Generally, salmon is the name for numerous species of fish of the family Salmonidae and some other species in the family are called trout. This species can be found in Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and in Great Lakes as well. They are survivors of the Ice Age and have endured various storms and still continued to flourish.
The name initially refers to the Atlantic Salmon and now also refers to the five species of Pacific Salmon such as:
Chinook or King – The largest of the Pacific salmon with some species growing more than 100 lbs. Run in the spring and has an average size of 10 to 15 lbs and may even reach up to 135 lbs. The texture is soft, very rich in oil, and separates into large flakes, making it excellent for salads and recipes calling for large pieces.
Sockeye or Red – Run from late spring all through out the summer and contain less oils than kings. It contains red meat and considerate amount of oil. It has firm texture with an average size of 5 to 8 lbs the biggest may even reach up to 15lbs.
Coho or Silver – Run in the fall and usually found in coastal streams and tributaries, and is often present in small neighborhood streams. It is excellent in all dishes. The average size reaches from 6 to 12 pounds and even up to 31 pounds).
Chum or Dog – Large flaked, very light in color, low in oil, and is especially appropriate for cooked dishes where color is less important. During spawning male chum salmon develop large “teeth”, which resemble canine teeth. Has an average size of 10 to 15 pounds and can even reach up to 33 pounds.
Pink or Humpback – The smallest of the fall-spawning with an average size of 3 to 5 pounds and can reach up to 12 pounds. During spawning, male pink salmon develop a large hump on their back, hence the humpback nickname. The Pink salmon has glossy silvery skin, very small scales and large dark spots on the back and tail. Its flesh color is light rose pink, the palest of the 5 Pacific salmon species. It has a pleasant, delicate flavor and softer texture than that of the other species
Normally, salmon are Anadromous as the species are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean or salty water then go back to fresh water to reproduce. On the other hand, there are rare species that can only survive in fresh water habitats, this truth makes salmon unique. This is most probably due to the domestication of these certain species of Salmon.
The salmon are plentiful during the summer season but also available all through out the year. They feed on a variety of small fish including capelin, herring, sand eels and sprats and the larger animals found in plankton, especially surface-living crustaceans. In the freshwater they feed on the larvae of aquatic insects and other aquatic invertebrates together with terrestrial insects which fall into the water.
Salmon is one the best known game fish in the world; its popularity some times surpasses even that of Trout. There are three stages on how to catch these species and which includes:
Lake Stage – In the lakes, the species habitually lie around at the thermal level of 53 degree, where bait fishes reside in shoals. Meaning, the angler would just need to mark fish on his fish finder and place downriggers at several depths within 20 feet of marking the greater part where the fish situated.
River Mouth Stage – On the late of summer and early fall, the species begins staying at the mouth of rivers. They wait for a rain until the river water level rises to at least 2 to 3 feet so they can swim to the upper reaches. This swimming movement allows them to lay eggs and consequent incubation. Seizing them at this stage is very remarkable; some anglers utilize spawn bags with a little Styrofoam in them to make them float. Then they just throw out them with a sinker and let the spawn bag float off bottom.
Anglers also use several legal methods such as casting and trolling in the mouths of the river. At this season, the salmon are insistent and agitated and tend to strike rattle baits more than anything else. The majority of anglers use baits that are white, silver or gold in color.
River Stage – Salmon stop feeding when they start to migrate upstream. Most species that are trapped in a small stream are snagged. A good number of anglers like to catch by snagging them. In this period, spawning is their biggest concern. They are very aggressive and territorial in nature and will defend their spawning ground from Rainbow and Brown Trout which chase them up stream to feed on their eggs.
Casting a spinner that has rainbow or brown trout colors, would make the salmon hit the lure or bait. Generally, they hit not to feed but to defend. Occasionally, they will also strike loud colors such as bright red or bright yellow. This weakness in color sensitivity can be used against the fish to lure them.