Post date: Monday, March 5, 2012 - 14:59
Updated date: 2/6/17
Sockeye Salmon Onchorhynchus nerka


Sockeye Salmon are plankton feeders, which gives them a delicious flavor and prevents them from accumulating mercury as much as the more predatory salmon.  They are common in the northern parts of the pacific ocean.  Sockeyes are very tough to fish for, but fresh-run sockeyes will often take a woolly bugger.  In Alaska, we found rivers full of Sockeye Salmon at the peak of their spawning runs.  Hundreds of fish would be stacked in a small hole, slowly circling around and milling about.  The brighter, fresher fish were willing to take a fly if presented right in their face.  Comets, Egg-sucking leeches and wooly buggers produced. 


Brighter Sockeye Salmon


Appearance varies greatly depending on how long the fish have been in fresh water. This fish was still pretty bright silver. As they darken and become red, their flesh softens and eventually decays.  






Sockeyes are anadromous, migrating from the ocean into rivers to spawn.  The massive, simultaneous migration of millions upon millions of sockeye into the spawning streams is one of the great wonders of nature. It's impossible to describe just how many fish are involved.  Every predatory animal in the north keys in on this rich bounty, from massive brown bears to tiny slimy sculpin. 



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