When it comes to salmon fishing, everyone has their favorite species. Some prefer king salmon for their raw power and elusiveness, some prefer sockeye salmon for their food quality and how easy they are to access, and others prefer pink or chum salmon due to the sheer magnitude of their abundance. But there’s only one salmon species that contains at least a touch of all these attributes, the silver salmon. Let’s take a moment to go through each of the silver salmon’s qualities that make them many angler’s favorite salmon to pursue.
The first thing most anglers think about when silver salmon are mentioned is the incredible fight that these fish unleash when they find themselves on the end of your line. Silvers are notorious for their acrobatics, leaving the water almost immediately each and every time they’re hooked. Not only are they acrobatic, they’re agile, and regularly use their agility in attempts to shake the hook and dodge nets. When you hook into a silver salmon you better be ready because they might go upstream, they might go downstream, they might go to the other side of the river, and they might just decide to jump out of the water over and over again. When hooked with a single hook, they usually do a little bit of all of the above!
One of my favorite things about silver salmon is the length of their run. We start to catch a few silvers starting in late July, and the first run extends through the end of August. The second run of silvers, which is made up of larger fish, commonly in the 10-15lb range, extends all the way into winter! You can legitimately catch chrome silver salmon for up to 4 months! We typically fish them all the way through September and well into October, until the weather becomes a challenge. Often times the best silver salmon fishing of the year takes place late into the fall.
Silver salmon are great eating fish when they are still chrome, or close to it. They have a very mild taste compared to some of the other salmon, which many people really enjoy. They are my favorite fish to eat fresh, and you’ll find a silver salmon fillet on my grill a couple days a week during August and September.
Silver salmon are the most abundant of the biting salmon that most anglers choose to harvest. Sockeye salmon are more abundant, but typically require a snagging technique that isn’t for everyone. Pinks and chum are often more abundant, but they are far less palatable, and while they can be a lot of fun to catch, most anglers choose to release them and instead keep silver salmon that run the rivers at the same time. King salmon are also biting salmon, but are not found in high abundances and therefore catching them can be a major challenge. Silver salmon are aggressive biters, great to eat, and are found in high enough abundances to keep kids and beginner anglers entertained.
Lots of Ways to Catch Them
As I mentioned above, silver salmon are known to be very aggressive biters. They are also willing to strike lots of different baits and lures presented in many different ways. Anglers can fish actively by casting lures or flies, troll different lures behind the boat, or simply put bait on the bottom and chillax. A versatile guide will do everything they can to “crack the code” when silvers are being a bit picky, and it’s really fun to employ multiple methods and tactics on a single fishing trip! Of course, some days the fish really prefer one specific bait or presentation, but let us know your favorite technique and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen.
This is my personal favorite aspect of silver salmon fishing. Silver salmon do not run alone! During the fall months there are also rainbow trout, pink salmon, and often sockeye salmon in the river as well. Sometimes these other species are caught using the same techniques we employ for silver salmon. Other times we spend half the trip targeting one species, then completely switch up the gear and spend the remaining hours targeting another. Silver/Trout combos are by far our most requested trip during the fall months. They’re really the best of all worlds with multiple techniques involved, and lots of opportunities for tight lines!!!
In my eyes, silver salmon (aka Coho) are the perfect salmon species. They’re awesome fighters, run in strong numbers with other species mixed in, their run lasts many months, they are great eating especially when fresh, and we catch them using dozens of different methods. Other salmon species have their strengths, but none of them can boast all of these qualities at once. Is it fall yet? 😉
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