The tale is in the tail

The five species of Pacific salmon and proper identification during the summer fishing season is always on an angler’s mind.

Many times in the past, I have seen people struggle to identify fresh salmon. Well, if you follow a few simple rules of thumb you will be a salmon expert.

Yes, the size of the salmon is something to consider first – pink and sockeye are about the same size, coho a bit larger, a chum even more so, and of course the king of all salmon, the chinook, are the largest.

But I feel the best way to identify the species is to start with the tail of the fish.

Chinook arrives in most rivers first, in particular the Kitimat River. The chinook have many spots on the tail and have a larger tail than all species.

The pink salmon arrive next, and while they also possess many spots on the tail, the spots are quite round, whereas a chinook’s are quite oval and smaller.

Next the chum arrive, and when fresh, the purple bars on its side are not as easy to see in the salt water. Once they hit the river and start to break down and change colour, the purple bars and the prominent teeth and jaw are a dead giveaway. Also, the chum have no spots on the tail.

The Kitimat River does get a run of sockeye, which are not for retention so they must be released. The sockeye also have no spots on the tail but they are quite smaller than the chum and their eyes are larger for their body size.

The last salmon to enter the river is the coho and you can be easily mislead into thinking it’s a small chinook or even a steelhead. Just remember, you cannot kill a steelhead on the Skeena system.

The coho are easily identifiable as they only have a few spots along the top of the tail, whereas chinook and steelhead possess many spots.

The regulations booklet will tell you about the tail and mouth identification – I disregard all mouth info, from black gums to white mouth.

It’s all about the tail! It tells the tale all the time.

PS – important notice – as of this week Skeena sockeye is off limits this year due to low stock.

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

How the provincial budget will play out in northwestern B.C.

Price of gasoline to rise and expect MSP premiums to disppear

Snow bikers have a lucky escape on Claque Mountain

Their experience highlights the importance of being properly prepared in the backcountry

Access to naloxone kits made easier

They’re now available from pharmacies

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Cariboo woman raises funds for Seizure Investigation Unit beds at VGH

VGH Foundation gets VCH approval to begin fundraising for SIU beds; local efforts are paying off

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadian’s to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Most Read