Deep in the Coast Range, it wasn’t Saquatch that inhaled my roe. My friend Jason and I were catching lots of salmon and I do mean lots, every couple casts type lots of salmon. We even had a simultaneous bobber down double . . . . But we were catching mostly dusky chinook and the occasional bright hot coho thrown in and we were sorting through those fish looking for a chrome chinook or two.
‘Bobber down’ and I set the hook into a pretty hot fish. Hooked not far off the bank, I instantly caught a flash of purplish red tiger stripes. “Dude, this thing’s a chum!”
“Are you sure?” Jason asked incredulous.
“I think so.” While not so for folks in Alaska, BC or Washington, in these parts calling “chum” is a big deal. I had never caught one in Oregon. There are two stable populations, one in the streams draining into Tillamook Bay and the other in the Yaquina. According to the Oregon Native Fish Stock Status Report, the Oregon Coastal chum SMU consists of 13 populations, eight of which exist, three of which are extinct and two are presumed extinct. In the river system we were fishing, the chum is presumed extinct. Does this look extinct?