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During your fishing charter with Serengeti, few moments will match the thrill of netting a large salmon, a fish many regard as the epitome of seafood.

Serengeti fishing charter client with salmon

Salmon is the common name for several species of fish of the family Salmonidae, which also includes trout. Salmon live in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Great Lakes and other land locked lakes.

Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn, and modern research shows that usually at least 90% of the fish that spawn in a particular stream were born there.The precise method salmon use to navigate has not been entirely established, though their keen sense of smell is certainly involved. In all species of Pacific salmon, the mature individuals die within a few days or weeks of spawning, a trait known as semelparity.

Salmon have long been at the heart of the culture and livelihood of west coast dwellers. Most peoples of the Northern Pacific shore had a ceremony to honor the first return of the year. For many centuries, people caught salmon as they swam upriver to spawn. Salmon population levels are of concern in the Atlantic and in some parts of the Pacific but in northern British Columbia and Alaska stocks are still abundant.

Pacific Ocean species belong to the genus Oncorhynchus. Species found in British Columbia waters include:

  • Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is also known locally as King, Tyee, Spring Salmon, Quinnat, Tule, or Blackmouth salmon. Chinook are the largest of all Pacific salmon, frequently exceeding 30 lbs. (14 kg).[9]

    Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) is also known as Dog or Calico salmon. This species has the widest geographic range of the Pacific species: south to the Sacramento River in California in the eastern Pacific and the island of Kyūshū in the Sea of Japan in the western Pacific; north to the Mackenzie River in Canada in the east and to the Lena River in Siberia in the west.

    Coho salmon or Silver salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) is found throughout the coastal waters of British Columbia and up most clear-running streams and rivers.

    Pink salmon or Humpback salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), known as humpies in south east Alaska, are found from northern California and Korea, throughout the northern Pacific, and from the Mackenzie River in Canada to the Lena River in Siberia, usually in shorter coastal streams. It is the smallest of the Pacific species, with an average weight of 3.5 to 4 lbs. (1.6 - 1.8 kg).

    Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is also known as "Red Salmon" or "Blueback Salmon". This lake-spawning species is found south as far as the Klamath River in California in the eastern Pacific and northern Hokkaidō Island in Japan in the western Pacific and as far north as Bathurst Inlet in the Canadian Arctic in the east and the Anadyr River in Siberia in the west.

Although most adult Pacific salmon feed on small fish and insects, sockeyes feed on plankton that they filter through gill rakers.

Salmon is a popular food. Consuming salmon is considered to be reasonably healthy due to the fish's high protein and low fat levels and to its high Omega-3 fatty acids content. Salmon flesh is generally orange to red in colour, although there are some examples of white fleshed wild salmon.

Canned salmon in the U.S. is usually wild Pacific catch, though some farmed salmon is available in canned form. Smoked salmon is another popular preparation method, and can either be hot or cold smoked. Lox can refer either to cold smoked salmon or to salmon cured in a brine solution (also called gravlax). Salmon can also be poached, grilled or baked.
- Adapted from Wikepedia

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