Fish Species

The best time for fishing is March through November:

• March and April:Steelhead and Trout Fishing
• May: Steelhead and Chinook Salmon on Freshwater plus Saltwater Fishing
• June:Chinook on Freshwater plus excellent Saltwater Fishing
• July: Chinook, Sockeye, Chum, Pink Salmon on Freshwater plus Saltwater Fishing
• August: Summer Run Steelhead, Sockeye, Pink, Chinook and Coho plus Saltwater Fishing
• September: Summer Run Steelhead and Northern Coho Fishing
• October: Steelhead and Northern Coho Fishing
• November and December:Steelhead Fishing on Copper River

Due to the Fishing Regulations of British Columbia fishing is only allowed Monday-Friday.
We recommend the weekends as arrival and departure dates.

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Steelhead and Salmon are born in inland streams and tributaries. Then they migrate downstream to costal estuaries, grow and enter the ocean where they mature. They live for 2 to 4 years in the ocean, migrating thousand of miles before they return as adults to their natal streams, to spawn and reproduce, die and start the cycle again. This remarkable life cycle is what makes salmon and steelhead truly unique.

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Chinook (King) Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook (King) Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

The species name comes from the common name used among natives in Alaska and Siberia. Chinook salmon are the state fish of Alaska. King salmon is another name for this species because of their large size.

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Species Description:

Weight: 40 pounds (18 kg), but can be up to 120 pounds (55 kg)

Length: considered mature at about 3 feet (1 m)

Appearance: at sea, they are blue-green back with silver flanks

Lifespan: they spend 3 months-2 years in freshwater and about 2-4 years at sea

Diet: insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young, and mainly fish as adults

Behavior: adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate ("anadromous")

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Chinook salmon are very similar to coho salmon in appearance while at sea (blue-green back with silver flanks), except for their large size, small black spots on both lobes of the tail, and black pigment along the base of the teeth. Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity). They feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young, and primarily on other fishes when older. Populations exhibit considerable variability in size and age of maturation, and at least some portion of this variation is genetically determined. There is a relationship between small size and long distance of migration that may also reflect the earlier timing of river entry and the cessation of feeding for Chinook salmon stocks that migrate to the upper reaches of river systems. Body size, which is related to age, may be an important factor in migration and spawning bed, or redd, construction success. Juvenile Chinook may spend from 3 months to 2 years in freshwater before migrating to estuarine areas as smolts and then into the ocean to feed and mature. Chinook salmon remain at sea for 1 to 6 years (more commonly 2 to 4 years), with the exception of a small proportion of yearling males (called jack salmon) which mature in freshwater or return after 2 or 3 months in salt water. There are different seasonal (i.e., spring, summer, fall, late-fall or winter) "runs" in the migration of Chinook salmon from the ocean to freshwater, even within a single river system. These runs have been identified on the basis of when adult Chinook salmon enter freshwater to begin their spawning migration. However, distinct runs also differ in the degree of maturation at the time of river entry, the temperature and flow characteristics of their spawning site, and their actual time of spawning. Freshwater entry and spawning timing are believed to be related to local temperature and water flow regimes. Adult female Chinook will prepare a redd (or nest) in a stream area with suitable gravel type composition, water depth and velocity. The adult female Chinook may deposit eggs in 4 to 5 "nesting pockets" within a single redd. Spawning sites have larger gravel and more water flow up through the gravel than the sites used by other Pacific salmon. After laying eggs in a redd, adult Chinook will guard the redd from just a few days to nearly a month before dying. Chinook salmon eggs will hatch, depending upon water temperatures, 3 to 5 months after deposition. Eggs are deposited at a time to ensure that young salmon fry emerge during the following spring when the river or estuary productivity is sufficient for juvenile survival and growth. As the time for migration to the sea approaches, juveniles lose their parr marks, the pattern of vertical bars and spots useful for camouflage. They then gain the dark back and light belly coloration used by fish living in open water. Chinook salmon seek deeper water, avoid light, and their gills and kidneys begin to change so that they can process salt water. There are two different types of Chinook the“ stream type“Chinook and the“ocean type“ Chinook. The stream type Chinook occurs mainly in the tributaries of large river systems. They stay a longer time in fresh water,the smolts are much larger when they enter the ocean than the ocean type Chinook.They migrate a long way in the North Pacific before they come back to their birth streams in spring or summer. The"ocean-type" Chinook occurs mainly in coastal streams in North America. They migrate to the ocean already after three months of life. Ocean type Chinook mainly migrate along the coast. They do not migrate so far away, they stay during their ocean life in coastal waters. Ocean-type Chinook salmon come back to their birth streams in spring, summer, fall and winter. Ocean-type Chinook salmon mainly migrate along the coast.Chinook salmon are the largest of any salmon species. The adult Chinook matureat about 36 inches and often exceed 40 pounds (18 kg). Chinook over 120 pounds (55 kg) have been reported. Habitat Young Chinook live 3 months to 2 years in freshwater before they migrate to estuarine areas as smolts and then into the ocean to feed and mature. They favour streams that are deeper and larger than those used by other Pacific salmon species. Distribution Chinook salmon are found from the Bering Strait area off Alaska south to Southern California. Chinook salmon also are found along the coast of Siberia and Hokkaido Island, Japan.

