In Alaska, all Salmon are on a spectrum of appreciation. Some are more appreciated than others. Of course, you have your King Salmon and Silver Salmon leading that list, followed by Sockeye Salmon, Chum Salmon, and Pink Salmon. Aggressive, tenacious, and will pull and tug with the best of them, Chum salmon is, bar none, the most underappreciated Alaskan Salmon to catch on a fly, but we’re here to tell you it is one of the best Salmon to catch on the fly.
Natural predators, Chum Salmon, eat smaller fish, squid, mollusks, and tunicates. Their aggressive nature and a wide variety of types of sustenance allow for a wide variety of flies that will make Chum Salmon strike. Many anglers who catch fish will sometimes confuse a Chum Salmon for King Salmon on the initial take and won’t know until they land the fish. Most are pleasantly surprised at how good a Chum Salmon will put up a fight. Purple and pink, blue and chartreuse, with squiggly action, not much different than King Salmon, are top fly color favorites of Chum Salmon.
Like any other salmon, if you get them early enough, they are suitable for harvest. Smoked, or cooked, fresh Chum Salmon is good eatin’. Chum Salmon roe is prized because of its size. They have the largest eggs among the Salmon species in Alaska. “Fresh” Chum Salmon usually arrives in late May, usually through the 2nd week of July.
Chum, Keta, or Dog…whatever you call it, we call it a great game fish to catch on the fly, and you should appreciate them too.
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