly is being casted. Use SUPER short, fast, strips that barely move your fly. The object is to keep it fluttering and slack free but try not to pull it out of the school of bait.
The last step is probably the most difficult from the beach, however simple in theory. Stay ahead of the school. You want to be the first few baitfish that get hit. If you had a choice to run from a hungry T-Rex or a uncomfortably full T-Rex I think you would choose the latter. Positioning yourself ahead of the school works three fold as well;
- First, it allows you to be the first baitfish on the buffet line, instigating the most aggressive takes.
- Next, staying ahead of the school allows your slow retrieve to stay in the bait for a bit longer.
- Last, it allows you to reach the bait without repositioning yourself for the longest amount of time. The fish have to swim to you, then past you.
If you put these thoughts into consideration you should have a fairly successful Chum Fry Season. The next post we are going to do is how to rig your set up for the most success during Chum Fry Season.
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