Unlocking the Mystery of Willapa Bay: Chasing the Chum Fry

Nestled along the Pacific Northwest coast lies Willapa Bay, a place shrouded in mystery and teeming with life. For four years, we have called the city of Ilwaco home, surrounded by the allure of the bay's secrets. Among these mysteries is the elusive coastal cutthroat trout, rumored to inhabit these waters, yet their presence remains an enigma.

In our time here, we've become very acquainted with the freshwater realms where cutthroat thrive, debunking the misconception that they completely vanish during certain seasons. Sure some times of year are better than others but they persist year-round, a testament to their resilience and adaptability. In saying that we do know that they go in and out of the salt.  We have the tide water game figured out in the rivers but when it comes to Willapa Bay we dont know where they go. As April dawns upon us, the rivers surge with life as cutthroat feast on the abundance of chum fry, painting a breathtaking spectacle of nature's cycle.

However, as much as we long to delve into the vastness of Willapa Bay, its complexities pose a formidable challenge. Shallow waters, treacherous obstacles, and erratic weather patterns deter even the most seasoned explorers. Yet, we are undeterred in our quest to unravel the mysteries that lie beyond the river's edge.

Our current strategy hinges on the chum fry, a beacon guiding us into uncharted territory. We hypothesize that where the fry roam, the cutthroat shall follow. It's a theory rooted in the understanding of nature's interconnectedness, where prey leads predators to their domain. It is also something we have witnessed time after time in Puget Sound.

This past weekend, we scoured the northern reaches of Long Island, where chum fry dance in abundance, tantalizing our senses with the promise of discovery. We fished almost the entire outgoing tide with crystal clear water. Yet, despite our vigilance, the elusive cutthroat elude our grasp, leaving us to ponder their whereabouts.

Perhaps it's premature, our timing misaligned with nature's rhythm as cutthroat linger in the rivers, savoring the remnants of the chum fry buffet. Or perhaps, there are intricacies yet to be unveiled, secrets hidden beneath the murky depths of Willapa Bay.

Nonetheless, our resolve remains unshaken. Armed with patience and perseverance, we continue our pursuit, determined to crack the code that eludes us. Different times of year, tides, weather will all be checked.  Each expedition brings us closer to unraveling the mysteries of Willapa Bay and forging a deeper connection with its inhabitants.

As we follow the chum fry, we embark on a journey of discovery. In the heart of Willapa Bay, where mysteries abound and adventure awaits, we stand ready to unlock the secrets that lie beneath the surface. Be sure to tune into this blog to see what we uncover.



Sunny 60 Degrees

Water Clarity - Crystal Clear 

Tide - High Outgoing 

Date - March 24, 2024

Time of Day 12:30-5:15pm 

Chum Fry - Present 

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