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Threats:

diverse human-induced and natural factors

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent salmon migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Terrace has the largest Chinook (King) Salmon in the world. The raw power of these fish is extraordinary. Our head Guide has beached fish over eighty pounds and has been beaten by King Salmon larger than that. He has also guided many other fishermen to fish of these dimensions over the course of a guiding career that has lasted more than a quarter of a century. Our guides will get you tackled up, get your hook into Chinook, and coach you as you do the rest. This fishing experience is electric and athletic -- a once in a lifetime experience.

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Map showing Chinook Salmon Migration:

Chinook Salmon Migration Map

Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Sockeye salmon on the road to recovery in the Pacific Northwest! Sockeye are the only salmon where fry are generally raised in lakes. Sockeye salmon spawn only once. The beautilful red colour and content of oil is caused by their diet which contents mainly shrimp and other crustaceans. The name "sockeye" is thought to have been a alteration of the various Indian tribes' word "sukkai."

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Species Description:

Weight: average of 8 pounds (3.6 kg)

Length: Considered mature at about 3 feet (86 cm)

Appearance: in the ocean, they have a bluish back with silver sides while spawning, they turn bright red with a green head;

Lifespan: about 5 years

Diet: in the ocean, they eat shrimp and other crustaceans, squid, and some fishes; in freshwater, they feed on aquatic insects and plankton

Behavior: Adults migrate from the marine environment into freshwater streams and rivers or lakes of their birth in order to mate(anadromous); they spawn only once and then die;

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When the adult sockeye return to spawn they measure about 3 feet (86cm) in length and reach an average weight of aboutf 8 pounds (3.6 kg). In the ocean and early migratory phase in the river system, sockeye often have a bluish back and silver sides, therefore also called "bluebacks." When they reach their spawning grounds they are unique in appearance. Their colour turns into bright red, with a green head; therefore they arealso called "red" salmon in Alaska. Sexual mature salmon migrates from the ocean into freshwater streams and rivers or lakes of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity).The majority of sockeye salmon spawn in late summer or fall near lakes or in streams flowing into lakes. Young sockeye in their freswater nursery lakes for one to three years before they migrateto the ocean. Therefore, the major distribution and abundance of large sockeye salmon stocks are related to the location of rivers that have access to lakes appropriate for juvenile growing. Major spawning runs are found in the Skeena, Fraser, Nass, Stikine, Taku and Alsek watersheds Female sockeye spawn over some days in 3 to 5 redds (nests) . Sockeye salmon eggs will hatch after 6 to 9 weeks. Young Sockeye grow in lakes where they feed on aquatic insects and plankton. As the time for seaward migration approaches, juvenileSockeye lose their parr marks, which are a pattern of vertical bars and spots useful for camouflage. They then gain the dark back and light belly coloration used by fish living in the ocean.Gills and kidneys begin to change so that they can process salt water. At first the youg smolls stay close to the shore and feed on insects and plankton. When they move offshore,they feed on"amphipods", "copepods", squid, and some fishes. The majority of sockeye remain in the ocean for 2 years, return to spawn at about age 4, but some may be 5-6 years old when they spawn. Some sockeyesalmon stocks spend their whole lives in freshwater.( non-anadromous) There are some sockeye that are non-anadromous, meaning that they spend their entire lives in freshwater. Non-anadromous Oncorhynchus nerka in the Pacific Northwest are known as "kokanee."

