Fishing for Salmon? Do You Know the Different Salmon Species?
Did you know that there are five species of Pacific salmon and one species of Atlantic salmon? Further, did you know that all 5 species of Pacific salmon run wild in Alaska?
We're proud of our wild salmon here in Alaska, and rightly so. On the one hand the wild salmon are great sport fish and we Alaskans love to spend gorgeous summer weekends challenging them.
On the other hand our commercial fisheries are healthy and self-sustaining. They are able to catch enough wild salmon to satisfy most of the world wide demand for fresh wild fillets in the restaurants and packaged wild salmon on grocery store shelves.
The Chinook salmon is nicknamed king salmon in Alaska. It is the official Alaska state fish.
Of all the Pacific salmon the king is the largest. A 97-pound king was caught by a sport fisherman in 1986 on the Kenai River. In 1949 a 126 pound king was caught commercially near Petersburg, Alaska. Typically king salmon weigh 30 pounds and above.
The king is lightly and irregularly spotted on their blue-green back. They also have a black pigment along their gum line. Spawning kings in fresh water range in color from red to copper to almost black.
All species of Pacific salmon hatch in fresh water, spend part of their life cycle in the ocean, then return to fresh water to spawn.
The king salmon generally live 5 to 7 years, though they can mature by their second to third year. As a result the kings in a spawning run can vary greatly in size. A mature 3-year old may only weigh 4 pounds while a mature 7-year old may exceed 50 pounds.
The young king salmon feed on plankton and insects during their fresh water period. During their second year they migrate to the ocean where they grow rapidly.
Some kings make immense spawning migrations. For example, many of the Yukon River kings will migrate over 2,000 miles during a 60 day period to reach the streams and headwaters in Yukon Territory, Canada.
The king salmon has a rich flavor, firm flesh, and a pleasing red color. Kings caught at the mouth of the Yukon River have a huge store of oil in their flesh for their long upriver migration. The result is an extra-rich flavor, much prized among those who love salmon.
The Sockeye salmon is also called the red salmon due to the bright red color of its flesh, and it is the second most abundant salmon species in Alaska.
Sockeye salmon are the slimmest and most streamlined of the 5 species of Pacific salmon. They differ from kings, silvers, and pink salmon by the lack of large black spots, and they differ from chum salmon by having more gill rakers on the first gill.
Sockeye are generally a greenish-blue color with silver sides and a white or silver belly.
During the spawning season the Sockeye males develop a humped back and a hooked jaw. Both male and female Sockeye turn brilliant to dark red as they head upriver to their spawning grounds.
After hatching during the winter and spending a few months in the river gravels, the juvenile Sockeye spend 1 to 3 years in freshwater before migrating to the ocean.
The Sockeye spend 1 to 4 years in the ocean, ranging thousands of miles while feeding and then returning to the same freshwater system where they were born. They reach an average size of 4 to 8 pounds, sometimes reaching in excess of 15 pounds.
Bristol Bay, in southwestern Alaska, annually harvests the largest number of Sockeye salmon in the world. About 10 million to 30 million Sockeye are caught during a short season that lasts only a few weeks.
The Sockeye salmon has an exquisitely rich flavor due to the high concentration of oils. It is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. The rich red flesh color is maintained throughout cooking which results in a beautiful presentation. Some people consider the Sockeye to be the most flavorful of all the salmon species.
Coho salmon are known as silver salmon in Alaska and are an excellent game fish.
Coho salmon have bright silver sides and have small black spots on their back.
Spawning salmon of both sexes develop red to maroon colored sides. The males develop a hooked snout with large teeth.
Juvenile silvers live in ponds and lakes formed by rivers and streams. They generally spend one to three years in the streams and may spend as many as 5 winters in lakes before migrating to the ocean.
Silvers stay in the ocean, where they grow quickly, for about 18 months before returning to their home streams. They weigh from 8 to 12 pounds, but can range up to 31 pounds. Their length ranges from 25 to 35 inches.
The flesh color of silver salmon is orange-red and is retained during cooking. The texture is firm and the fat content is high. The taste is a pleasing full salmon flavor, slightly milder than that of the Sockeye. The size of a fillet is larger than that of the Sockeye, and it is a prized fish for cooking.
