Salmon identification

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by Mark_Schilling, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Joined:
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    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    After dabbling with fishing a few times on various West Coast trips in the last few years, I finally managed to land a few salmon this year during a 13 day trip from Quatsino Sound down to the north side of the Brooks Peninsula. Nothing too huge but they were all legal (and tasty!).

    Not having any past experience or anything else to directly compare my fish with, I found identification a bit challenging. I believe all the fish I caught are Coho (some hatchery, some wild as evidenced by the missing or intact adipose fin). Would anyone care to confirm or correct my ID's please? I didn't have any way to accurately weigh them, but the largest was about 21" long and likely in the range of 4-5lbs (plenty big enough for the two of us since, in the case of the first two, I didn't have any way to keep them fresh long enough to bring home).

    Day 4 was my first catch; a smallish fish. This was caught just southeast of Sutil Point, near the northern shores of the Brooks Peninsula. Caught on a Coyote spoon 5.0, "Cop Car" with a small herring dodger.



    By Day 10 I was getting a bit demoralized but finally caught another fish. This time I was trolling alongside the Quatsino lighthouse at Kains Island with a few other recreational fishing boats. This salmon was caught on a different coloured (green/white/red) Coyote spoon, with the same dodger. We may have photos of this on a different camera (I'll have a look...). Also got a nice red snapper (yelloweye rockfish) which was delicious pan-fried in tempura batter!


    Day 12 was another windy day, so rather than slog out to the lighthouse and back (and risk getting blown into the rocks while trying to land a fish!) I stayed in the lee of the Hunt Islets where we were camped. To my surprise, I caught another fish here - larger than the last two. This was on a Coyote only, no dodger.



    Finally, on the way back, I figured I may as well put a line down as we made our way back from the Hunt Islets (3km north of the Kains Island lighthouse) to our launch spot, a logging camp near the Mahatta River. I had a long line down, trolling quickly (5-6km/hr) with just a 4"W Buzz Bomb. Approaching Koskimo Island, I figured I'd better bring the line in before getting snagged in the narrow channel. As I reeled in, I saw two good sized fish swim under the kayak - they were following the lure so I promptly dropped it again and immediately had a hit. Landed that one, and dropped again just as the wind was picking up. Within a minute I had yet another fish! We were only 1/2hr from the car so we got them on ice within a couple of hours and cleaned them when we got home late that night. Unfortunately I didn't snap any photos before freezing them so I'm not expecting solid ID's on these - I think they're the same as previous fish (the smaller one is a bit twisted from being jammed into the freezer).
     

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  2. justincdst

    justincdst Paddler

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    They look like pinks to me. How do you set up you gear on your kayak. Theres lots of folks out with Hobies but I have CD Sirocco and dont want to poke holes in my deck for rigging...
     
  3. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

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    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    While I enjoy kayak fishing, I mainly paddle for sport and enjoy rough-water paddling. So, there's no way I'm going to change my boat to be better suited to fishing when that's not it's primary use (or my primary interest). So, I don't really do anything special. This is the first year I've even used a net (!), which I secure flat against the rear deck (breaking my own rules) between day hatch and rear hatch covers. For trolling, after setting up the line, I stow my collapsible rod with lightweight spinning reel on the front deck, pointing backwards with the tip of the rod just slightly behind me to the side of the spray deck. I use my contact tow line (short rope with two large carabiners) in double-duty to secure the reel to my perimeter lines in case of a big enough jerk. I usually just set the drag super low to strip the line out as I start paddling, and once I've got enough line out I set it just high enough that no more line gets pulled out but the slightest increase in drag will pull more line.

    If there's any wind at all or I don't feel like setting up for the hassle of trolling, I'll usually just mooch with a buzz-bomb and let the wind and/or current take me. I've started paying more attention to depths by using the Bluechart maps on my Garmin GPS, and fish off a shelf coming up abruptly from deep water. I made a collapsible halibut harpoon (yes, I'm getting optimistic but I did lose a couple of big hali's last year!) and usually just use the wooden handle from it as a fish bonker. So, all of my tackle is stored in the day hatch, except the net (rear deck) and the rod which telescopes down to fit easily in the forward or rear hatch if I'm touring, or secured by under-deck bungees if I'm going out just for the fishing.

    What features makes you think these are pinks and not coho? Some are obviously hatchery fish (they have the adipose scar, and I figured Coho and Chinooks were the most common hatchery fish), and I thought pinks were more rare during odd-numbered years. Just curious - obviously I'm new to this so I'm looking for tips on how to get a solid ID!
     
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Location:
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    Mark,

    I am not any good at differentiating salmon, but the pdf below may help you. Photos of the inside of the jaws will help differentiate springs versus cohos. That first little one looks like a chum, maybe. Compare its tail with the pdf image.

    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regul ... lmonID.p...
    That link may not work. Search on

    How to identify the five salmon species found in alaska

    for the pdf.

    Another resource, perhaps better: http://www.pacificangler.ca/bc-fishing- ... chart.html