Silver Salmon thrive in Alaskan coastal waters from Southeast to Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea and the Yukon River. They are found all along the American west coast from Alaska to as far south as San Francisco Bay, and continue along the opposite side of the North Pacific Ocean, from the Arctic Sea to the shores of Korea and Japan. Almost any accessible fresh-water locations may feature large numbers of these formidable fish, nor are they strangers to saltier waters. Successful populations have been introduced into the Great Lakes and other freshwater regions. Campbell River in Vancover, Canada bills itself as “the Salmon Capital of the World”, and is a perfect location to behold, and take advantage of, their yearly spawning runs.
Spending the majority of their adult lives in the ocean, dark blue backs and silver sides make up the coloration of these fish. After at least one year in the salt water, Silver Salmon begin the yearly run. When spawning they develop bright pink or rose shading along their bellies. Spawning males develop large teeth and a strongly hooked snout, and display slight arches in their backs. Mature females may have darker red skin color than males, and both sexes retain pronounced hooks on their noses. Adults average seven to 11 pounds in weight, and up to 28 inches in length. The record for Coho Salmon is 33 pounds, 4 ounces, from the Salmon River in Pulaski, New York.
Coho feed on plankton and insects while in freshwater Watersheds and small tributaries, switching to a diet of small fishes upon reaching adulthood and the open seas, one to two years after birth. They are opportunistic feeders, taking herring, smelt, anchovies, and krill, but also have been known to splurge on squid, crab larvae, and other small salmon. Migration is limited to a few hundred miles from rivers where they were born. They habitually follow the shoreline, making steep rock walls prime spots from which to cast. Offshore the best Coho fishing may be as much as 20 miles out, where they follow bait balls.
From beaches and banks, as well as boats, Silver Salmon school in places accessible by almost everyone ready to be amazed. The thrill of watching Silvers track and chase down bait and lures is only a precursor to amazing aerial feats once hooked. Once landed, they continue to pay dividends as one of the tastiest fish around, with Silvers caught from the ocean regarded to have better flavor, due to higher fatty content. Obviously extremely important for commercial as well as sport fish, Silver Salmon remain valuable fish for many good reasons.
The Almaco Jack is generally dusky-hued with sides decorated by faint olive or amber colored stripes. Its football-shaped body is less elongated and more flattened than most other species of Jack. Dark brown or dark blue-green coloration is indicative of Almaco’s upper bodies and lower fins. Pelvic fins are white, while the belly is lightly shaded, sometimes almost lavender or tending towards brassy. This fish is distinguished by a black, diagonal band which begins at the upper lip and crosses the eye towards the top of the head. Its high dorsal fin lowers to a small gap then continues tapering in small spikes that reach the tail. Its forked tail fins are elongated to resemble two sickles. Most commonly taken at weights between 15-30 pounds, it is able to get much larger, reaching upwards of 90 pounds. The world record for Almaco Jack is 78 pounds.
Rarely seen near shore or reefs, Albaco Jacks prefer to cruise alone or in small groups beyond the surf. Their ideal habitat is open water ranging from 15 to 400 feet in depth, often stalking offshore oil and gas platforms, wrecks and reefs. This fast-swimming predator feeds day and night on invertebrates such as squid, baitfish, and other smaller fish. It is purported to spawn offshore at various times throughout the spring, summer, and fall, depending on water temperature and latitude. Juveniles are most often found living among sargassum beds or other floating objects.
This fish is respected for having great stamina. It is a strong, stubborn runner that will continually resist, pull, and dive deep, providing great battles that can last a long time. Almaco Jacks have an interesting habit of removing skin-based parasites by rubbing against passing sharks, and have even been known to mistake the identity of scuba divers, doing the same to them. Once landed and brought to shore this fish tastes especially good when grilled or broiled.