Species Facts & Identification
Chinook Salmon generally start to show up in our area of Lake Huron in mid April and early May depending on water temperatures. These monsters prefer water temperatures of 48-52 degrees, the season continues until Fall when they head into the rivers to spawn.
Currently the Ontario MNR & Local Fishing Clubs stock Chinook into the waters of Lake Huron each year.
Ontario Chinook Salmon Record: 46.38 Lbs OFAH
Identification: Best identifying characteristic is teeth set in black gums. The base of the tail flares like the handle of a canoe paddle, offering the angler a grip sufficient to lift the fish. Like the Coho, the interior of the mouth will also be grey or black. Tail spots are usually restricted to the top half of the tail, but may also appear on the lower half. The anal fin usually has 15 to 17 rays. Chinook do not jump and roll as much as Coho, but have tremendous power and make long reel-screaming runs. Body iridescent green to blue-green on back; sides below lateral line silvery; silvery to white underside inside mouth gums are black, spots throughout the tail, has 15-17 rays on anal fin.
Fishing Techniques & Habits: Chinook are generally caught in the open lake by trolling spoons, plugs and flashers and flies. Chinook salmon forage primarily on alewife and smelt. Their life cycle is four years and they can grow up to 10 lbs per year. It is not uncommon to catch 25-30lb class Chinook on Lake Huron. Open-water fishing is the best in spring and summer, as with Coho. Migration to parent streams begin in late summer, with heavy concentration at stream mouths. Stream fishing peaks sometime in September, at the onset of spawning runs.
Coho mouth and gums
Habits - In spring and summer, Coho can be found in open waters near concentrations of alewives or smelt - usually within 10 miles of shore in the upper 20 to 40 feet. In August and September, they concentrate in schools near mouths of the parent streams. Sometime in September, they begin ascending the spawning streams in waves.
The interior of the mouth is white, unlike either Coho or
Chinook. Also, the entire tail area is potted. Cheek plates and sometimes a line along the
side are a rosy pink. Normally, the anal fin has 10-12 rays.