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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Now I know it has been quite some time since I have posted on the site, at least anything a kin to what I have posted in the past. Recently I realized it might be helpful for many of the guests of our site, and maybe even some of the members, to address an important aspect of fishing that pertains to all of us...each and every time we head out to our favorite rivers.

With the excitement and anticipation of a day on the river, many anglers tend to overlook or underestimate the scope of some very important facts they need to know.

I have only been out fishing this fall season a few times thus far, yet in those few times I have witnessed anglers killing wild coho!!! I had spoken with these anglers and explained what they needed to know, but it seems pertinent to reiterate some of the aspects of those discussions here on the site.

Many anglers, particularly novice anglers, have great difficulty distinguishing between fresh springs and fresh coho. Often it just takes a little time and effort to recognize the differences. This will save you embarrassment and perhaps even a ticket from DFO if you kill the wrong fish.

For coho, only hatchery fish may be retained.
On rivers like the vedder river, it is likely pretty common place to mistakenly identify fish. Lets make an effort here to put the kibosh on that.

COHO

Hatchery coho will not have an adipose fin. The adipose fin is the tiny little fin on the fishes back, just up from the tail of the fish. Here are a couple of pictures which might help...

This is the adipose fin. It is very obvious and often an angler can tell from a distance while the fish is still in the water whether or not that fin is there.


The adipose fin of a wild fish...

Here is a picture of a wild coho, note the adipose fin...


ALL WILD COHO MUST BE RELEASED!!!!!

Now, some might kill a fish, and later be informed it was a wild coho and say...

"I thought it was a white spring...." :-[

Here are a few pictures of white springs next to coho...try to note the differences...


White spring


Wild coho

Hook posted some pictures in the Fishing contest thread that are very good examples...

Note the missing adipose fin...?( Hatchery Coho)


Notice the large oval spots on the tail of this fish...? Also note the larger, more prominent spots along the back...? (White Spring Jack)

Look carefully at the difference between the two in each example. Although there are many key features which can help to identify your fish, often pictures and visual aids are the most effective tools to learn those differences. For the novice it may be difficult to tell the difference at a glance, but with only a modicum of effort, any angler can learn to differentiate between each species of fish quickly. Once you can do that, identifying a wild coho is easy...

The DFO website has some helpful pages to assist you in identifying your catch...Here are the links:

Chinook (Spring Salmon) http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish/Species/chinook_e.htm

Coho
http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/recfish/Species/coho_e.htm

Now, although the pictures aren't great on the DFO site, if you look carefully at the pictures above and those on the site, hopefully all anglers can enjoy a better understanding of the fish they catch.

Although there are other responsibilities that should be considered, such as retention limits and angling ethics, identifying your fish is critical for all anglers, especially before deciding how many to keep. Please take the time to read through this post and the links provided and hopefully all of us will become more knowledgeable anglers.

I hope that this thread can turn into a constructive venue for those less experienced anglers to learn the differences between springs and coho, and hatchery fish. I look forward to the contributions of all the experienced anglers we have here as well. Hopefully with a sincere and constructive group effort we can save a few fish from being killed illegally. Coho have been in decline for many years now, it is our responsibility as anglers to protect these magnificent fish.

Thx,

rib
 

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Excellent post Rib! They really should have the real photos on the samples (at least the ones that I have seen) . I think for me the easiest way is to tell by the tail.
 

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Just one other thing to add...I would suggest that if there is any doubt in your mind as to what species the fish is ...release it back into the water.  You should NOT kill a fish you can't identify. 
On a side not I have also witnessed a few people retaining wild coho (vedder system) and I would encourage other more knowledgeable anglers to let them know in a way that is not offensive or brash.
 

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Was at the Vedder River cleanup yesterday, and at the Fish and Game Clubhouse, they had displays of the various salmon species there so people could take a look at the fish and see the various differences. Also, had the fish ID cards for steelhead, coho, springs, sockeye, etc. on hand too. And I took some of the RAPP stickers, and fishing license holders that were also being distributed. And for those people retaining wild coho on the Vedder, I might yell out to them to let it go, but after they bonk them, I will be making a call to the RAPP line.
 