Habitat:


Sockeye spend nearly the first half of their life cycle in their lakes of birth. They spend the rest of their life cycle in estuarine and marine waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Distribution:


Sockeye salmon are found on the Pacific coast from the Klamath River and its tributaries north and west to the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska.Sockeye salmon need lakes in their life cycle. On the Pacific coast, sockeye salmon inhabit riverine, marine, and lake environments from the Klamath River and its tributaries north and west to the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska. As they generally require lakes for part of their life cycle, their distribution in certain river systems depends on the existence of accessible lakes in the watersheds. On the Asian side of the Pacific Ocean, sockeye salmon are also found from the Anadyr River in Siberia south to Hokkaido, Japan.

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Threats:

Diverse human-induced and natural factors

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent salmon migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Sockeye: there are millions of them during a year of good returns to the Skeena. Only recently opened to sports fishers, and formerly considered to be non-biters, the small, but speedy salmon can be fooled into taking a fly or lure. Like the Pink Salmon, the Sockeye is fine table fare and a welcome surprise on a day when fishing for the other species is slow. A fast sinking line is best for Sockeye since these beautiful, blue-backed creatures prefer a fly fished close to the bottom. Pinks, which range from four to eight pounds normally, are best taken on a trout rod or light spinning gear. In the places we catch them they are still bright and firm.

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Map showing Sockeye Salmon Migration:

Sockeye Salmon Migration Map

Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Another common name for coho salmon is silver salmon. Coho salmon spawn only once. California is the southern end of coho salmon range in North America.

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Species Description:

Weight: medium 8 pounds (3.6 kg), but can be up to 35 pounds (16 kg)

Length: Considered mature at about 2 feet (61 cm)

Appearance: in the ocean they have dark metallic blue or greenish backs with silver sides and a light belly; while spawning in rivers, they turn dark with reddish sides

Lifespan: unknown

Diet: in freshwater coho feed on plankton and aquatic insects in the ocean they feed on small fishes

Behavior: Adults migrate migrate from a marine environment into freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate anadromous. They spawn only once and then die. The adult coho returning to spawn may have a size of more than 2 feet (60 cm)and may weigh up to 35 pounds (16 kg).

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During their life in the ocean Coho salmon have metallic blue backs with silver sides On the back and upper lobe of the tail they have irregular small black spots.In comparison to the Chinook salmon the Coho salmon has a lighter pigmented gumline in the lower jaw. Spawning males in inland rivers have bright red sides and bright green backs and haeds They have hooked jaws and sharp teeth. Adult Coho salmon migrate from the ocean into freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity). Coho salmon adults return to their stream of origin at around three years old to spawn and die. Some premature males return already as two-year-old spawners. They are called „jacks.“ Females spawn into several redds (nests). Hatching occurs after 6-7 weeks. As the time for seaward migration approaches, juvenileCoho salmon lose their parr marks, which are a pattern of vertical bars and spots useful for camouflage. They then gain the dark back and light belly coloration used by fish living in the ocean.Gills and kidneys begin to change so that they can process salt water. Coho feed on plankton and insects in their freshwater stages and as adults in the ocean they feed on small fishes.

