Correct Identification of Chinook (King) and Coho (Silver) Salmon
It is important to release Coho Salmon before bringing them on board your vessel to ensure their best chance of survival. Becoming familiar with identification and proper release methods is the first step. The following graphic is from the DFG web site called cohoflyer. The photo is from Warden Bob Aldrich.
It is unlawful to use barbed hooks while fishing for salmon. Barbless hooks make the release of undersized or Coho Salmon more successful. There are also some characteristics of Coho Salmon when caught. They tend to be very active, jumping out of the water, are normally smaller than a Chinook Salmon and have a greenish tint as the approach the boat. Chinook Salmon have a more purple tint as they approach the boat. Proper identification is best accomplished by checking the gum line as indicated in the graphic above.
The Department of FIsh and Game also recommends the following methods to reduce the likelihood of catching a Coho Salmon.
1. Rig your bait or lures to run deeper. Coho Salmon are more often in the top 30 feet of water.
2. Fish nearshore for Chinook Salmon, Coho are often offshore.
3. Use larger lures that are more likely to catch Chinook than Coho.
Salmon Season in Bodega Bay 2011
Bodega Bay is located in the Point Arena to Pigeon Point management area. The season runs from April 2nd to October 30th unless changes to the schedule are made during the season. Only Chinook (King) Salmon may be kept. Coho (Silver) salmon must be released. According to the Department of Fish and Game a few pink salmon have also been caught this season and can be identified by large oval shaped spots on their back and on both lobes of the caudal fin. Chinook salmon must be a minimum of 24 inches in length. Pink salmon must also be 24 inches in length but are uncommon in the Bodega Bay area.
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