Friday, August 5, 2011

Know your Alaska Salmon

This is a time of year which often finds my sons and I in the far, far north of Alaska, fishing for salmon.  Other commitments, and a sufficiency of fillets from last year, are keeping me closer to home this time.

But in case you go, here is a handy field guide to Alaska salmon.

King Salmon.
aka (lower 48 states name) Chinook
Size: 20 – 80 pounds!
Fun to catch factor-very high
Good to eat-smoked is best.
How to catch ‘em-usually river fishing, from boat or bank...we caught this guy white water rafting!

By way of reference, fisherman is 6 foot 1

Silver Salmon
aka Coho
Size: 10 -20 pounds
Fun to catch factor-very high
Good to eat-not bad, you tend to catch so many of them that you have lots to tinker with different recipes
How to catch ‘em-river fishing and especially in the bays as they wait to run upstream.  Boat fishing the usual rule.

note the variable levels of enthusiasm on display

Red Salmon
aka Sockeye
Size: 5 -10 pounds
Fun to catch factor- medium
Good to eat-probably the best of the bunch.  
How to catch ‘em-river bank fishing
After a long fruitless day on another river, we caught our limit next to where we were camping!

Pink Salmon
aka Humpbacked
Size: 5-15 pounds
Fun to catch factor-medium.  When they are running they are present in massive numbers.  You could get sore arms.
Good to eat-nah, not really
How to catch ‘em-bank fishing.  You could probably walk over and club ‘em with a stick.

Here are roughly a bazillion pink salmon trying to get back to the hatchery they came from! Go Away! A chilling prospect to any parents who worry about adult children returning to the nest.

Dog Salmon
aka Chum
Size: I’m told around 10 pounds
Fun to catch factor-seemed very elusive…we could see them but not persuade them to bite.
Good to eat-name comes from their use as sled dog chow.  Even the dogs would prefer something better.
How to catch ‘em-you are asking the wrong fishermen.  This proved to be the White Whale for my serious fishing son, obsessive hours spent to no result.
We'll get you yet.

No, this one is not a salmon at all.  Just keeping you on your toes.

It’s a ling cod, perhaps the most repulsive fish we have every caught.

How to catch ‘em-deep sea fishing
Fun Factor-mostly just showing it off, reeling it in is like winching up an old stump. (which would be more attractive, come to think of it).
Good to eat-allegedly.  I was unimpressed.

1 comment:

next door Laura said...

Forget sharks. That lingcod is why you won't find me swimming in the ocean. Ewww.