Habitat:

Sockeye spend nearly the first half of their life cycle intheir lakes of birth. They spend the rest of their life cycle in estuarine and marine waters of the Pacific Ocean Coho spend nearly the first half of their life cycle in streams and small freshwater tributaries. They spend the rest of their life cycle in estuarine and marine waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Distribution:

The species is found on the Pacific coast from central California to Point Hope, Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands, and from the Anadyr River, Russia, south to Hokkaido, Japan.

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Threats:

Diverse human-induced and natural factors

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent salmon migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Late August through October brings in huge numbers of Coho Salmon, also known as "Silver Salmon" to the Skeena River and its tributaries. These fish are spectacular fighting fish and a real treat to hook on a fly. For years Northern Coho -- the largest of the species, by the way -- were frustratingly difficult to catch with a fly. This was particularly irritating since they are wonderful fish to play on a fly rod. In the last decade we have honed our fishing technique to the point of where these finely proportioned salmon are a mainstay in our guiding. Clients have hooked as many as thirty a day. Through this kind of fishing is not the norm, we guarantee enough Coho in one day to please any angler. Coho are wonderful game fish in fresh water and dazzling fish in the sea. Of course, casting spoons for Coho is a time tested technique. If you wish to angle them that way, we'll put you on the right run. Recently we have begun seeking our salt water fly fishing opportunities in estuaries and bays. You may wish to join us on such and adventure!

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Map showing Coho Salmon Migration:

Coho Salmon Migration Map

Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Pink salmon are also called „humpbacks or humpies“ due to the humped back developed in males as they return to spawn. Pink salmon are the most abundant of the seven species of salmon in BC waters. Pink salmon have a short two-year lifespan. Pink salmon occasionally interbreed with Chum salmon. Some people call the resulting fish „chumpys“.

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Species Description:

Weight: 3-5.5 lbs

Length: Considered mature as about 18”- 25” long

Appearance: Young pink salmon are completely silver without any dark vertical bars or spots. In the ocean, adults are bright greenish-blue on top and silvery on its sides. When pinks approach their spawning streams, males turn brown to black on their back with a bright white belly. Females have a bright white belly but turn an olive green with dusky bars or patches that can be lavender or a dark gold. By the time males enter the stream where they will spawn, they have developed a very large hump, and hooked jaws.

Lifespan: Pink salmon have the shortest lifespan of all the Pacific salmon found in North America. They mature and complete their entire life cycle in two years.

Diet: Since young pink salmon migrate immediately to the ocean, they generally do not eat as they leave freshwater.Young pink salmon may eat aquatic insects as they travel to saltwater. In the ocean, pink salmon feed on plankton, other smaller fish, squid, and the occasional aquatic insect. The tiny marine crustaceans pink salmon eat are what give their flesh its pink color.

Behavior: Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth; they spawn only once and then die.