Pink salmon are also known as the humpback in Alaska. Prior to spawning the pink salmon develops a pronounced hump on its back.
The color of the pink salmon is generally a bright steely blue on top and silver on the sides. It has many large black spots on its back and over the entire tail fin. It has small scales and its flesh is pink, befitting its name.
The spawning pink salmon develops an olive green to black color on its back with a light-colored to white belly. It develops a very pronounced hump and hooked jaws.
The young pink salmon hatch during the winter and spend a few months in the river gravels. During the spring they migrate downstream to the ocean. They feed along the beaches before moving out further into the ocean.
Like all salmon, the pinks grow rapidly in the ocean but they are the smallest of the Pacific salmon species. The pinks reach a size of about 3 to 5 pounds and about 20 to 24 inches in length.
The pink salmon spends only two years in the ocean. This two year pattern causes distinct odd-year and even-year cycles which are unrelated to each other.
When the pinks return to freshwater, they are the most abundant of the Pacific salmon species. They do not migrate far upriver, but generally spawn within a few miles of the mouth of the river. As with the other Pacific species both male and female pinks will die within a couple of weeks of spawning.
The pink salmon has a delicate, mild flavor and a light flesh color. About 80% of harvested pinks are canned and are the most common salmon species found on grocery store shelves.
Sometimes called "dog salmon" in Alaska, the chum salmon is a traditional source of dried fish for winter use.
Chum salmon have a metallic greenish-blue back surface with fine black spots. They resemble sockeye and silver salmon so closely that one needs to examine their gills and fins closely to make a positive identification.
When nearing fresh water the chum salmon develops noticeable vertical bars of green and purple, which gives them another nickname, calico salmon.
The spawning chums develop the typical hooked jaws like other Pacific salmon and large teeth, which partially accounts for their other nickname, dog salmon.
As with pink salmon, the young chum do not spend much time in fresh water before migrating out into the ocean. They feed near the mouths of their streams for a period before forming schools and moving further out into the ocean.
The chums spend 3 to 5 years in salt water, growing rapidly after entering the ocean. They generally range in size from 7 to 18 pounds, sometimes reaching 30 pounds in weight.
When the chums return to fresh water they often spawn in the same areas as the pinks, not migrating far up river. One major exception to this pattern is the chum salmon population of the Yukon River. Some of these chums migrate 2000 miles upriver to spawn in Yukon Territory of Canada. These chums have a very high fat content in preparation for their long migration.
Chum salmon have a mild, delicate flavor with a medium red flesh color. However, Yukon River chums, with their higher fat content, have a rich, full flavor similar to Kings and Sockeye.
Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific coast but are raised in large numbers in pens. They run wild on the Atlantic coast only. The Atlantic salmon found in markets are farm-raised, generally originating in salmon farms off Chile or British Columbia, Canada.
Atlantic salmon in the wild have silvery sides and belly with greenish-blue coloration on its back.
Spawning Atlantic salmon develop blackish fins and purplish coloration and reddish spots. Surviving adults are dark in color.
In the wild young salmon spend one to three years in fresh water before migrating to the ocean. In the ocean the Atlantic salmon ranges for thousands of miles.
They generally return to freshwater by the age of five. Unlike the five Pacific species of salmon, the Atlantic salmon does not die after spawning. The surviving adults repeat the migration and spawning cycle.
Garry Gamber is a public school teacher and entrepreneur. He writes articles about real estate, health and nutrition, and internet dating services. He is the owner of http://www.Anchorage-Homes.com and http://www.TheDatingAdvisor.com.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
They love fishing, so they set cabins afloat: Wolf River rafts are 'home' to some anglers - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Fish Cooking Basics - How to Transform Those Fish You Just Caught into a Wonderful Seafood Dinner
Fish Cooking Basics I must admit that I have met more than a few fishermen that know every trick in the book to catch fish, but after they have caught it, have no idea what to do with it. So if you are still wondering what you should be doing with those fish you caught, I have some help for you.
