Alaska salmon fishing vs Canada salmon fishing
Article by Sam Vandervalk
Alaska salmon fishing vs Canada salmon fishing
Deadliest catch. Palin’s Alaska. Discovery Channel features. Northern Exposure. Flying wild Alaska. Alaska wing men. Shows from Canadian outdoors? hmmm. Survivor man did originate from Canada, but it is not really about Canada. What about Canada’s wild west coast? British Columbia is very similar to Alaska (its the neighbor south) and has much untapped fishing and hunting as well. It doesn’t get all the press, however, since it is not part of a country with 300,000,000 plus people. So where is the better fishing? British Columbia or Alaska? Well that really depends on what you are going after. There are five types of salmon. The most desired for sports fisherman are Chinook (Americans call them Kings) and Coho (Americans call them Silvers). You can also do trout and steelhead fishing. I will focus this article on salmon fishing.
I will give you a quick overview of the 5 types of salmon and where they are caught:
Chinook (King) salmon: The most desired and largest of the salmon. Chinook salmon are caught from California all the way up to Alaska. The best fishing for them are in British Columbia and Alaska. You can catch them in either the ocean or just before they spawn in the rivers.
Coho (Silver) salmon: The next favorite for anglers. Coho get up to 20 lbs, however most Coho range from 5-15 lbs during the summer months. Coho are very aggressive and the easiest salmon to catch. They are fun on light tackle and can be caught from Washington up to Alaska. The west coast of British Columbia and Alaska are where most Coho salmon are caught. Like Chinook salmon you can catch them in either the ocean or just before they spawn in the rivers.
Sockeye salmon: Sockeye salmon have bright red meat and some think they are the tastiest of the salmon. I used to think so and have now switched to Chinook. However, Sockeye are very tasty and I would never turn down a meal with Sockeye in it. Sockeye usually range from 4 to 12 lbs. They don’t fight like Coho or Chinook, but they are still fun to catch. Sockeye salmon are best caught in the ocean, however they are still fished for in the rivers. Sockeye salmon are caught mostly in Alaska and British Columbia.
Chum salmon: Nicknamed Dog salmon, Chum are not caught much in the ocean and usually turn color really quickly when entering the rivers mouths. They are a scrappy fish and can fool you into thinking they are a larger Chinook when first hooked. For some reason we don’t catch them that often in the ocean. Chum salmon are caught mostly in Alaska and British Columbia.
Pink salmon: The least desired of the salmon, however they are apparently rich in vitamin K. I don’t usually allow them in the boat as they have quite a smell and we are spoiled with lots of other salmon here. In some places Pink salmon are mostly what are caught, so people take what is available to them. They are caught from Alaska down to Washington.
So if you are like me, you will want to know where the best fishing is for the most fun type of salmon right? Where can you go to that wild amazing place that is completely untouched and has incredible salmon fishing? I am sorry to inform you that kind of place is very rare to find. Salmon numbers have decreased in many areas along the coast because over fishing from the commercial industry. There are still a few places left and they are both in Alaska and Canada. So which place has better Chinook salmon fishing? Right now in my opinion Canada has better Chinook salmon fishing. Many of the rivers in Alaska have had less than half the normal returns of Chinook the past couple years and the trend is declining. The Yukon River is the exception. British Columbia has benefited greatly from an increase in Chinook salmon from the Columbia River the past few years. The runs of Chinook salmon in the Columbia are as hight as they have have been dating back 50 years. Many of the Chinook from the Columbia migrate up the British Columbia coast. British Columbia has many other rivers, but the Columbia River system has a huge impact on the number of salmon coming through.
I have fished Northern British Columbia as well as Ucluelet. I now guide from Ucluelet and believe it to have the most consistent salmon fishing in the world. That is a very large claim to make, especially with all the press going to Alaska. I have had many clients fish Alaska(some multiple times). I have talked to many people who explored and fished Alaska and then afterward they started fishing here. For a sample of fishing here you can check out http://www.youtube.com/SalmonEyeFishing. It doesn’t have the fan fare of Deadliest Catch or Palin’s Alaska, however if you like salmon fishing you will hopefully find it very exciting.! The biggest reason I would pick Ucluelet has to do with consistency. Some of the northern areas do get some good runs going through. However Ucluelet has very consistent fishing all summer, from May to September. You don’t have to catch the run just right to catch lots of fish. Of course some days are better than others. But you aren’t going to find consistency like Ucluelet.
WIll Alaska come back? I hope so. As a fisherman I want to see the industry as a whole do well. RIght now the catch limit in Alaska is 1-1-1 and British Columbia is 2-2. The reasons are simple. There are more Chinook in British Columbia right now. Remember however that TV goes where there is money. Is gets a little boring watching some go out day after day and catch the same number of fish. However, for the person who plunks down their hard earned cash its not too boring. Something to think about.
If you want a good resource for all salmon and trout fishing around the world try http://www.salmonfishingnow.com.
Salmon Fishing Guide
About the Author
Sam Vandervalk is a fishing guide out of Ucluelet BC. He writes fishing reports and articles for many different websites and has been on two different TV shows airing on the Outdoor network.
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