Campbell, Quinsam chum returns exceptional

Neil Cameron

Special to the Mirror

If you were fishing north of Campbell River this fall and had good chum salmon fishing, it was not by accident.

Returns around the coast were exceptional and those returning to the Campbell and Quinsam River systems could be double the average.

“It’s very hard to assess because of the high water but the chum return is higher here and higher throughout the coast,” said Quinsam Hatchery Manager Laurent Frisson.

“It’s a big chum year, period, no matter who you talk to.

“Puntledge (River in Courtenay) had over 80,000 escapement and the fishery in the straights north of us was phenomenal this year,” he said. “Usually we get about 15,000 into our system and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s double that.”

Chum salmon are the late comers of the salmon species, rivaling that of coho salmon.

They usually spawn in the lower reaches of river systems.

As reported in the Campbell River Mirror, they came in historic numbers to the Haig-Brown Kingfisher Creek system this year.

They can still be seen spawning in the Campbell River spawning channels if you walk over the Comox Logging Bridge and turn down the trail to your left.