Week 46 South Sound Fall Chum Test Fishery at Apple Cove

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.


Week 45 Apple Tree Cove Test Fishery Update

Chum caught by a Squaxin Fishermen during a Totten Inlet Drift fishery November 2013.

Chum caught by Squaxin Fishermen during a Totten Inlet Drift – November 2013.

The week-45 South Sound chum test fishery at Apple Cove Point provided decent catches yesterday but nothing spectacular. They caught at total of 902 chum (plus 10 coho and 2 immature Chinook) in six sets which compares pretty well with historic week-45 catches. The tides were not ideal, ebbing during all but the first set. The proportion of females in their sample rose this week to 59%. The overall catch appeared to have more small fish, scales samples had not been delivered to the WDFW scale lab in time enough to be shared at this time, so we won’t have the age distribution. Many of the fish were still quite bright.

Models supported an update to the South Sound chum runsize ranging from 550,000 to 750,000.

Non-treaty fleet to date has caught 148,648 fish.  This week Non-treaty had 63 Purse Seine boats with a total of 25,000 chum caught.  Two thirds of the fleet was in area 10.   

Total Tribal catch to date is  94,855 fish. Tribal catches appeared to be lower this week for the northern tribes.  Squaxin Island Tribe was the only tribe to be showing a substantial increase in catches.  Squaxin total catch as of November 7th is 32,405 chum.  

Based on the Week 45 models and regional catch data the Tribes and WDFW agreed to update the runsize to 600,000.  This is down 60,000 from Week 44.  This decrease in runsize adjusts the Treaty share to 268,959 and the Non-Treaty Commercial hare to 261,476. Leaving approximately 174K left of Treaty and 112K left for Non-treaty commercial to harvest.

Week 43 South Sound Chum Test Fishery Update

Salmon test fishery 4

Just a quick summary on the WK43 test fishery info:

South Sound chum test fishing at Apple Cove Point improved this week. Yesterdays test fishery caught a total of 3,456 chum in five sets (plus 51 coho and 15 immature Chinook). Heavy fog all day prevented them from completing the usual six sets. Tides were also not ideal, although it was ebbing during all of the sets, which is good. The sex ratio of our sample was apparently 56%, though there may be reason to question whether that estimate is accurate or perhaps overestimates females. Age distribution: 70.7% age 4, 20.2% age 3, 8.10% age 5, and 1% age 6. The average weight of the chum was estimated at just under 9 pounds.

WDFW catches were fairly low catch because most of the purse seine effort was in the Hood Canal. WDFW had 14 purse seine landings in Puget Sound Areas 10/11  for 12,493 fish with an additional 3,000 catch from gill nets (15,493 total state catch).  The total Treaty catch to date is 15,338 ( Squaxin catch 2,970 chum).

State catch models supported an increase of the runsize as high as 750K. Test fishery models supported an increase to the chum runsize to 640K.   After discussion of regional catches and runsize models the Tribes and State agreed to increase the chum runsize to 500K from 350K.      Week 44 Apple Cove Test fishery will go as scheduled next Wednesday October 30th.   WDFW will continue to fish as scheduled.

Treaty/Non-treaty shares are 225,514 / 225,514.

We did get Kennedy stream count estimate from WDFW and they counted 672  live- 7 Dead chum from the falls down to the mouth.  They also saw 20 live coho and 1 dead coho.  This is on track for Kennedy creek fall chum run-timing, especially for the low water and stream flow.

If you have any questions please contact Joe Peters, Fish Biologist/Harvest Manager at jcpeters@squaxin.us or 360-432-3813

Week 42-Apple Tree Cove Chum Test Fishery Update

During the chum salmon season Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) conducts the Apple Tree Cove Chum test fishery in Area 10 (Near Kingston, Washington), weekly for four weeks. This test fishery has been on going for over 30 years. In this test fishery the catches are used to update the inseason Puget Sound Fall Chum runsize. Catch results are plugged into a model with historical test fishery data to determine a runsize. After each of these test fisheries, harvest managers from Washington Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Puget Sound Tribes conference call on the results as well as share regional catches.  Based on this data the Tribal/WDFW harvest managers make a decision to increase or decrease the Puget Sound Chum runsize.

