(King, Spring, Tyee)
The Patriarch of the
Salmon family, largest of all the species, they also live the longest. This Pacific
Salmon averages 33 to 38 inches in length and weighs about 30 lbs.
a life cycle of 3 to 7 years, these salmon remain out in the ocean longer than
any other species, accounting for their dominant size. Off Vancouver Island, 40
and 50 pounders are not uncommon.
Year-round angling sees the larger
catches in Summer/Fall, while Winter/Spring gives great angling for dinner-size
winter springs. Ocean and river angling can prove to be tackle busting if not
properly equipped. Sheer brute strength and powerful long runs, when hooked, describe
the fighting qualities of these magnificent salmon.
They are the most popular
game fish of the salmon family, as well as being one of the most valuable commercial
species. The coho is usually 20 to 26 inches in length and 8 to 12 lbs in weight,
with a 3 to 5 year life cycle.
Coho have the reputation, pound for pound,
of being by far the best fighting salmon. Around Vancouver Island, 20 pound Coho
can seem to be the norm in the Fall months.
Available through most of
the summer, their size increases till late Fall spawning. The ocean, estuaries
and rivers are great places to hook these aggressive salmon. Troll bucktail flies
in the ocean and flyfish estuaries and rivers for these awesome fighters. Acrobatic
leaps, tail-walks and screaming reels account for the popularity of these fighting
Sockeye Salmon (Red, Kokanee)
sockeye is rated as the best eating salmon by virtue of its delectable taste.
There are saltwater (Sockeye ) and freshwater (Kokanee, lake-locked) species.
They are very similar in appearance, except that the saltwater sockeye attains
a larger length and weight.
A plankton feeder, the Sockeye Salmon can
reach weights of over 10 lbs, and are usually about 20 to 24 inches in length.
The flesh is often blood-red, with a high oil content and a great flavour.
You can intercept these very streamlined salmon in the summer months in the
ocean and rivers of BC. Sockeye are generally known to be hard to catch, but when
hooked on light tackle, they are strong determined fighters.
Salmon (Humpback, Humpie)
most prolific of the salmon family, a pink reaches 20 to 26 inches in length and
averages 3 to 6 lbs in weight . Although they are the smallest of the Pacific
Salmon, they can attain weights of over 10 lbs.
A two year life cycle
makes every other year a "pink year", as the pinks return to their spawning
river after only a couple of years plankton feeding in the ocean, unlike other
species of salmon which mature after 3 to 5 years at sea.
The male pink
develops a prominent hump between the head and dorsal fin when returning to their
river spawning grounds, hence the name "humpie". This summer angling fish is easy
to catch and is a great introduction to fishing for children and novices. If you're
angling on a "pink year", you're almost guaranteed to catch your legal limit of
Chum Salmon (Dog, Keta)
A very underrated salmon,
with great fighting ability and a growing popularity. A mature chum is about 26
inches in length and averages 10 lbs in weight. There are lots of larger fish
in the 20 to 30 lb range. Another two year life cycle salmon, and also a plankton
Prior to spawning, the appearance of the males is shocking, as
their lower jaw protrudes to display a sharp set of teeth, hence the name "dog
salmon" (or keta, the Russian word for dog).
Chums are most distinguishable
by the large and distinct dark purple vertical bars along their sides when close
to spawning. A strong, scrappy salmon that's very aggressive in freshwater, making
them a great fly fishing challenge in our rivers.
Contact us if you need more information, have a question or need a guide service
on southern Vancouver Island.
Pacific Salmon Spawn - The Return of the Salmon
by Bruce Whittington