2012 Chum thread


I'm finding myself in almost the same position I was in about a month and a half ago: Really excited to try a new fishery, with very little idea of how to approach it. I thought a thread of this sort would be a good way to start shifting the focus, and give folks a place to share some of their favorite Chum tactics.

At this point, I've got my beach casting down pretty well, which will hopefully save me some frustration.

I'd love to hear about people's favorite tactics, tides, water types. What kind of leader and line? What would be a good couple of flies to start tying up?

At the end of August, I'd never caught a Coho in the salt (still haven't gotten one in a river). I changed that this month with a lot of hard work and a lot of help from people on this forum. I'm hoping to make this my first year to get a chum as well.

So, would anyone be willing to share some ideas and suggestions?

Don't bother fishing the salt for Chum, they can be quiet stubborn. Instead fish the estuary to any local creeks with Chum in them. The best tide to fish is an incoming because it pushes the fish to the mouth of the river. You'll want a shooting head, floating line because the water is calm and your retrieve will have to be really slow. I retrieve with a couple quick, short strips and then a long, slow strip, repeat. Just throw tiny chartreuse flies, they're so aggresive they'll hit anything. I've thrown chartreuse beach sliders and caught Chum on top water.


Active Member
Like any tide affected fishery, the specific location will determine which tide is best to fish. Some places are best on an incoming, some are best on an outgoing. Find an estuary close to you that you can visit often and just start pounding the water. The more you fish there, the more you'll learn the little details about the beach that will help you catch more chum. Most chum holding areas I've seen are on large shallow flats, so a floatig line or slow intermediate is usually best. Common knowledge is to use small (size 8-4) sparse chartreuse/green flies. Other effective colors (so I've read) can be cerise/pink, purple, black, orange, etc. Being waiting period they can be selective (or just flat lockjawed), but I hear they can be very aggressive at times too and take pretty much anything.

For presentation slow is usually the name of the game. I get most bumps when I'm using quick short strips but at a slow pace (if that makes sense) followed by a pause after a few strips. I'm also thinking of trying more presentations under indicators this year to keep the fly in the strike zone longest.

I'm currently tying a variety of flies in the colors listed above: flashabou comets (Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon 2), chum candy (Fly fishing Inshore Saltwaters), other comet variations, etc. Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon 2 has some great waiting period flies. They cover all salmon, but make them one of the colors above and you should be set.

I have caught a few in streams, but have yet to hook one in the salt. Last season I never got a hookup, but it was an especially lockjawed year according to all the locals (no rain). I'm beginning to think that it's not always the fly they are selective about, but the bite just "turns on" and they'll take then "turns off" and they won't. I haven't had enuogh time on the water to test this out yet though. Also, to test this you'd have to change flies after catching a couple fish, and this just goes against reason! ha

I will say I've heard of some big bright chum being caught already so you better get to tying! ;)

Oh and don't forget about the search function - there is a TON of information to dig up for presentation, locations, flies, etc. There are usually a thread or two like this every year with great info.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
9-10' 8 wt.
Floating or slow sinking intermediate lines.
9' leader on the floater, 6-7' on the intermediate.
12 lb leader max. Makes it easier to break off a fish if you foul hook one. Tighten up your drag and take the battle to the fish so you can release them quickly.
Incoming tide has always been the best for me followed by a couple of hours after the high peak.
Forget your warp speed torn rotator cuff coho strip. Nice and slow. Change if up until you find what they like. Cast out in front of nervous water and strip slow as the pod of fish move towards your fly. Use a strip set once you feel the fish eat.

Lots of folks like chartreuse, but I've had more luck on black, purple and cerise, with purple and cerise being the best. Do some color combos as well, purple body, cerise tail etc. If we've had a lot of rain and the stream flowing in is coloring up the water, then add a chartreuse head. Polar chenille bodies work great because it gets caught in the chums teeth. Have some of your staging coho flies with you as well, because they can be mixed in with the schools of chum.

Tie you flies with bead chain eyes because you generally aren't fishing deep. If you use dumbbell eyes, use small ones. Make sure to tie some blind (no eyes) flies as well. These are especially helpful in skinny water situations. Size 6 is a great size in my opinion. Strong enough to land chum but small enough to avoid foul hooking many fish when they are in thick.

Hope this helps,
All great info so far, thanks guys. Last year I was struggling several days with an intermediate, a floater is the way to go, especially at Chico since it's such a large flat. I didn't land one last year, but ready to hit it again.


aka Mtnwkr
Bunch of great info, I want to add that these are easily spooked fish. A single crow flying over on a sunny day and you'll see the whole estuary boil.


Active Member
sz 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook stinger on a purple or cerise bunny leach or fluffy marabou type fly should do well and not snag any fish even when cast into schools.


Active Member
try this Clouser style.
tail: red marabou
body: red thread, wool, seal, or what you like.
eyes: red or black.
hackle: hot pink marabou.
if used in an area that's not too deep use your floater. or snag bottom a lot.