Skookum Inlet Fall Chum, which return to spawn late November into January in Skookum, Little and Elson Creek appear to be returning in lower numbers. Skookum Fall Chum, not be mistaken for Upper Skookum Fall Chum that return October- December, are a mixed chum stock of Elson Hatchery and wild Chum production. Detailed description of these chum stock is available at WDFW Salmon Stock Inventory (SaSI) .
Recent surveys in Elson Creek have resulted in lower that normal returns for this time of year. We should be seeing a couple thousand chum spawning in Elson in the middle of December. Tuesday December 11th survey had approxamately 377 live and 181 dead chum in the stream. WDFW Skookum and Little Creek counts have been low also.
Lower Fall Chum returns have been a trend through out South Puget Sound this year. One factor that may be contributing to Elson Creek is the very low flows in stream. Usually we see water flowing through the culvert that passes under Lynch Rd. Currently the stream is dry a few hundred yards from the culvert.