Alaska Silver Salmon (Coho): How to identify and catch Alaska's Predator Salmon

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Alaska Silver (Coho) salmon: Greenish blue back with silvery sides. Small black spots on the back, dorsal fin, and usually on the upper lobe of  the tail.. The gum line is white to light gray. Spawning adults develop greeenish black heads and dark brown to maroon bodies.

Alaska Silver Salmon (Coho)

alaska siver salmon, how to identify and catch them
Alaska prize winning silver salmon

The Alaska silver salmon has been called the greatest Alaska sport fish. The State of Alaska sport fishing record is 26 pounds. The general weight range on the Kenai River and Kenai Peninsula stream systems run from 9-24 pounds. The coho has certainly has an important place in Alaska subsistence and commercial fisheries. The life cycle of the silver salmon is similar to that of the Alaska king salmon. Silver salmon will stay in the freshwater for a year or two before migrating to the saltwater where they will spend at least 2 years swimming the Kenai coastal waters or in the Gulf of Alaska. Even as young smolt in freshwater the Alaska silver salmon is a voracious and aggressive eater and are known to eat each other and these aggressive tendencies are their undoing as a sport fish. Beginning in late July, Alaska silver salmon will begin to congregate in bays and near mouths of their spawning streams and rivers as they wait for nature to optimize water temperature and stream flow before they continue migration to their freshwater spawning grounds. This life pattern makes the silver salmon a great saltwater and freshwater sport fish on the Kenai Peninsula over a long season.. In saltwater from mid July through September the areas near Deep Creek, Anchor River, and Whiskey Gulch are productive. Kachemak Bay, Resurrection Bay, Seldovia Bay and the homer Spit provide anglers with good shore and boat coho fishing. Freshwater fishermen on the Kenai , Russian, Anchor and Kasilof Rivers as well as Deep Creek and Crooked Creek provide outstanding freshwater Alaska silver salmon fishing action from late July through October. The Kenai Peninsula lake system and the Kenai Canoe Trails in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge also provides some great fishing action for landlocked silver salmon and for salmon in the Swanson River system.

Alaska Silver Salmon: How and where to catch the predator of the salmon species

In the saltwater off the Kenai Peninsula like Resurrection Bay trolling at various depths with the aid of down riggers or diving aids like the Pink Lady attached to herring flashers, cut herring rigs, T-Spoons and large Vibrax and Pixee Spoons work very well as does casting these spoons and spinners from the shore near the mouths of freshwater streams. In Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay, casting ,trolling and even jigging during high tides near the mouths of the various of the different silver salmon spawning streams and rivers also produce angling action using large Pixees, Vibrax and Mepps. Fresh water fisherman who want to hunt the silver salmon from the banks should look for pockets of slack water and areas close to the banks where the water runs slow. Alaska silver salmon do not like fast water. For spin and conventional fishermen casting from shore or from a boat into shore with flashy spoons and spinners will produce good fishing action. Use rods and reels that can support 15-20 pound test lines for best results.From an anchored boat a salmon and egg loop rig filled with some cured salmon roe and just enough weight to keep the bait near the bottom can produce silver salmon when they are off the bite for lures. For the fly fishing angler the Alaska silver salmon is the perfect game fish. Silver salmon are quick on the take and will produce many jumps and reel smoking runs. A 7-9 weight fly rod, matching reel,floating or sink tip line,1x-3x tippet, and some of the basic fly patterns as outlined on the Alaska Fly Fishing page are all you need to get fly fishing. Most of the time basic streamer and wet fly presentations used for trout work fine on silver salmon. nothing fancy is required. Deep drifts through pockets of slack water are most effective. Because of the abundance of the Alaska silver salmon and its aggressive tendencies the coho offers the novice fly fisherman a great way to learn the fly fishing art.

CLICK HERE for more detailed information on catching the silver salmon and maps that will show you the hot spots to fish on the Kenai Peninsula

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