New to Chumming

Hey Everyone-
I'm looking for a little help here....I have never fished for chum before and I want to go to the Skagit this weekend to try for them. I have a sufficient eight weight but I don't know what to tie on to the end of my heavy ole leader nor do I know where to look for them. Do I find shallow water, or holding water at the end of tailouts or just cast into the deep blue yonder?
I am not looking for driving directions, just general if you are willing. Also if anybody is looking for a partner for a trip such as this for this weekend let me know. I am as tightlipped about "secret spots" as the next person, I just need to get my foot in the door so to speak. Thanks for the help. Good luck everybody. Josh :SHOCKED

Jon Brengan

flyfishing addict
I'm fairly new to this venue, but being addicted to flyfishing for Pacific Salmon - I thought I'd comment to your question. I haven't fished the Skagit Chum run yet - but have had fair success elsewhere.
I fish small flies, anything in the 4-8 range, I tie my own leaders, Butt section about 20# then taper down to a section of 5# tippet, some guys think I'm crazy but thats half the fun of light tackle. Leader length is usually about 10-12ft. and I only use fleuro-carbon leader material. Flies - I tie only two patterns, one's a chartruess(sp)egg sucking leech using a 5/16 bead head(pink - you have to buy the silver plated and paint your own), and the other is a Olive woolybugger w/o any tail, topped w/ a wing of white to give some clearity. These patterns are fished on a standard Cortland Steelhead Sink Tip line, Low and Slow is my method. I use the Beadhead in faster riffly water, and Olive in Mid-pool to Tail-outs. Usually I target Chums in the calm water just inside the seem of any likely run, seems like they like current, but this doesn't always hold true. You'll have to experiment - that's the joy of fishing anyways. As for secret spots - well you'll have to find 'em just like we all have to and the rivers change every year so what's good one year isn't neccesarily good the next.
Good Luck and Tight lines.


Be the guide...
I agree that you can find chum in all types of water. They can be agressive to the fly, but also very finicky. You have to experiment to see what they are in the mood for sometimes. I've had good luck with very small black flies (no, not for flossing), as with chartruse and cerise streamers (the more sparsely tied the better). If they are in the area, you will usually see them jumping or rolling. As you explore the river, look where others are fishing and you'll get an idea of what kind of water to fish... For presentation, experiment with dead drifting, swinging, and stripping at various rates. In some deep pools, a small weighted fly cast out and stripped in 6 inches at a time with 5 to 10 seconds of pause in between has been deadly.

As to your equimpment, the 8wt is perfect. I wouldn't use anything less than 10lb tippet. Sometimes I'll build a tapered leader of no more than 3 sections, but never lighter than 10# for tippet. Many times I'll just use about 4 to 6 feet of 10-12lb Maxima UG - no taper. But it really depends on the river and the fish size. Where I fish, its not uncommon to hook a fish 20lbs or more and the average is in the low to mid teans, so you have to be prepared. Go too light and you either have to tire the fish to exhaustion, or you just loose a lot of flies and tippet material... My .02cents.


Active Member
I fished for Chum on the Skagit last Friday (Nov 15th) and did very well using a cerise (brite pink) bunny leach on a size 2-1/0 hook. I used a type 3 sink tip. I was with Rob Endsley (who is an awesome guide) and we fished lots types of water but found best success in water that went from 2.5 feet to a quick drop off to 8 feet of depth. The fish took from mid drift to the swing. Black egg sucking leaches worked as well.

I would suggest you look for areas with a lot of spawning fish and then wade out (don't walk through the redds) and fish to the fish holding in deeper water. The fish that are on the move but currently resting seem to be the best takers. I would not fish to the ones holding on a redd.

Also bring some small egg patterns as well. We landed some nice dollies in the 18-24 inch range on these fishing below some redds (and a 15 -19 lb buck chum that decided to chow an egg tied on a size 10 trout hook). Just watch the foul hooking of the chums

The river is probably blown out, especially below the Sauk right now and won't clear for a few days.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
My best success chum fishing has always been at or near tidewater. I like playing for bright fish, with lice on them. They are hot and fast and beat you up good. And an eight weight would be tested mightily then.My nine weight gets hammered by them in those spots. Outgoing tide off a low or shallow bar with a bend in it has always been best and my favorite times are when the fish are holding on the flats in 1-3 feet of water. They will chase pollywogs too, and I have caught them on big dry flys waked on the swing- like skating a steelhead fly in summer! Chums! Pass the SALT! I never saw so many people keeping chums to take home till I moved to washington. I asked a guy who was lugging home a few big colored up ugly chums; Hey, what are you going to do with those things?... I figured he had a sled dog team or something...He says: " Im going to smoke them!" Well geez... if you think tobacco is bad for you, just wait and see what happens when you start puffing on one of those babys!Favorite leader set up has been 4-8 feet level 10 lb mono, Maxima has been fine,sometimes 12 pound in faster water. And for flies I like bunnies, leeches,streamers; gaudy, lots of flash, sizes from 2-6. They'll take a glo bug too, any size or color but 2-4 seems right.I only use single barbless hooks. I usually fish a dry line and adjust the weight of the flies at the vise. Sometimes I use a sink tip but thats a way to snag salmon too. You have to avoid the big deep wet fly swing thing with a sink tip.Keep it simple and, as a suggestion, stay out of the water at first and really search for them near shore, in shallow water. You'll be surprised at how you can catch them at your feet without getting wet. Most people wade too soon and too far and too deep. it just pushes fish away.
landed and released to spawn my first estuary chum today (whoopee!)....foul hooked in the gill plate on a green and cerise wooly bugger pattern - not sure if he was eating or swimming with his mouth open. Found all that Little Stone says to be true - it's a blast to boot. Hard not to snag the salmon when 100's would rush by my fly and jump on my floating line.

Great experience to have 100's of fish so close....most of the gear guys today were the decent sort, but their hook setting speed was about as close as you can get to snagging that I could see - mach 4 on the reef back- at least they did not have buzzbombs and 4/0 trebles that I have heard of elsewhere. Did see some dark fish walk off...nasty things they are.

jim W