Pink salmon or Oncorhynchus gorbuscha is the smallest Salmonidae species found in the Pacific waters weighing on average between 3 and 5 pounds with length of 20-25 inches. Like all the species of the salmon genus these are cold water fish which are highly valued both among sport fish admirers and those who fish for commerce. The humpback salmon (the common name for Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are the most numerous salmon in the Pacific and have been fished for and canned in Alaska since the late 1800’s. In this article we are going to dwell upon the humpback salmon as one of the top sport and commercial fish species of the Pacific coast.
Pink Salmon Identification
Young humpback salmon are completely silver and don’t have any kind of distinctive spots or bars. When in salt water, adults are bright green-blue on top and silvery on the sides. Their bodies are covered with tiny scales. When adults are ready to spawn and are going back to natal fresh waters they develop multiple large dark spots on their back and along the tail. By the time males return to the streams they get a hooked jaw and a huge hump as well as change their color up to black (with white belly). Females turn olive green with dark gold or lavender patches and bright white belly.
Young individuals eat larval insects, plankton, crustaceans like water fleas and side swimmers. Larger pink salmon consume possum shrimp and small fish. Humpback salmon are often mixed with red or sockeye salmon. Both red and pink salmon fishing are essential parts of economics of the Pacific coastline states. Although these species have many features in common, there are some distinctive traits which differentiate them. Sockeye are bigger and turn blue during their spawning period, while humpbacks are the smallest Salmonidae in the Pacific. Red salmon is considered to be an endangered species and is mentioned in the nature protection list of the Northwest.
Humpback salmon Fishing
Although the fish are tiny comparing to their close relatives (a King salmon, for instance), pink salmon meat is very valued and makes up a significant part of the coastline people diet. It is important to know basic facts about the fish behavior, habitat and nutrition preferences before going fishing to be able to find the best spot and the most beneficial time for the best results.
- Consult the pink salmon fishing calendar to find out the best time.
- Look for tidelines, where small fish and plankton congregate.
- Get advice from the local fishermen or at the bait shops regarding where the trusted spots are located.
- Use pink lure, fishermen say it is ideal for humpbacks.
Delicious pink salmon meat is appreciated not only by humans: fish, birds and small mammals prey on salmon eggs and fry. Wolves, river otters, bald eagles and bears hunt for humpbacks when they migrate to spawning habitats. In the ocean adult individuals can be eaten by sharks, whales, marine mammals and coastline birds.