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Fish We Target >>

While on a Nanaimo fishing charter, you may have the chance to hook into several different species of fish. Depending on the area we are fishing and the time of year, certain species may be more available than others. The main species of salmon we fish for most times of the year are Chinook(Spring or Kings) and Coho(Silvers). Chinook tend to be catch and release only from April to July 15th, and Coho salmon open for retention June 1st. Don't hesitate to ask us what species of salmon and other fish are available at the time you would like to book a charter. Below is a good summary of the fish species you may encounter on your trip with Unreel Fishing Charters in Nanaimo B.C.

Chinook Salmon AKA Spring, Tyee and King

The Chinook salmon is the biggest, most highly sought after game fish that are pound for pound, one the strongest fighting fish in the ocean. People travel from across the globe to B.C to get a chance at catching one of these world renowned pacific Salmon. Even at times of the year when these species are catch and release only, you can still feel the thrill of the catch in trying to land one of these monster fish, followed by releasing them unharmed to carry on their lifecycle. These fish can weigh up to a massive 50lbs, with most caught in the 3-30lb range.  When you first hook into a chinook salmon, be prepared to hold on to your rod tight as they will start fighting right away. Its not uncommon for these fish to go on "runs" where they can pull out hundreds of feet of line from your reel in seconds. This is what makes the chinook salmon so fun to fish for. These fish are so powerful even the smaller ones have to be played properly otherwise you risk snapping your line. A 15 plus pound fish can break a 30 pound fishing line no problem if not played properly. Chinooks are often known as springs in B.C. Those over 13.5kg (30Lbs) are called Tyees, and in the U.S., Chinook are called king salmon. Chinook return to streams to spawn as early as three to as late as eight years.

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40 pound chinook salmon Unreel Charters
Coho Salmon AKA Silver and blueback
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Coho Salmon are bright silver, hence their nickname "silvers" with a metallic blue dorsal surface. Coho typically open for retention June 1st in our area.  Their flesh   is as bright red as sockeye and just as tender. While not as large as the Chinook salmon, for their size they still put up a great fight with short runs and lots of head shakes. The coho we tend to encounter in the Georgia Straight tend to be in the 1-12 pound range. They have white gums with black tongues. They have wide silver-coloured tails and a few spots on the upper portion of their bodies. Coho usually live for 3 to 4 years and grow very fast in their final year.

Pink Salmon
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Pink salmon are the smallest of the Pacific salmon. They usually weigh about 2-8 pounds, but can sometimes reach over 10 pounds. Pinks are more abundant in southern waters in odd-numbered years and northern waters in even-numbered years. Their flesh is more a pale pink colour with a subtle taste. Most people prefer to smoke or can pinks but they can be cooked up and eaten when fresh. They have small scales and a tail covered with large oval spots. Unlike the other salmon species, the tail of a pink has no silver in it. In the ocean, pinks have spotted backs  with silver bodies and live only two years. Pink salmon typically show up in the summer before heading to the rivers to spawn.

Sockeye Salmon
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Sockeye salmon are considered by some to be the best tasting of all the salmonids. Sockeye salmon weigh between 2-6 pounds but can reach up to 10. They run every 4 years in the straight of Georgia and due to heavy restrictions, we rarely get an opening for them. They are almost toothless, silver-blue with numerous long gill rakers and prominent, glassy eyes. They are slim and the most streamlined of the Pacific species, they can live from four to six years.

Chum Salmon
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Chum salmon resembles sockeye, but are larger. Chum weighs about 4.5 kg to 6.5 kg, but they have been known to reach as much as 15 kg. They have silvery sides and faint bars. The tail has silver in it and the base is narrow and they can live three to five years. Most people will can or smoke chum salmon and they are usually only caught from September to October.

Lingcod
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Lingcod are large bottom dwelling predatory fish with large mouths with numerous sharp teeth. Typically lingcod open for retention May 1st. Female lingcod can grow as big as 152 cm, although males rarely get bigger than 100 cm. Lingcod live both offshore and inshore. They tend to take on the mottled coloring found in their environment and can be different shades of brown, green or grey on their sides and back. Sometimes referred to as the ugliest fish in the sea.

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