Fish Species

S almon is the common name for several species of fish in the Salmonidae family and are native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean. Typically, salmon are born in fresh water; migrate to the ocean and spend one to five years (depending on the species) in the open ocean, where they gradually become mature. The adult salmon then return primarily to their natal streams to spawn. In fact the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to reproduce; tracking studies have shown this to be true.

Chinook Salmon is known as a Spring salmon in British Columbia and in the US as a King salmon or Blackmouth salmon. Chinook are the largest of all Pacific salmon, frequently exceeding 30 lb. (14 kg). The name Tyee is used in British Columbia to refer to Chinook over 30 pounds. Chinook can be identified by their blue-grey back with silver sides, small, irregular shaped black spots on back, dorsal fin and usually on both sides of tail. They have a black mouth with black gums at base of teeth on lower jaw.
Sockeye Salmon is also known in the US as a Red salmon. Although most adult Pacific salmon feed on small fish, shrimp and squid; sockeye feed on plankton they filter through gill rakers. Kokanee salmon is a land-locked form of sockeye salmon. Sockeye can be identified by their dark blue-black back with silvery sides and no distinct spots on back or tail.
As larvae, Flatfish resemble other fish in having an eye on each side of their head. However, the skull changes so that both eyes are on one side of the head when they become young adults. Both eyes are on the dark-coloured side of the body, while the other side is eyeless and white. Flatfish lie on the bottom with the dark-coloured side up; some can change colour to match their surrounding environment. Flatfish are oval or diamond-shaped and have long dorsal and anal fins.
Coho Salmon is also known in the US as Silver salmon. This species is found throughout the coastal waters of Alaska and British Columbia and as far south as Central California. Coho can be identified by their greenish-blue back with silvery sides, small black spots on the back, dorsal fin and usually on upper lobe of tail only. They have white gums at the base of the teeth on lower jaw.
Chum Salmon is also known as a Dog salmon. This species has the widest geographic range of the Pacific species. Chum can be identified by their dull grey back with yellowish-silver sides and no distinct spots on back or tail. They also have a large eye pupil that covers nearly the entire eye.
Lingcod are large predators with huge mouths armed with numerous sharp teeth. They tend to assume the mottled colouring found in their environment and can be many shades of brown, grey or green on the their back and sides. Female lingcod grow to 150 cm, although males rarely exceed 100 cm. Lingcod inhabit both inshore and offshore waters.
Pink Salmon known as Humpies in southeast and southwest Alaska are found throughout the northern Pacific, It is the smallest of the Pacific species, with an average weight of 3.5 to 4.0 lb. (1.6 to 1.8 kg). Pinks can be identified by very small scales, large spots on their back and large black oval blotches on both tail lobes.
Halibut are the largest flatfish species in B.C. They are mottled olive-green,brown or black on the dark coloured side and white on opposite. The mouth is large with cone-shaped teeth and the tail is broad and slightly forked. Females are larger than males growing up to 267 cm in length and weighing 226 kg. Maximum male size is 140 cm and 56 kg.
Rockfish are bass-like in appearance, with large mouths and eyes, spines on the head and gill plates, and prominent fins. Colour varies between species with shallow water rockfish generally having dark colours (green, brown or black) and deep water species usually orange or red. There are 37 species of rockfish known from British Columbia. Depending on the species, rockfish can range from 18 cm in length up to 120 cm. Keep what you catch and move to another area if you have reached your rockfish limit.