Saltwater Salmon Information

Saltwater Salmon

Saltwater Salmon General Information

The king salmon, or chinook, is the largest of the pacific salmon. Their range is from Monterey California to Point Hope Alaska. They are an anadromous species and most pacific coast rivers that provide adequate flows, temperatures and habitat suitable for ascending, spawning, and rearing young sustain king salmon runs. There may be up to three runs per year; spring, summer, and fall.

The average weight for California strains on chinook is around 18-22 pounds with the record fish weighing in at just over 50 pounds. The largest kings come from Alaska where 50 to 60 pound fish are common.

King salmon return to the river of their birth at ages from 2 to 7 years. While out to sea they have been known to migrate across the north Pacific and trips of over 7,000 miles have been recorded. The longest spawning run is the Yukon River, Alaska in which the fish must swim close to 2,000 miles up river. Salmon use a combination of smell, solar navigation, visual clues, and an awareness of length of days, light intensities, and other factors to navigate.

King salmon spawn I beds of course gravel, 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The female digs out a nest, called a redd, with her tail and body. The female then deposits her eggs while the male simultaneously fertilizes them with jets of milt. The eggs then adhere to the bottom of the nest. The eggs are covered with gravel. The female may build more than one redd over several days. Both male and females die within a few days after spawning. The decaying flesh of the dead parents provide food for organism which the fry feed upon after leaving the nest. The fry stay in the nest for 2 to 3 weeks after hatching and may remain in the river system for up to 18 months before heading out to sea.

Trolling with downriggers is usually done by rigging an anchovy 4 to 6 feet behind a flasher, setting the proper depth and moving at 3 to 5 knots. Trolling at depths up to 80 feet can be can be managed, depending on the current, by using a sinker release and a 2 to 3 pound cannonball sinker with a 4' leader rigged with anchovy or sardine. Hootchies and Rotary salmon killers are common devices used in combination with the bait.

 Mooching is done with a 2 to 3 foot leader as light a weight as possible to control the line at the desired depth. Usually weights are under one pound. The leader is threaded through the bait, anchovy, sardine, or herring with the hook being set in the head of the bait. A half hitch is tied around the tail of the bait. Best results come from slowly working the bait through the depth range of the salmon. The bait is most often taken during a slow retrieve.

Saltwater Salmon Articles & Reports

California Recreational Ocean Salmon Season To Opening On April 5

California Recreational Ocean Salmon Season To Opening On April 5

Written By: Dan Bacher,
April 8, 2014

The long-awaited recreational salmon fishing season will open in California’s ocean waters on Saturday, April 5, 2014, from Horse Mountain in Humboldt County (40° 05' 00" N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the...

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Boats Get Ready For Salmon Opener

Written By: David Hurley,
April 3, 2014

The opening day of salmon season on April 5 looks promising, as drag boats working the Deep Reef and below the Farallon Islands are seeing some salmon by-catch.

Half Moon Bay Sport Fishing reported not much has been happening over the...

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Optimism High For April 5 Salmon Opener

Written By: David Hurley,
April 3, 2014

The salmon opener is rapidly approaching and Captain Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing has been working on getting both the Surf Scoter and the New Sea Angler ready for the upcoming salmon season. The boats have recently returned...

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Tips & Tactics for Saltwater Salmon

How To Mooch Up A Salmon Dinner

How To Mooch Up A Salmon Dinner

Written By: Cal Kellogg

The conditions were ideal. It was late summer and a dense fog hung over the dark water. The groundswell was low and the surface was dotted...

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Deadly Salmon Trolling Techniques Using Hot Spot Flashers!

Deadly Salmon Trolling Techniques Using Hot Spot Flashers!

Written By: FishSniffer Staff

Designed and produced by successful fishermen, Hot Spot’s deadly trolling approaches have been proven to catch more and bigger salmon time...

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Anchovy, I Love You!

Anchovy, I Love You!

Written By: Cal Kellogg

Just the other day I found myself setting on a deer stand on a ridge high in the Tahoe National Forest. The hunting was great except for...

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Saltwater Salmon Locations

Saltwater Salmon Locations

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