Techniques and Tactics For Nymphing
Just like dry fly fishing, there are many, many ways to fish a nymph. Which one you should use really boils down to how skilled you are in nymph fly fishing and what you are attempting to catch and where you are doing it.
The Fishing Industry and Sponsorship
Should you approach the fishing industry for sponsorship?First let's look at it from the lure manufacturer's standpoint. Just think of your favorite lure manufacturer for a minute.
Colorado Fly Fishing - Bait Huckin vs. Fly Fishin
It was one of those fishing trips. You know, everyone catches fish but you, you loose six or eight of your most expensive streamers, it rains buckets, and you sink the boat.
The Fish Dont Care What You Wear
The fish don't care what you wear. Waders, vests and hats for fishermen are necessities to brave the elements.
Get Ready For Bed....Bedding Bass That Is!
It's getting near the time bass will be on their beds. Not just any bass, but trophy size bass in Ohio.
The Things You Wont Look Out For (But Should) When Night Fishing
5 Things To Be Careful of When Night FishingNight fishing can be some of the most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling fishing you ever do in your life. It can also be the most dangerous fishing you ever do as well.
Choosing Steelhead Gear
Steelhead GearLike many things in fly fishing you can ask 10 different fly anglers a single question and you'll get 10 different answers. Asking what steelhead rod one should use for fly fishing is no different.
Online Fishing Forums Change the Way Anglers Fish For Information and Photos
As the landscape of the World Wide Web changes at lightning speed, so do many online trends. Communication and the exchange of information have become instantaneous and the rate at which we can find and receive information is incredible.
Fishing Charter Need To Know
There are several elements that go into creating the ideal charter fishing experience. The most important of these elements are not within the control of the charter service, captain, or the customers:THE WEATHER: By weather, I am not just talking about rain, hail, sleet, snow, fog and other forms of precipitation.
From Personal Belly Boats to High Performance Racers - An Overview of Inflatable Boats
Inflatable boats, also called rubber boats or dinghies, have been around in one form or another for thousands of years. They now come in many different sizes and models and include inflatable kayaks, sport boats, and inflatable catamarans.
Saltwater Fly Fishing in Washington State
When most people think of saltwater fly fishing their minds drift to tropical climates and fish species such as tarpon and bonefish. While the Pacific Northwest lacks the hot weather and the typical saltwater gamefish, it more than makes up for it with outstanding fly fishing and spectacular scenery.
Monster Hunt: Ledge Lunker Blues Part II
Originally published in Procats Online MagazineSettin' It UpOnce Jeff has picked his area by marking the right bottom contour near the thermocline and the right space between the fish and the bottom, he is ready to deploy the drift socks. Williams will usually only use on drift sock or "sea anchor" to set his drift at the right speed and path.
Introduction to Lake Fly Fishing Techniques
Often lake fish will gather in schools and cruise around looking for food, but often it is the small fish that rise to take surface insects while the bigger ones feed in deeper water.Where the fish areFish in lakes aren't much different than fish in rivers.
A Simple Way To Identify and Catch The Big One in River!
River dry fly fishing considered as the purest form of fly fishing inspired generations of writers, artists, poets and even philosophers to wax lyrical about its pleasures.The gist to river dry fly fishing lies in the rise.
Nymph Fishing Techniques
Small stream nymphing is a very productive form of fly fishing. At times, you will not rise a fish to a dry fly.
Swordfishing Fort lauderdale Style
I was laying down on the bow of the boat gazing at the brilliant stars on this moonless night. All of the rods were set out, staggered by depths and distance away from the boat.
Do You Know How to Fillet a Fish?
Finally you've caught the perfect fish. Now, do you know how to fillet your fish? You can't be happier.
The Alaskan Experience
"FISH ON!!"I yelled, as my seven weight fly rod bent over and the line played it's magical tune of "zinging in the rain". It was hard to tell just how big the fish was or if it was a Rainbow or big Dolly Varden.
Do you Know How to Take the Perfect Picture of Your Fish?
Nothing is better than to snap a photo of your big fish that you just caught. You've spent the day out on the lake and then you feel a pull at the line.
|home | site map|