Salmon ID Flowchart

plaegreid

Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
#16
Nice work plaegreid! I wish that all WA anglers would take a few minutes to learn how to identify their fish. Every year I'm amazed by the amount of catch confusion.

Thank you! It is pretty impressive how many fish are ID'd incorrectly; hopefully these will help some people out. Just need to figure out how to distribute them (along with my dogfish PSA)
 

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#19
Out here on the Olympic Peninsula most of the salmon get landed by dragging them up into the dry sand and gravel, whereupon the fish flop about in this stuff, until they are fairly and thoroughly "breaded" in a thick coating that completely obscures their identity as to species. The subsequent trip to the back of a waiting truck is unceremonious, stealthy and swift. Once in a blue moon a Game Warden appears for a brief visit on our shores. And he might write a few tickets. Then everyone behaves themselves for a day or two. There are herring involved. And every week I see someone fishing with a barbed hook on a fly. So it goes.
 

plaegreid

Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
#20
Great work, but like I said you should throw steelhead on list. Or even put a separate flow for bull trout and searuns

Alright, here's the first draft of this guy. The images are kinda crap, but I had a bit of a time finding a quality image of a bull trout that was in not copywritten or a drawing.

The important part here is the descriptions; images are changed easily once I find 'em.

NOT a salmon.jpg
 
#21
When you're new to PS salmon fishing any info is helpful....and almost all of it is confusing. What I've learned over the past several years is that there is almost no easily discernible single certain feature to rely on. The most trouble I've had is with spots. The most reliable has been the black mouth... but even on that I've had several coho that had remarkably dark gums...so even the 'white mouth' on coho can be misleading.
What I've learned is that you have to take into account as many factors as you can. As an example I've attached a photo of a tail of a Neah Bay small Chinook from this past week - notice no spots at all and it's quite silvery. The ~9lb fish had a completely black mouth and did have some, but not many, spots on its back.
For me, it's even tougher to descriminate resident coho from SRC. There's been several threads on here over the past several years on that difficult topic. I think the decision tree helps... but should be looked at as a guide and not certainty.
 

Attachments

#23
Nice work man. Good on ya for taking the time. I hope as many people as possible learn the basics of iding salmon before the next pink run.

Its amazing how many small kings get bonked as pinks. Seen a ton of them at Sekiu last year.
 

plaegreid

Saved by the buoyancy of citrus
#24
Nice work man. Good on ya for taking the time. I hope as many people as possible learn the basics of iding salmon before the next pink run.

Its amazing how many small kings get bonked as pinks. Seen a ton of them at Sekiu last year.
Thanks, I hope at least a few people learn something from 'em.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#25
Everyone should take a close look at the link Freestone provided for marine phase salmon.

However one of the fun things/curse of our local salmonids is the great diversity they exhibit. While the various flow ID charts are great for generalizations there are numeral exceptions. One example; it is fairly common to find coho with no spots on their tails, some sockeye/kokanee have some spotting on their tails and I have seen Chinook that had no spots on their tails

To separate "trout" from salmon look at their anal fins. The trout (steelhead/cutthroat) have a narrower fin (12 or fewer rays) than the various "salmon" (Chinook, coho, pinks, sockeye and chum) have a wider fin (13 or more rays).

In the salt separating steelhead, cutthroat and bulls can also cause some confusion. To separate steelhead (rainbows) and cutthroat a good feature is the hyoid teeth (found on the back of the tongue). Cutthroat have them and rainbows don't. The dorsal fin of cutthroat generally have fewer rays (narrower) than rainbows. Rainbows and cutthroat have dark spots on a lighter background while bull trout have lighter sports on a darker background.

As a friend often said every time we attempt to place our various salmonids in a convenient box they will jump out of it; in other words use any ID chart with an open mind.

Curt