View Full Version : Saltwater to freshwater salmon

08-24-2005, 04:05 PM
I have never caught any salmon in fresh water. My question is, in what way does the meat change after the fish has gone into fresh water?


08-24-2005, 06:12 PM
Whan salmon enter freshwater they start to deteriorate and the dying process begins. Th emeat will get lighter color. Most salmon caught in freshwater are still in great shape until they get deep spawning coloration and eventually there body gets white rotted parts on it, but until then they are still perfect for eating.

08-24-2005, 06:50 PM
the ocean salmon tastes better than the river salmon, but nothing beats fresh fish.

08-24-2005, 06:59 PM
Ocean salmon definitely tastes better than river salmon. I've caught some bright chrome salmon in the rivers that tasted a bit diluted in flavor ... less salt?? Or is it that they haven't eaten in a while, since what they eat affects the flavor of the meat. I've heard that salmon feeding on krill offshore early in the season taste the best.

08-25-2005, 05:29 AM
I caught a couple of lake chinook, one at Berryessa and one at Don Pedro...to tell you the truth, the meat on the lake chinooks paled in comparison to the chinooks out in the ocean.

Now with that said, the Kokanee's meat was the same color if not more darker orange as the chinooks from the ocean.

08-25-2005, 08:35 AM
Think of it this way. When a salmon enters brackish water, they stop eating and their esophagus closes. The rest of the energy left in the body of the salmon is all a salmon has left to run up river and spawn. The major change in body color to red occurs because the fish actually is burning itself out from the outside in. First to go are the scales that the fish no longer really needs. Whats left? Raw red flesh and and gradually white mottling by bacterial infections on the necrotic tissues. Gradually, the other tissues give up their energy to keep the fish going. Fish now spawns with zero energy left, rolls over, and dies.

08-25-2005, 02:45 PM
I was going to have a nice salmon dinner tonight, but "bacterial infections on the necrotic tissues" just caused me to lose my apetite.


08-25-2005, 03:33 PM
I was going to have a nice salmon dinner tonight, but "bacterial infections on the necrotic tissues" just caused me to lose my apetite.


Wishn ... nothing like a little soy sauce to help mask the bitterness. ;D

08-26-2005, 07:13 AM
Not all salmon stop feeding. Some will still feed while in the river. Depends on how long they have to swim up river and what kind of food is avaliable. Other salmon like Sockeye quit feeding completely as soon as they enter the freshwater.
I believe there was a topic earlier about fish meat color. I think it was on bottomfish. Salmon meat will be pale depending on water temps and food they eat. Sockeye are deep red because they feed on krill only. King and Coho salmon are darker early in the season when they are still feeding on krill and goes lighter when they feed on Baitfish and begin to get ready for spawning. When water temps are really warm like in a shallow lake trout will be pale because thier meat gets mushy and they do not feed as much as when they are in cooler water temps.

14_blast- the Kokes normally have dark colored meat since they are a landlocked from of the Sockeye. And besides Sockeye meat being dark from eating krill, They are the fish with the darkest pink(red) meat.

08-26-2005, 08:00 AM
No saltwater salmon are known to feed once they enter fresh water. That includes winter run kings and springers that spend the summer in the river before spawning. Yukon River kings hold the record. Some swim over 2,000 miles up river without eating anything. Spawning salmon switch over their metabolism to self digestion as described in the posts above. Some strains actually start the process before they enter fresh water. The first thing they do is to start living off of stored fat. The oxidation of this fat is what gives river salmon (and even spawners still in the ocean) the "off" taste. Once they hit the rivers, it takes only a week or so before they undergo the dramatic change in form that is characteristic river salmon. Winter and spring run salmon start to look more like trout until late summer or fall when they they get the typical dark or red coloration of active spawners. The meat of river salmon becomes light in color as the pigment stored in the muscle from eating crustaceans in the ocean gets transported to the eggs of the females and the skin of the males. After the fat stores are used up, the fish start to digest their internal organs and their muscle tissue. That's when the meat gets mushy as well as off tasting.

08-26-2005, 12:36 PM
what disstressor says is what i've read as well. their esophagus constricts and becomes hard like a plate rendering them unable to swallow. so the fisherman is not trying to attract the river salmon but rather to threaten or annoy the beast.

08-26-2005, 01:00 PM
Hey Guys,

Thanks for all of the info and postings!!

I love this site!

08-28-2005, 10:14 AM
Another question?

Where in the bay (Benicia, Pittsburg etc) does the saltwater meet the fresh water??


09-01-2005, 03:45 PM
Depends on how much water is sent down south but around pittsburg is close