The second day of test fishing for chum at Apple Cove Point Wednesday October 16th, ended with results much the same as last week (464 chum). They caught a total of 494 chum in six sets, along with by-catch of 47 coho and 6 immature Chinook. The tides were somewhat more favorable than the previous week, flooding during the middle of the day. Based on the sample (n=220), they estimate the catch was 46% female, which falls within the range of typical sex ratios for week 42. Week 42 samples also comprised of 83% of age 4 year old chum.

NWIFC regional biologist put together several regression models, of which are not particularly strong to update the runsize. The strongest model suggests increasing the runsize to 400K, the Tribes and WDFW felt that the models supported keeping the preseason forecast of  349K as the chum runsize.   Week 43 test fishery will be conducted Wednesday October 23rd.   Data from week 43 test fishery and this weeks catches from WDFW and Puget Sound Tribes will be useful tools to determine if the chum runsize will increase or decrease .

Current catches to date for Squaxin is just under 1,000 chum.   Kennedy Creek is starting to get chum, with last weeks adult spawner survey counting 189 live chum and 0 dead from the falls to the mouth.

For more details regarding the Apple Tree Cove Chum Test fishery and chum management, please attend the Fish Committee scheduled for 5pm October 30th, 2013 @ Council Chambers.

Fish Committee October 30th, 2013 Meeting Announcement

Fall is here- Chum are in Kennedy Creek

Dead Kennedy Creek Chum
Spawned out Kennedy Creek chum- November 4th

Thousands of chum salmon have started to make their journey up Kennedy Creek to spawn.  The past weeks small rain events have push this fish out of the estuary in to the spawning grounds.    It’s great to see the chum are here.

Squaxin Island Tribe treaty fisheries do target chum destined for Totten inlet streams.   The fishery is managed according to  escapement requirements for stocks that are intercepted.    The Totten Inlet escapement goal for this year is 11, 500 chum.

Weekly adult spawner stream surveys are conducted to ensure we are meeting escapement goals.

Kennedy Creek Adult Spawner Survey Counts

Date                   River Mile    Observer     Live    Dead
10/15/2009     0.0-2.3         WDFW           0           3
10/22/2009    0.0-2.3         WDFW         151         3
10/29/2009    0.0-2.3         WDFW        2503      3
11/5/2009      0.0-2.3          WDFW        7208    223


Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail is a great place to view spawning chum.

The trail is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm on the following days in November:

* Weekends (10/31/09 – 11/29/09)
* Day after Thanksgiving (11/27/09)
* Veteran’s Day (11/11/09)

For more information go South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Groups Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail website.

Chum anglers at the mouth of Kennedy Creek

Chum anglers at the mouth of Kennedy Creek

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

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

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

Squaxin Island Tribe Suspends Salmon Fisheries to Meet Totten Inlet Escapement Needs.

Spawned out Chum Salmon

Spawned out Chum Salmon

As of 9 AM Sunday October 26, the Squaxin Island Tribe suspended all directed salmon fisheries to ensure that Totten Inlet meets its escapement goal. 2008 Escapement goal for Totten Inlet is 14,400 chum. On Wednesday October 29 Squaxin NR staff walked Kennedy Creek and only counted 1922 live and 55 dead chum.

Doyle Foster conducting a Adult Chum Spawner Survey

Doyle Foster conducting an Adult Chum Spawner Survey

These numbers are very low; normally we are seeing 4,000 to 8,000 chums in Kennedy Creek by this week.  We are assuming that very low flows (lack of rain) are contributing to the low counts.  We are optimistic that with current weather forecast for the up coming week that chum will start to move through the system.

Squaxin Island Tribe Fall Chum Fisheries are based on in-season escapement numbers for each of our inlets.   For example, if this weeks Kennedy Creek stream counts were well on the way to the escapement goal,  we would have had an opening this week.

At this time we will be holding off any scheduled Fall Chum fisheries until we get another count on Kennedy Creek next week.  We will be going out to Kennedy to survey early next week.