Pink Salmon

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Pink Salmon

Species Information

Scientific Name:Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Common Names:Pink Salmon, humpback salmon
Environment:River, Stream, Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:42-58°F (6-15°C)

About Pink Salmon

Pink salmon or humpback salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon. The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name for this species gorbúša (горбуша), which literally means humpie.

In the ocean, pink salmon are bright silver fish. After returning to their spawning streams, their coloring changes to pale grey on the back with yellowish-white belly (although some turn an overall dull green color). As with all salmon, in addition to the dorsal fin, they also have an adipose fin. The fish is characterized by a white mouth with black gums, no teeth on the tongue, large oval-shaped black spots on the back, a v-shaped tail, and an anal fin with 13-17 soft rays. During their spawning migration, males develop a pronounced humped back, hence their nickname "humpies". Pink salmon average 4.8 pounds (2.2 kg) in weight. The maximum recorded size was 30 inches (76 cm) and 15 pounds (6.8 kg).

The native range of the species is in the Pacific and Arctic coastal waters and rivers, from the Sacramento River in northern California to the Mackenzie River in Canada; and in the west from the Lena River in Siberia to Korea and Honshu in Japan. In North America pink salmon spawn from the Mackenzie River in the Arctic to as far south as tributaries of Puget Sound, Washington, although they were also reported in the San Lorenzo River near Santa Cruz, California in 1915 and the Sacramento River in northern California in the 1950s. In 2013 a new record for the southernmost extent of spawning pink salmon was published for the Salinas River. In the fall of 2017 a dozen pink salmon were counted in Lagunitas Creek about 25 miles (40 km) north of San Francisco, California.

Pink salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes of North America, where there are now self-sustaining populations,[8] and in Iran.[citation needed] In Europe, pink salmon have been periodically introduced to rivers of the White Sea and Barents Sea basins in Russia since 1956. Stray fish from these rivers have been encountered ascending to rivers also in Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Great Britain and Iceland, and in Norway even self-sustaining populations have been observed. In 2017 larger numbers than usual of this species were caught in rivers in Scotland and spawning was recorded. In 2021, they were reported to have invaded Akerselva in downtown Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Pink salmon are coldwater fish with a preferred temperature range of 5.6 to 14.6 °C, an optimal temperature of 10.1 °C, and an upper incipient lethal temperature of 25.8 °C.

Pink salmon in their native range have a strict two year life cycle, thus odd and even-year populations do not interbreed. In the state of Washington, Pink salmon runs occur on odd years. Adult pink salmon enter spawning streams from the ocean, usually returning to the stream where they originated. Spawning occurs between late June and mid-October, in coastal streams and some longer rivers, and in the intertidal zone or at the mouth of streams if hyporheic freshwater is available. Using her tail, the female digs a trough-shaped nest, called a redd or rede (Scandinavian word for "nest"), in the gravel of the stream bed, where she deposits her eggs. As she expels the eggs, she is approached by one or more males, which fertilize them as they fall into the redd. Subsequently, the female covers the newly deposited zygotes, again with thrusts of her tail, against the gravel at the top of the redd. The female lays from 1,000 to 2,000 eggs in several clutches within the redd, often fertilized by different males. Females guard their redds until death, which comes within days of spawning. In dense populations, a major source of mortality for embryos is a superposition of redds by later-spawning fish. The eggs hatch from December to February, depending on water temperature, and the juveniles emerge from the gravel during March and April and quickly migrate downstream to estuaries, at about one-quarter gram in weight. The fish achieve sexual maturity in their second year of life. They return to freshwater in the summer or autumn as two-year-old adults. Pink and chum salmon sometimes interbreed in nature to form the hybrid known as the miko salmon; the hybrids are sterile.

In their freshwater stage, juvenile pink salmon consume invertebrates and zooplankton. In the ocean, they feed on a variety of plankton, invertebrates, and small fish. Adults do not feed as they return to freshwater to spawn.

Pink Salmon Fishing

World Record:14 lb 13 oz (6.74 kg) Monroe, Washington, USA 30-Sep-2001
# Fish Caught:151489 documented in database.
Earliest Record:8/21/1880 12:00:00 AM and located at 68.88000, -166.21000.
Latest Record:3/10/2024 10:23:42 PM and located at 55.47403, -131.79135.
Common Techniques:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Flies, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
Fishing Spots:1363 Pink Salmon fishing spots.

Latest Pink Salmon Fishing Reports and Spots

Lemon-Zest Alaska Pink Salmon Bowl - 3/10/2024 10:23:42 PM

Adapted from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Recipe Catalog INGREDIENTS: FOR TH LEMON VINAIGRETTE (makes 1 cup) 2 lemons zested and juic (View)

Kenai River Alaska 3/9/24 - 3/9/2024 3:14:47 PM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is almost mid March here on the Kenai in Alaska and the 2024 fishing season i (View)

Kenai River fishing 2024 - 2/26/2024 3:19:00 PM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is late February here in Alaska and the 2024 Alaska fishing season is just a (View)

Oct 26 Fishing Update - 10/25/2023 12:49:17 PM

October 26 Fishing Update. Incredible amazing spectacular are just a few words that could be used to describe the fishing this past month. Have (View)

Fishing Report for Chilliwack to Vancouver – October 27 2023 - 10/26/2023 1:58:03 PM

We’ve finally received some rains and the local rivers have bumped up and are currently fishing well. Here’s what’s happening on the fishing sce (View)

Fishing Report for Chilliwack to Vancouver – August 29 2023 - 8/29/2023 3:00:49 PM

Hi and welcome to the GRFA fishing report updated on the  29th of August 2023. With summer waning and the autumn months quickly creeping up on u (View)

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: August 25 2023 - 8/25/2023 10:39:52 PM

OUTLOOK  If you haven’t heard by now the in season tests for pink salmon are coming in much higher than predicted. Given that and meetings we h (View)

Juneau Fishing Report- 8/24/2023 - 8/24/2023 2:25:42 PM

8/24/2023 Fishing Report Holy pink salmon!  The streams around the area are still stuffed with pink salmon.  Not only are there good-looking pi (View)

Pacific Angler Friday Fishing Report: August 11 2023 - 8/11/2023 6:13:48 PM

OUTLOOK  We are almost in the middle of August and we hope everyone is getting time to get out on the water. There are lots of fisheries doing (View)

This group from California loaded up on a 6 hour combo trip with Captains Hunt… - 7/3/2023 8:55:12 PM

This group from California loaded up on a 6 hour combo trip with Captains Hunter and Drew Sending home Halibut cod King silver and pink salmon! (View)