Lower Fall Chum Runsize Yields Escapement for Totten/Eld Inlet and Above Average Chum Catch for Squaxin

Fall chum salmon returned to the Puget Sound in lower abundance than forecast.  The 2008 expected Puget Sound fall chum run size was forecast to be around 635,000 chum.  In the last 5 weeks the in season run size has dropped to 350,000 chum based on WDFW commercial fisheries and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) run Apple Cove Test fishery up in Marine Area 10.

Recent adult chum spawner survey numbers on Kennedy Creek (and Schnieder Prairie) are indicating that Totten Inlet has reached the needed 14,500 chum for escapement.

Totten Inlet Streams Adult Chum Spawn Survey Data

Kennedy Creek
River Mile
Live Count
Dead Count
10/16/2008 0.0-2.3 WDFW 159 6
10/23/2008 0.0-2.3 WDFW 285 8
10/29/2008 0.0-2.3 Squaxin 1922 55
11/5/2008 0.0-2.3 WDFW 6262 264
11/18/2008 0.0-2.4 WDFW 5,833 2083
Schnieder Creek RM Agency Live Dead
11/17/2008 WDFW 1,717 112

Eld Inlet chum appear to be a running a week or two early with Perry and Swift (tributary to McLane) Creek showing  good numbers considering the updated lower run size.

Eld Inlet Streams Adult Chum Spawn Survey Data

Swift River Mile Agency Live Count Dead Count
11/10/2008 0.0-1.0 WDFW 2622 10
11/17/2008 0.0-1.0 WDFW 5262 128
Perkins Creek (Mclane Trib)
11/13/2008 0.0-0.5 WDFW 287 14
11/11/2008 0.0-1.0 WDFW 2622 10
11/17/2008 0.0-1.0 WDFW 5933 42

Eld Inlet escapement goal is 18,500 chum.

Although Fall Chum returns are lower than expected, currently Squaxin Island Tribes 101 licensed fishermen have harvested approximately 43,000 chum so far this season.  A five year average using Squaxin chum catches from ’02-’06  results in an average Squaxin Island chum harvest of 32,452.   2007 catch was excluded from this average due to the unusually large returns and Squaxin catch of 150K chum.

Squaxin Island Tribe Chum Fisheries

Eld Chum Fishery

Totten Chum Fishery

Squaxin Fish Hotline: 360-432-3899

Dungeness Crab Fishery Opens

courtesy WDFW

WDFW photo

Early morning on November 20th the Squaxin Island Tribe’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open in south Puget Sound. This includes all of the marine waters south of the Tacoma Narrows except for the Nisqually Reach and Balch and Drayton passages. The fishery will be open seven days a week from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset and is expected to run through the end of February before crab shell hardness drops off. However, the fishery may be extended beyond February if the crab remain hard as indicated by weekly shell hardness testing.

The Squaxin Island Tribe has not commercially fisher for crab since 2005 and this season the number of Tribal members participating in this fishery is expected to be low. However, there may be areas of high pot densities since each commercially licensed fisher may use up to 50 pots.

Log jams protect chum during recent floods

The log jams the Squaxin Island Tribe built over the last few years in Skookum Creek provided a critical refuge for chum heading upstream to spawn during the recent floods.  When flows in Skookum Creek reached 750 cfs on Wednesday afternoon (11/12/08), a number of chum like the one visible in this picture rested in the calm water behind some of the logs placed higher up in the floodplain.  Unfortunately, once the fish move upstream of these log jams, they will find far fewer places to rest on their final ~5 mile swim.

View Spawning Chum Salmon at Kennedy Creek and McLane Nature Trails

November is an excellent time to view adult chum salmon making their journey to spawn up South Puget Sound streams.  Two locations for prime view are at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail and the McLane Nature Trail.

Kennedy Creek Trail is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm on the following days in November:

Weekends (11/01/08 – 11/30/08)

Day after Thanksgiving (11/28/08)

Veteran’s Day (11/11/08)

Directions to Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail

McLane Nature Trail is open to the public daily during day light hours.  The gate to the park closes a dusk.

Directions to McLane Nature Trail

Squaxin-sponsored Gage on Goldsborough Peaked

The Squaxin Island Tribe pays USGS to operate a stream flow gage on Goldsborough Creek near downtown Shelton (see:  http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/wa/nwis/uv/?site_no=12076800&PARAmeter_cd=00060,00065).  The stream flow from the heavy rains yesterday and today have peaked at around 900 cfs.  That qualifies as a modest flood in the Goldsborough watershed.

Kennedy Creek Adult Chum Counts Increasing

Will Henderson surveying Kennedy Creek

Will Henderson surveying Kennedy Creek

Chum salmon are beginning to make their way up Kennedy Creek.  This weeks stream surveys have shown increased adult chum with an estimate of 6,262 live and 264 dead chum from the Kennedy Creek falls to the mouth down at Highway 101. 
Kennedy Creek Chum

Kennedy Creek Chum

With this increase of adult chum on the spawning grounds of Kennedy Creek, Squaxin Natural Resources will have a 24 hour Chum fishery in Totten Inlet and Pickering Passage 4:00pm Friday November 7th through 4:00pm Saturday November 8th.   

Detailed Regulations are available below and at the Squaxin Island Tribe Website.

Emergency Regulation ER-08-12 Chum Totten Pickering Drift Net

Emergency Regulation ER-08-13 Chum Totten/Pickering Beach Seine

A summary of the Squaxin Island Tribal Fisheries is also available on the Squaxin Island Hotline: 360-432-3899