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Great points Rib & srethy. New anglers must remember it is YOUR responsibility to know the regs. Ignorance is just not an excuse. :naughty: Read em', live em' learn em'. Know your fish & know the rules..." I didn't know you couldn't drive 100 in a school zone" just doesn't cut it. Imagine a day on the river where everyone followed the rules. ;D
 

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hey Rib one thing to remember though is that on the Vedder system that they have clipped some of the springs as i have seen some jacks with missing adipose fins. im not sure if they have done this on other flows but it does confuse people when you get a clipped fish thinking its a coho and it turns out to have white meat.

i thought when they mentioned they were going to clip chinook they said they were thinking of doing a belly fin?? so that you could still tell without confusion. i mean it doesnt confuse me as i know my species and can usually tell when they splash the surface or even by the fight (headshakes)


tight lines

HOOK
 

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i spoke to a guy last year that killed a wild coho. his comment to me, "my buddy works at a hatchery, most of the time they don't or won't clip the adipose fin on purpose!?" :mad: .
this was his reasoning for keeping the fish. :wallbash:
 

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Hey Guys

I thought I would add a little more to the description to try and make it even clearer to anybody that is unsure, I think in this case more info is better. Like srethy said if you are not sure then err on the side of caution and release the fish.


The Chinook has black gums
at the base of its teeth and its
mouth is dark. In some areas
it is known as "black mouth".

The Chinook has a flowing V-shaped,
silvery tail that is generally covered
with spots. The tail becomes
more square as the Chinook reaches
adult stage.



The Coho’s gums at the base of the
teeth are almost white. Its mouth is
white, and its teeth are sharp and strong.

The Coho has a square, silver-
coloured tail with just a few scattered
spots, usually on the upper portion of
the tail. It has a wide tail base.


CENTERPIN
 
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Centerpin said:
Hey Guys

I thought I would add a little more to the description to try and make it even clearer to anybody that is unsure, I think in this case more info is better. Like srethy said if you are not sure then err on the side of caution and release the fish.


The Chinook has black gums
at the base of its teeth and its
mouth is dark. In some areas
it is known as "black mouth".

The Chinook has a flowing V-shaped,
silvery tail that is generally covered
with spots. The tail becomes
more square as the Chinook reaches
adult stage.



The Coho’s gums at the base of the
teeth are almost white. Its mouth is
white, and its teeth are sharp and strong.

The Coho has a square, silver-
coloured tail with just a few scattered
spots, usually on the upper portion of
the tail. It has a wide tail base.


CENTERPIN
thats how i usually tell the difference by the mouth and tail :thumbup:
a great read lots good info.
srethy said:
Just one other thing to add...I would suggest that if there is any doubt in your mind as to what species the fish is ...release it back into the water. You should NOT kill a fish you can't identify.
i agree with that.


scruffy
 

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I think a nice idea would be to make a file that members can reference back to where they have nice close up shots of the different varieties of real photos of fish. (Maybe even in the various stages) Just a thought.
 

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cbarracl said:
Maybe you guys can answer this question for me please.
Why is the limit only one coho per day ????
Read the regs...

Salmonator did post a large portion of the regs here in response to cbarracl's request...However, it was so long I felt it detracted from the thread...so I removed it. Please check the regulations online. There are the standard regulations and then also updates. Both can be found on the DFO website.

All anglers should double check the in-season regulation changes and freshwater salmon supplement as well.

Thanks,

rib
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am happy to hear that some have benefited from this thread.

I'd just like to add that with experience, eventually you will have a pretty good idea what fish you have just by the way it fights...not to mention that once your familiarity with the different species becomes complete, you will be able to identify your catch from a distance...

This is particularly beneficial to wild coho and steelhead that must be released, as it allows an angler to make certain decisions about how they will land their fish and release it safely rather than drag it up on the beach...

Good luck everyone, and in the future, take a closer look at the fish you catch...we all like looking at fish right...?

;)
 
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