Salmon (Pink) (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)

Salmon (Pink)

  • Size 3-5 lbs
  • Food Value Good
  • Game Qualities Good
  • Habitats Inshore, Lake, River

Pink Salmon are the most commonly occurring Pacific Salmon species, but that’s not to be confused with “boring” or “typical!” This breed has a few tricks to keep anglers on their toes. When they live in the ocean, Pink Salmon have a bright silver appearance; when they return to the rivers to spawn, however, they change to a pale grey color with yellow-white bellies. Spawning males also develop a hump on their upper backs, hence the secondary name “Humpback Salmon” or “Humpies.” If their shape-shifting abilities aren’t enough to impress you, their agility surely will. Cast your line in the right place at the right time, and these fish will bring some great light tackle action to your fishing trip!

How Big?

“Pinkies” are the smallest kind of Pacific Salmon, typically weighing 3-5 lbs. On occasion, anglers hook fish as big as 10 lbs, and the IGFA world record is a whopping 14 lbs 13 oz.

Pink SalmonA couple of Pink Salmon caught off the coast of British Columbia, Canada

When and Where

Pink Salmon swim between the north-eastern Pacific Ocean and the North American west coast. Anglers catch them in bays and tributaries from northern California up to Alaska. This species is most plentiful in Puget Sound and the waters to the north in British Columbia and Alaska. Like other Pacific Salmon species, they are born in freshwater rivers and move to the Ocean to mature, eventually returning to their birthplace to spawn.

One of the most unique attributes of Pink Salmon is their two-year life cycle, which means that populations born in odd-numbered years cannot breed with fish that are born in even years. For anglers, this means Humpies are only on the menu every other year. In Washington and British Columbia, Pink Salmon runs occur in years that end in an odd number, usually between late June and mid-October. Meanwhile, anglers in Alaska have a chance to target these fish in even years.

How to Catch Pink Salmon

Due to their small size and high energy, Pink Salmon make an outstanding game fish. The lighter the tackle, the better. In the right circumstances, catching these fish on a fly rod is the ultimate thrill. Pink Salmon fishing methods include trolling with plugs, squids, and spoons, or drifting and mooching natural baits like cut herring. You can also cast spoons and jigs or fly fish with streamer flies.

Good to Eat?

Pink Salmon are very good to eat, but aren’t considered as much of a delicacy as Chinook and Coho meat. From Salmon patties to a fresh green salad topping, this fish will bring delightful flavor to any recipe.

Fish Species Similar to Salmon (Pink)

Salmon

Salmon (Atlantic)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chum)

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Sockeye)


Top Salmon (Pink) Fishing Charters

Top Salmon (Pink) Fishing Destinations