Pacific Salmon in the West

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Where to fish for salmon or the Chinook or the king salmon. The pacific salmon range from California to Alaska. These anadromous species can be found in most pacific coastal waters, streams and rivers that have a good flow of water and temperature as well as a suitable habitat for going up to spawn. You will find that they may be as many as three spawns per year, spring ,summer, fall.
The average size of the Chinook can be from 16 to 20 lb. but you will see larger fish up to 55 lb. taken from the remote areas along the pacific coast .From BC Alaska you can catch the largest or the Chinook. Fish up to 65 lb. which are common have been taken from the coastal areas.
The Chinook will return to the river in which they spawned from at the age of 2 to 7 years old. The salmon will travel over 7000 miles at sea to return to its spawning grounds. One of the longest river spawns is the 2000 miles battle up the Yukon River located in the state of Alaska.
With the advancement of man a lot of the smaller streams have been choked of with pollution and silt from local construction. Some of the streams have been filled in for housing and commercial use. There has been a increase of volunteers to clean up the streams and repair the gravel spawning grounds. With some success the salmon have slowly been returning to these devastated areas.
The salmon use solar navigation ,smell, day light and rain fall to help guide them to the spawning grounds. Most need a gravel bed of course gravel to spawn in. The female will dig out a spot and lay her eggs and the male will fertilize the eggs with jets of milt. Both fish die with in days of spawning.
The spawning fish feed many bears ,bird like the eagles and people on the run up to their spawning grounds. The decaying fish supply food for the river or stream organisms which provide food for the fry after the hatch. The fry will spend up to 18 months in the river and stream systems before heading out to sea to repeat the process all over 
Before you fish for salmon you will need to check the regulations in the area you are planning to fish in every area will have different regulations. Time to fish size limits and the number of the fish you may keep. State and Provincial Regulations must be followed as the fines can be very large if you get caught fishing with out the proper license or are out of season. Always check with the regulatory body for the area you will be fishing in. Better to have what you need than to lose a boat or vehicle or go to jail.
If fishing in early spring or late summer or in the fall be aware that you may see bears of all sizes after all you are fishing in their favorite spot. Give them a wide berth they are hungry and will protect their territory. Better to play safe than to have a bad encounter you will lose if you come into contact with a bear.
Trolling from a boat will help you avoid the bears. The down rigger is very popular to get the bait down to the level to which the salmon are at. Trolling depth will vary from 10 ft to 150 ft a lead cannon ball from 2 to 10 lb. will be used .Hootches , and anchovies work in most location best to check with the local guides to find out what is working on the given days you are fishing.
No matter what you fish with or which method you use a Chinook salmon will give you a fight you will not soon forget.

Fishing - 1/17/2015 by: Charles


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