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The smallest and also the most numerous of the Pacific salmon in North America is the Pink salmon.The size of an adult Pink may measure 20-25 inches and can way up to 3.5 and 5 pounds. Young pink salmon are completely silver without any dark vertical bars or spots. While in the ocean, adults are bright greenish-blue on top and silvery on the sides. Their scales are very small and their flesh is coloured pink. As time for spawning approaches adults develop numerous big black spots on their back and all over their tail. When they finally reach their spawning streams the colour of their back changes from brown to black and their belly changes its colour to bright white. Females have a bright white belly and their back turn to olive green with lavender or dark golde bars or patches. Reaching the spawning grounds males have developed a huge hump and hooked jaws Pink salmon have the shortest lifespan of all the Pacific salmon found in North America. They mature and spawn within two years to complete their entire life cycle. Fry migrate to the ocean as soon as they emerge from the gravel. They feed for 18 months in the ocean, and return to spawn and die at two years of age. In the ocean, they feed on plankton,small fishes, and aquatic insects. After 18 months of feeding and growing in saltwater, they reach maturity and return to the river of their birth to spawn between late June and mid-October. Males develop the huge hump on their back, and an enlarged head with hooked jaws and big teeth using in fights with competing males. Females prepare a nest in the river bed . After digging a shallow hole in the gravel. they deposit their eggs into the nest,while males join them to fertilize the eggs. A female may dig and lay eggs in up to four nests, covering her previous nests as she digs new ones. A group of nests is called a „redd“. Females stay and defend their redd until they die, generally within two weeks. Males leave trying to fertilize other eggs. The eggs develop over winter and hatch in late winter or early spring. The young salmon fry live under the gravel feeding off the yolk sac attached to their belly. They continue to grow until they are large enough to migrate to the ocean. Young pink salmon migrate immediately to the ocean and do not eat when they leave freshwater, except of a few populations that spawn much further in the upper region of large rivers. These young pink salmon may eat aquatic insects as they migrate to the ocean. In salt water, pink salmon feed on plankton, small fish, squid, and aquatic insect. The salmon get their pink colour of their flesh as a result of feeding on tiny marine crustaceans. Like all other salmon species Pink salmon stop eating when they return to freshwaterin order to spawn. Habitat Pink salmon prefer to spawn in estuaries and small rivers near the coast. Usually, most pink salmon do not migrate farther than 40 miles up a river system to spawn. In Alaska however, they migrate greater distances upstream in larger river systems, such as the Yukon before spawning. Migrating to the ocean young Pink salmon gather in schools and remain in estuaries and along the beaches to prevent predation.

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Distribution:

Pink salmon are found along the Pacific rim of Asia and in North America,throughout the costal waters of the North Pacific Ocean and the Arctic ocean. They have been found as far south as Northern California. . They occur to the west from the Lena River in Siberia and as far south as Korea and Kyushu, Japan. In Alaska, pink salmon are widely distributed along the coast.

Status:

The global population of pink salmon are not currently in danger. However, local populations have decreased in some areas such as California and Washington. There are no pink salmon populations protected by the Endangered Species Act. Pink salmon populations in Alaska are well-managed and stable.

Threats:

Diverse human-induced and natural factors

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent salmon migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Pink are the smallest Pacific salmon. Their average weight is between 3 to 5-pounds. They migrate up the Skeena and its tributaries in unbelievably large numbers. They are caught primarily using lures and flies. They are also caught as a side-catch when targeting chinook and coho with the 'Spin-N-Glo'. Males that are ready to spawn develop well-defined humps on their backs, hence the alternate name 'Hump-backs'or 'Humpies'. Pink salmon is excellent for eating, especially cooked freshover a fire by the river.

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Map showing Pink Salmon Migration:

Pink Salmon Migration Map

Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Chum salmon are also called dog salmon. Spawning males have enormous canine-like fangs. Chum is a preferred fish for cold smoking because of the low oil content of the meat.

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Species Description:

Weight: average 15 pounds (3.6 to 6.8kg), but can weigh as much as 45 pounds (20 kg)

Length: Considered mature as about 3.6 feet (1.1m)

Appearance: metallic greenish-blue and silver in tidal waters spawning males have enormous canine-like teeth and marked by reddish purple streaks and jagged black lines

Lifespan: about 4 years

Diet: In freshwater they feed on insects and marine invertebrates; they switch to a diet of small fishes,"crustaceans","mollusks", squid, and "tunicates" while in the ocean.

Behavior: Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth; they spawn only once and then diet. Chum are the poorest jumpers of the Pacific salmon species and waterfalls that are not an obstruction for the other salmon species can often prevent their upstream migration.

