Common Property: Fall Chum

18
Sep

SSRAA Fall Chum, 20 September 2016:
Fall chum returning this year come almost entirely from releases at Nakat and Neets Bay. In addition, there are three-year-olds from a release at Burnett Inlet, though few fall chum return at 3 years old.
The weekly harvest (drift) of fall chum at Tree Point has been similar for the past three weeks. There are still some fall chum being caught in Clarence Strait (drift, D106). Relative to the historic run pattern we would expect harvest of fall chum at Tree Point and in Clarence Strait to decrease soon, likely through this week. Some of these fish will be caught until drift fisheries are closed.
The terminal return at the barrier at Neets Bay is probably peaking now. This lags the more distant fisheries at Tree Point and Clarence Strait by about a week. As you will note on the attached graphs, this run is not as large as the return in 2015. Though the 2015 run was stronger than what is occurring in 2016, the difference seen in the attached graphs is influenced in part by something else. Last summer SSRAA met the cost recovery goal before the summer chum run was over. After fall broodstock was secured, Neets Bay was opened to net rotational fisheries. A good part of the 2015 harvest illustrated on the attached graphs came from those rotations. SSRAA will not meet its cost recovery revenue goal in 2016 and consequently the Neets Bay SHA will remain closed.
On a positive note, we have found about 1,600 fish in common property harvest from the Burnett release. It isn’t common for many fall chums to return at 3, so we are interpreting this positively. To date none of these fish has gone up the steep pass into the broodstock raceways at Burnett. We will take all the fall chum eggs at Neets Bay this year, but are leaving the entry to Burnett open to simply see if anything gets back.
Like the summer chum, these fish have been smaller than usual this year. The overall run average will probably be about 7.5 pounds, maybe less…currently they average about 7 pounds in the terminal harvest at Neets Bay.

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SSRAA Fall Chum, 15 September 2016:  There are still a fair number of fall chum being harvest in the drift fishery at Tree Point. There are also some fall chum being caught in District 106 drift. There are at least several weeks left in this run and it appears this return will hit forecast. Neets Bay fall chum are also being harvested at Tree Point, in D 106, and in the chum troll fishery outside the Neets Bay SHA. The terminal return at Neets Bay is just beginning and usually continues into the last week of September.
Only a few SSRAA fall chum have been harvested in recent Seine openings in District 102. Most of these fish have been untagged.
The fish are currently averaging about 8 pounds.

SSRAA Fall Chum, 6 September 2016:  A decent number of fall chum were harvested at Tree Point last week, 30,000 plus fish. Though the harvest has slowed some this week; there are at least several weeks left in this run and it appears this return will hit forecast. Neets Bay fall chum have also been harvested at Tree Point and in the chum troll fishery outside the Neets Bay SHA. The terminal return at Neets Bay itself usually continues into the last week of September. We have just seen the first of these fish at the barrier in Neets which is normal timing for this return.
The fish are currently averaging about 8 pounds.

SSRAA Fall Chum, 15 August 2016:  This is the first report on fall chum.  It is too early to expect any noticeable number of these fish in harvest.  The odd fish has been caught during the last couple of openings in D101 drift and D101 and D102 seine.  We don’t expect the run to start at Nakat for another week.  It’s also possible that they will be harvested in the chum troll fishery outside of Neets Bay on or about 25 August – if there are any chum trollers at that time.  The summer run was a little early this year as were the pink salmon, but that doesn’t necessarily relate to fall chum…though it could.  Noting summer chum size, we anticipate that these fish will be smaller than usual, somewhere in the 5 to 7 pound range.

Forecasting fall chum has always been a difficult exercise.  With that qualification, we expect about 70,000 of these fish to return to Nakat and 200,000 at Neets Bay.  The returns to both Neets Bay and Nakat are complimented by fall coho…and in some years it would be better said the fall coho returns to Nakat and Neets Bay will be accompanied by fall chum.  At this point we don’t know which is more appropriate.

This will be the last fall chum update until early September when the run will be starting.