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agree - looks like a chum.
 

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I think it's NOT a chum guys

I have to find my old book. But there is a species of salmon that's native to Japan's rivers we don't get. I'm almost positive that's it, but have to find my book to get a picture of it. It's a cross between a chum and a king, and this would pretty much classify. But this is just what I remember.

Steelheader69
"You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts."
 

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It's a Masu Salmon

From double checking my book, it appears that it is a Masu Salmon. Which is considered a cross between a pink and a chum in Japan. The stripes are similar to a chum but coloration is totally different. Masu have black stripes and body turns red. I can go into further detail but this should pretty much cover it. But from what I can tell this looks like a Masu. They spawn in rivers as far north as Russia but are not usually known to come to the US.

Steelheader69
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It's a Masu Salmon

SH69, I may bite on that one. My second guess was going to be pink - a strange pink, but the spots and head shape say pink to me. So if it is a pink\chum mix, I would believe it...
 

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It's a Masu Salmon

Showed the picture to a co-worker who used to live in Japan. Said you are right. It is a Masu without a doubt.

Asked a friend who is a biologist how this would be possible. He said a small percentage of salmon don't return to their natal streams to spawn. They end up in a different system. That is how they can repopulate areas that are depleted or didn't hold fish. This Masu is an extreme example of this behavior but apparently it has been documented before in Alaska by commercial fishermen on occasion.
 

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It's a Masu Salmon

If it was as Masu then I guess I have a story of a lifetime! I caught the fish on the Kanektok River in Alaska. It is in Togiak wildlife refuge in the Bristol Bay area. I caught 5 Chums along with this strange one in the same hole just before the take out area on the last day. This fish looked nothing like the Chums, Pinks or Kings we caught all week on the Kanektok. I released the fish real fast after the picture just out of habit but as I was holding the fish the weird cross hatch stripe really amused me. I could not see any of the chum type marking on the lower belly that give them away when they are fresh out of the salt. I will say this, the fish fought hard. It took me longer to land him than the Chums I caught from the exact same hole (any they were awesome! - I will never bad mouth a Chum, they fight like champions). The Alaska Fish and game told us to look for Atlantic Salmon because they are worried about escapement of pen raised fish. After I released the fish that was what crossed my mind. Thanks everyone for being interested.
 

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It's a Masu Salmon

I did a little research one Masu and this is a quote from a web site
"it differs from other salmon species by presence on its body sides of transversal stripes, lesser number of gill rays and richness of color gamut of wedding attire. When it attains sexual maturity, its back darkens, and the stripes on the body sides become bright red with crimson tinge to merge on the abdomen into one common longitudinal band of lighter color."
 

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That's pretty interesting. A couple of other things about the cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou), as it is known in Japan: it is the only one of the Pacific salmons (with the exception of the steelhead and cutthroat which are now, of course, considered to be members of the genus Oncorhynchus) which does not invariably die after spawning. A very small percentage of them survive to spawn at least a second time. This has led to some speculation that they represent an intermediate stage of evolution between the steelhead and the more specialized members of the genus. A number of years ago the Game Department hatched and released some at the Chambers Creek hatchery. I don't know what the results were but, since I never heard any kind of follow-up, I assume they were not particularly successful.
 

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It's a Masu Salmon

I agree that I'm not sure it's a chum, as the colors just don't seem right, and I was going to guess an asian species. Masu sounds plausible given the colors (though I've never seen a picture of one in "transitional" colors [an overall weakness in most of the taxonomy texts, if you ask me], but the black tiger stripes work). But I have to say that if it is a masu, not only is it a long way from home, it's a REALLY REALLY big one. So while leaning toward you, I'm not totally convinced.
 

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Hey Ray

This is an average sized Masu actually. I never had a chance to fish for them in Japan (my trip went by by with my divorce). But had plenty of friends who had caught them over there and this was average size. It's VERY hard to find a spawning color of a Masu. It's illegal to fish for them in rivers, and only fishable in the salt. I do have a picture of one illustrated in spawning colors. If there's enough interest, I can take a photo of it and post it. But coloration on it is IDENTICLE to pictures my buddies caught in estuaries in Japan. Ran over last night and checked his pictures out, they were dead on identicle.

Steelheader69
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Hey Ray

OK; I'll take your word for it. My understanding was that Masu were the smallest of the Pacific Salmon, considerably smaller than sockeye. Now the fish in the photo isn't huge of course, but would be a pretty nice sockeye anyway. I'm not trying to argue, especially as I was leaning your way anyway. Masu are found in the Russian far east as well as Japan, and are very highly prized by the small angling community in that part of the world. Many russian anglers consider them as glamorous and challenging as Kamchatkan steelhead (and considerably rarer). I'm not sure if Masu are on the Kamchatka Peninsula itaelf, but a chap in my office has been to Kamchatka several times (the dog). I'll show him the picture.

At any rate, chums, pinks, kings, and masu all from one river? I'd call that a grand slam trip!
 

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No outfitter was used. It was all done as a private party. Just some hard core fishing guys who are willing to spend eleven days floating 100 miles. A couple of guys are the pseudo “guides” as they have done the trip several times but they are not paid guides. Alaska allows private party float trips but they do not allow paid guides to come from anywhere. Only certified guides can charge money to guide the river. The people I go with are hard core fishing guys who own the rafts and the equipment to do it right. You are really out in the middle of nowhere out there so everyone must have high end camping and fishing equipment.
 

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Hey Ray

I wasn't nailing on you as being incorrect. Just letting you know that they do get some size. I also heard they are great fighters, but I heard they like warmer waters, so I assume most stay in lower waters of pacific. Probably why they do show up north to Russia, but not in numbers.

Yeah, I'd beat the crap out of your buddy. MANNNNNNNNN. I had so many trips planned to fish exclusive places. I had free flight bennies and GREAT connections to shuttle services through pilot connections. Had planned to hit the sea run Browns in southern most South America and had been working a deal to hit the Russian peninsula for steelies. It all fell through with my divorce. GRRRRR

Steelheader69
"You haven't lived until you've run a cataraft. Friends don't let friends run Outcasts."
 

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When I was in Alaska I caught this Salmon and it did not look like anything else I caught up there. It had markings just like a small king with the black dots all along the upper body. What was strange was there were light charcoal cross hatch stripes on the body. I caught lots of Chums on the trip and there marking more on the lower body and they don't have the black dots like this. I thought it was a Jack King when I landed it but now that I see the picture it looks strange. Anybody have an Idea?
 
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