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The adult chum salmon may measure up to 3.6 feet(1,1m) in length and may weigh up to45 pounds (20kg). Chum salmon are well known for the enormous canine-like teeths and striking body color of spawning males. Females are less brightly colored and do not have the canine-like teeth of the males. While in the ocean chum salmon are metallic greenish-blue along the back with black speckles. . As chum salmon migrate from the marine invironment into freshwater streams and rivers in order to spawn, their color and appearance changes into a picturesque"tiger stripe" pattern. Spawning males and females are caracterized by a "tiger stripe" pattern of bold red and black stripes. Chum salmon adults migrate from the ocean into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth (called anadromy)in order to mate. They spawn only once and then die (called semelparity). In order to reduce predation the Chum salmon species form schools in fresh water. While in fresh water Chum salmon feed on marine invertebrates and insects. As adults in the ocean, they switch to a diet of small fishes,"crustaceans","mollusks", squid, and "tunicates" Most chum salmon mature and return to their birth stream to spawn between 3 and 5 years of age. The Chum salmon does not reside in fresh water. As the time for migration to the sea comes nearer, juvenile chum salmon lose their parr marks (vertical bars and spots useful for camouflage). They then gain the dark back and light belly coloration used by fish living in the ocean. Chum salmon seek deeper water, avoid light, and their gills and kidneys begin to change so that they can process salt water.

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Habitat:

Chum salmon spawn in the lowest reaches of rivers and streams, normally within a distance of 62 miles (100 km) of the ocean. After hatching they migrate immediately to estuarine and ocean waters. They differ from other Pacific salmon species, which migrate to the ocean after staying months or even years in fresh water.

Distribution:

In contrast to other Pacific salmon species Chum salmon have the widest natural geographic and spawning distribution. Its range extends farther along the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Spawning populations occur from Korea and Japan and into the far north of Russia. The distributionof the Chum salmon in North America, is the coastal region of western Canada and the United States, south to Monterey, California.

Threats:

Diverse human-induced and natural factors

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent salmon migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Chum salmon are now protected in the Seena River and are caught only occasionally. They can only be kept when caught in the Kitimat River and saltwater. Chum salmon reach an average weight of 9 to 13-pounds. Fish over 30-pounds have been caught. They are an excellent fighter and a challenge for every fly fisherman.

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Map showing Chum Salmon Migration:

Chum Salmon Migration Map

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Unlike other Pacific salmonids, they can spawn more than one time (called "iteroparity").

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Species Description:

Weight: up to 55 pounds (25 kg), but usually much smaller

Length: up to 45 inches (120 cm), but usually much smaller

Appearance: dark-olive in color, shading to silvery-white on the underside with a heavily speckled body with a pink-red stripe along their sides; in the ocean, they become more silver
Lifespan: up to 11 years; sexually mature at 2-3 years

Diet: zooplankton while young; adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, minnows, and other small fishes (including other trout)

Behavior: migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate; females will prepare a "redd" (or nest) in a stream area and may deposit eggs in 4-5 "nesting pockets" within a redd

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Habitat:

Steelhead are capable of surviving in a wide range of temperature conditions. They do best where dissolved oxygen concentration is at least 7 parts per million. In streams, deep low-velocity pools are important wintering habitats. Spawning habitat consists of gravel substrates free of excessive silt. Critical habitat for 10 west coast steelhead DPSs was designated on September 2, 2005.

Distribution:

In the United States, steelhead trout are found along the entire Pacific Coast. Worldwide, steelhead are naturally found in the Western Pacific south through the Kamchatka peninsula. They have been introduced worldwide.

