Also known as “Kings”, “Tyees” or “Springs”. The Chinook have black gums and a silver, spotted tail distinguishing it from other salmonids. It has a lightly spotted blue-green back and is the largest, most prized game fish. The Chinook lives from three to seven years. Fish caught can range in weight from 15-75lbs.
Also known as “silvers”, these salmon have white gums, black tongues and a few spots on the upper portion of their bodies and silver-coloured tails. They have a wide tail base. The collar of the fish, under the gill cover, is distinctly blue peppered or mottled. Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface, Coho usually live for three years and grow rapidly in their final year. They range in weight between 8-30lbs.
A white tip on the anal fin usually identifies a chum salmon. A Chum salmon resembles a sockeye, but are larger. Chums have silvery sides and faint grid-like bars as they near their spawning streams. The tail base is narrow and there is silver in the tail. They live three to five years and can weigh anywhere between 14-35lbs.
Pink salmon have tiny scales and a tail heavily marked with large oval spots. Unlike the other salmon species, the tail of a pink has no silver in it. In the sea, pinks have silver bodies with spotted backs. They are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, usually weighing about 5lbs, but occasionally reaching 12lbs. They are more abundant in northern waters in even-numbered years and in southern waters in odd-numbered years. Pink live only two years.
The sockeye salmon is almost toothless, with numerous long gill rakers and prominent, glassy eyes. Slimmest and most streamlined of the Pacific species, the silver-blue sockeye lives from four to five years. It usually weighs between 5-7lbs but can reach 14lbs. Young sockeye remain in fresh-water nursery lakes a year or more before migrating to the sea.
Halibut are an odd fish. In their larval stage the swim upright like other fish with eyes on either side of their body, then their eyes grow to one side of their head and they spend the rest of their life as a bottom feeder, flat fish. On the eyed side, pigmentation varies from olive to dark brown or black with lighter, irregular blotches that are similar to the colour pattern of the ocean floor. This protective coloration makes the fish less conspicuous to predators and prey. The left or blind side is white with occasional blotching and faces the ocean bottom. Halibut are strong swimmers and carnivorous feeders. They will feed on a variety of food from Cod and Rock fish to octopus, crabs, clams and even an occasional smaller halibut.
Lingcod, unlike their name implies, they are not true cods, but are greenlings. They can be found at near-shore rocky reefs from 30-330′. They are voracious predators and can grow to weigh over 80lbs and measure 60″. They are characterized by a large mouth with 18 sharp teeth. Their colour is variable, usually with dark brown or copper blotches arranged in clusters throughout their body. Lingcod have a life span of around 35 years.
Yellow Eye Rockfish
Also commonly known as Red Snapper, are very distinguishable by their bright yellow-orange colouring and yellow eyes. Their fins are pink with black on the tips and include a large, spiny dorsal fin with irregular notches. These fish may be found in shallow water in early spring, sometimes feeding on lingcod spawn. Their eyes are highlighted with a spine above each eye socket and rough ridges behind each eye. The average length for yellow eye is about 20″ and their life span can be up to 115 years.
China Rock Fish
These fish, often found in shallow waters along the open coast, are easily identified by a distinct yellow stripe which starts near the third spine of the dorsal fin and runs in a lateral line to the tail. Their colouring is blue-black, mottled with yellow and they have thick head spines and dark fins. Their length can be up to 18″ and they usually have a life span of about 75 years.
COPPER ROCK FISH
These fish are striking in their variable colours, which may include dark or olive brown tones washed with copper-pink and occasionally splashed with yellow. Two yellow bands radiate backwards from the eyes, and the fins are copper-black. They can have a length up to 21″ and a life span up up to 45 years.
Tiger Rock Fish
A solitary, secretive rockfish that is typically found in deep water, especially near rocky crevices and caves. Striped like a tiger, these fish feature shades of pink, grey or rose, with five black or red bars running vertically across the body, and two black or red bars radiating backwards from the eyes. Bony ridges on the head may also distinguish them from other species. Their average lengths are 12” and have a life span of over 100.
QUILLBACK ROCK FISH
These fish are often found near rocky reefs, in inlets and in shallow rock piles. A quillback is easily identified by its high dorsal fin with deep notches between the spines, large mouth and compressed body. Colouring is brown and yellow with orange-brown speckling on the lower back. The fins are dark, except for a yellow streak through the spiny dorsal fin. Quillback’s average length is 10″ and the life span is up to 76 years.