Chum salmon have a public relations problem. The common names for this fish – chum or dog salmon – don’t conjure an appealing image. A while back, chums were marketed as “silver brites” which for some reason didn’t work out. Now they are sold as “Keta” – the taxonomic species name for the fish.
Most anglers new to the North Pacific don’t even know chum exist. Those that do often look down their noses at them as a lesser salmon compared to silvers and kings. This is understandable if your exposure to chums is near the river where they have turned to dark calico spawning colors and their food value isn’t that great. A mint bright chum, especially the males, caught on the ocean is a powerful fighter and a fine eating fish. It’s an excellent fish to smoke.
We caught three chrome bright chums the other day on my boat. They each fought as hard as a king of equivalent size. All would easily pass as a silver to the untrained eye. Cooked for dinner, they’d be hard to distinguish from a silver. We don’t target chums, they just show up randomly in our catch. If you happen into a bright buck chum, you’ll have your hands full fighting it and you won’t regret bringing it home to eat.