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The waters around Vancouver Island sees many varieties of Salmon. Below is a list of such same with accompanied by a photo of each one.


Black gums and a silver, spotted tail distinguish the Chinook from other salmonids. It has a lightly spotted blue-green and is the largest, most prized game fish. The Chinook lives from three to seven years. It weighs between 1.5 kg and 30 kg. Average-size Chinooks are often known as "springs" in B.C. Those over 13.5 kg are called "tyees", and in the U.S., Chinook are called "king salmon".


Coho have white gums, black tongues, and a few spots on the upper portion on their silver-colored tails. They have a wide tail base. The clethrum (collar of the fish, under the gill cover) is distinctly blue peppered or mottled. Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface, Coho usually live for three years and grow rapidly in their final year. They weigh between 1.3kg and 14kg. In the Straight of Georgia from April to early June, small Coho passing from the grilse stage to maturity are called bluebacks.


The sockeye is almost toothless, with prominent, glassy eyes. Slimmest and most streamlined of the Pacific species, the silver-blue sockeye lives from four to five years. It usually weighs between 2.2 kg and 3.1 kg but can reach 6.3 kg. Young sockeye remain in fresh-water nursery lakes a year or more before returning to the sea. Each sockeye salmon kept must be at least 30 cm long.


Pink salmon have tiny scales and a tail heavily marked with large oval spots. Unlike the other salmon species, the tail of a pink has no silver in it. In the sea, pinks have silver bodies with spotted backs. They are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, usually weighing about 2.2 kg, but occasionally reaching 5.5 kg. They are more abundant in northern waters in even-numbered years and in southern waters in odd-numbered years. Pinks live only two years. Each pink salmon kept must be at least 30 cm long.


A white tip on the anal fin usually identifies a chum salmon. Resembling sockeye, but larger, chum have silvery sides and faint grid-like bars as they near spawning streams. The tail base is narrow and there is silver in the tail. They live three to five years and weigh about 4.5 kg to 6.5 kg, but they have been known to reach as much as 15 kg. Each pink salmon kept must be at least 30 cm long.

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