Population Trends:

In recent years, some populations have shown encouraging increases in population size while others have not. Population trends for specific populations can be found in the 2005 status review report for Pacific salmon and steelhead

Threats:

various human-induced and natural factors, though, given the complexity of salmon life history and their ecosystem, there is no single factor solely responsible for their decline

Conservation Efforts:

A variety of conservation efforts have been undertaken with some of the most common initiatives including:
captive-rearing in hatcheries
removal and modification of dams that obstruct salmon migration
restoration of degraded habitat
acquisition of key habitat
improved water quality and instream flow

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Steelhead trout can reach up to 55 pounds (25 kg) in weight and 45 inches (120 cm) in length, though average size is much smaller. They are usually dark-olive in color, shading to silvery-white on the underside with a heavily speckled body and a pink to red stripe running along their sides. They are a unique species; individuals develop differently depending on their environment. While all O. mykiss hatch in gravel-bottomed, fast-flowing, well-oxygenated rivers and streams, some stay in fresh water all their lives. These fish are called rainbow trout. The steelhead that migrate to the ocean develop a slimmer profile, become more silvery in color, and typically grow much larger than the rainbow trout that remain in fresh water. Adults migrate from a marine environment into the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate (called anadromy). Unlike other Pacific salmonids, they can spawn more than one time (called iteroparity). Migrations can be hundreds of miles. Young animals feed primarily on zooplankton. Adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, minnows, and other small fishes (including other trout). Maximum age is about 11 years. Males mature generally at 2 years and females at 3 years. Juvenile steelhead may spend up to 7 years in freshwater before migrating to estuarine areas as smolts and then into the ocean to feed and mature. They can then remain at sea for up to 3 years before returning to freshwater to spawn. Some populations actually return to freshwater after their first season in the ocean, but do not spawn, and then return to the sea after one winter season in freshwater. Timing of return to the ocean can vary, and even within a stream system there can be different seasonal runs. Steelhead can be divided into two basic reproductive types, based on the state of sexual maturity at the time of river entry and duration of spawning migration: stream-maturing ocean-maturing The stream-maturing type (summer-run steelhead in the Pacific Northwest and northern California) enters freshwater in a sexually immature condition between May and October and requires several months to mature and spawn. The ocean-maturing type (winter-run steelhead in the Pacific Northwest and northern California) enters freshwater between November and April, with well-developed gonads, and spawns shortly thereafter. Coastal streams are dominated by winter-run steelhead, whereas inland steelhead of the Columbia River basin are almost exclusively summer-run steelhead. Adult female steelhead will prepare a redd (or nest) in a stream area with suitable gravel type composition, water depth, and velocity. The adult female may deposit eggs in 4 to 5 "nesting pockets" within a single redd. The eggs hatch in 3 to 4 weeks.

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The Steelhead is a gigantic trout, which migrates up the Skeena River and its tributaries to spawn. It is a wonderful fighter, best compared to the quick coho salmon. The steelhead trout is actually the forefather of the well-known rainbow trout. The steelhead of the Skeena River system are the largest strain of steelhead in the world. Because steelhead compete in fighting strength and quickness with the salmon, in North America and Europe numerous steelhead clubs have sprung into existence. The average weight of Skeena steelhead is between 12 and 16-pounds, but 20 plus pounders are not rare. Most fly caught and IGFA records for steelhead were landed on the Skeena River or Skeena tributaries. According to Canadian Fisheries regulations, almost all steelhead must be placed extremely carefully back into the water immediately after being caught. To preserve the existing stocks, we support this view, since this salmon is really too beautiful to end up on a plate.

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Map showing Steelhead Migration:

Steelhead Migration Map

Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)

Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)

Coastal cutthroat trout are the most abundent trout within its Alasken range.

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Species Description:

Weight: Up to 8 pounds

Length: Considered mature as about 27” long

Appearance: Juveniles aresilver or yellowish to olive in colour with about 10 oval parr marks and small black spots. The characteristic red or yellow slashes underthe jaw begin to develop when the young trout reaches 3-5 inches in length. Adult coloration depends on habitat and life history. Freshwater-resident fish living in small streams are golden yellow with abundant black spots on the body, head and fins and bright red slash marks under each jaw bone(hence the name cutthroat). Coastal cutthroat trout living in large lakes can grow up to 24 inches in length. They are silver with black spots, reddish gill covers, and light slash marks under the jaw. Sea-run cutthroat trout are smaller.They are bluish-silver with dark or olive backs and fewer black spots and common to anadromous salmonides.

