Thursday November 14th, 2013 was the final day of test fishing for South Sound fall chum at Apple Cove Point. They got a bit of a late start after some mechanical problems with the skiff, but eventually managed to get in 5 sets. Catches were low, as might be expected for week 46. They caught 143 chum (plus 2 coho and 3 immature Chinook) in 5 sets, for a catch-per-set of just 29 chum.
They also had a sea lion active in the seine during at least two of the sets (including the day’s biggest set). The proportion of females was about the same as last week, 58%. The age distribution for the catch was 3 year old at 34.5%, 4 year old at 63.8%, and 5 year old at 1.7%.
Watch this video of the South Sound Fall Chum Test Fishery at Apple Cove :
WDFW had purse seine openings on Monday (11-11-2013) and Wednesday (11-13-2013) and caught a total of 72K chum with 84 purse seine landings. Both days the fleet was split pretty evenly between areas 10 and 11. On Monday 11-11-2013 the larger catches were in area 11 but Wednesday 11-13-2013 they were pretty much equal. WDFW had observers out on the boats during Wednesday’s fishery and the largest set they saw was for 500 fish in area 11. WDFW observed 9 sets is area 10 of which 3 were about 200 fish, 5 were for 50-100 fish and 1 was a water haul. WDFW commercial chum catch to date was estimated to be at 225K.
Apple Cove Test fishery ISU models ranged from 543K to 637K. The ISU models using WDFW purse seine catch data are a bit higher than the Test Fishery’s. They range from 652-720K. Regional catches for Tribes appeared to decline through out the Puget Sound with the exception of Squaxin Island Tribe. Puyallup reported that there are very few chum returning to the river. Winter chum are beginning to show up in the Nisqually. Current catch for Squaxin Island Tribe as of November 16th is at 67, 071 chum.
Week 46 Puget Sound Fall Chum Runsize was updated to 550K, down from last weeks update of 600k.
Totten Inlet and Skookum Inlet are at escapement. The last Kennedy Creek stream survey on November 14th resulted in 11,890 live and 1,882 dead. We are seeing a good number of chum in Eld Inlet as well as in Perry, McLane, and Swift creeks. Eld is well on its way to escapement.