Lifespan: The life history of cutthroat trout may be one of the most comlex of any Pacific salmonide. The different main life history forms of cutthroat trout have been recognized. The nonmigratory cutthroat trout is found in small streams and headwater tributaries. These nonmigratory trout grow more slowly, are smaller at maturity and do not live as long as migratory forms. The freshwater migratory cutthroat trout migrate s entirely within fresh water. This includes population s that migrate from large tributaries to small tributaries to spawn, populations that inhabitate lakes and migrate upstream to spawn in the lakes tributaris and migrations that live in lakes to migrate downstream to spawn in the lake outlet. The juvenile saltwater migratory cutthroat trout migrates from natal freshwater areas in late winter and spring to feed in marine invironments, estuarine and nearshore areas, during the summer. In winter they enter freshwater to feed, seek refuge or spawn, sometimes they return to the ocean in spring.

Diet: Fish, insects, gastropods, amphipods.

Similar Species:

In the absence of distinct slash marks in lake-resident and sea-run forms has led fisherman to confuse these fish with rainbow trout.Cutthroat trout can mostly be positively distinguished from rainbow trout by the presence of minute teeth between the gills behind the base of the tongue. Cutthroat trout and rainbow trout often occupy the same habitat.This leads occasional to their hybridization.Hybrid trout are intermediate in appearance.For this reason the clear identification of a cutthroat trout may be confusing. For some lake-resident populations,the status appears to be stable. Throughout its range the coastal cutthroat trout population declines.

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Threats:

Habitat degradation due to mining,road construction,hydroelectric projects,oil spills,timber harvests,urbanization and improper handling by sport fisherman.

Conservation Efforts:

captive-raise in hatcheries
removal or alteration of dams that prevent trout migration
habitat restoration
improving water quality and flow characteristics

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Cutthroat trout grow very slow. Maturity is reached at age at 3-7. Males mature earlier than females Spawning occurs from April to June over gravel beds in small headwater streams or lakes. Cutthroat trout select smaler isolated streams,resulting in less interaction with steelhaed trout and coho salmon. Cutthroat trout deposit about 1000 eggs in to the gravel bed.After fertilisation, the eggs remain in the gravelfor 6-7 weeks before hatching. The hatched cutthroat trout remain in the gravel for an additional 2weeks,living from the contents of their yolk sac.Then They emerge to more ideal habitats such as ponds lakes and backwater areas. Different from other Pacific salmon cutthroat trout are able tospawn multiple times during their lives. Cutthroat trout are carnivorous.Sea-run cutthroat trout feed on insects and young salmon during migration to the sea.In the ocean they stay near shore feeding on amphipods andyoung salmon. After returning to freshwater in fall they feed on gastropods, insects,salmon eggs and young salmon. In lake resident forms use a sit and wait feeding strategy. They find shelter such as lily pads or logs and wait for passing pray such as insects or small fish. At a larger size they switch to a more active strategie. They cruise andchase small fish along drop-off’s and vegetation lines. Lake residents grow to the largest size among thr different forms of this species. Sea-run cutthroat trout grow for 3-4 years in freshwater prior to their first migration to the ocean. They stay in the ocean about 100 days before returning to their rivers of birth.During their migration, they follow the shoreline and do not stray further than 50 miles of their natal streams. In late summer and fall they return to their home stream where they feed and mature during the winter. Cutthroat trout spawn in the same tributary where they had been born and reared years before. Only 40% of the returning cutthroat trout survive through the winter and first spawning season. Less than 1% survive their third spawning migration.

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Besides the above mentioned salmon species and steelhead there are two fresh water salmonids worth mentioning: the Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout. These fish average between 1 and 2-pounds. In the Skeena River, 'Dollys' often reach 4 to 6-pounds. The record sits at 20-pounds.
Dolly Varden are very tasty.

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