Recently we traveled to Alaska to fish for a variety of species, with Sockeye Salmon on the top of our list. Affectionately known as “Reds” by the locals, these fish complete their spawning run from the ocean to their freshwater birthplace in mid-June through mid-August. During the spawning process these fish undergo a significant metamorphosis. To attract a mate, they turn from a silvery color to bright red in the body and green in the head. Additionally, the males develop a hunched back and a toothy hooked jaw.
When these salmon start their spawning run, they stop eating and focus entirely on returning to the exact same watershed they were born in. Their one goal is to create the next generation of salmon. A few weeks after their life goal of spawning is achieved, these fish begin to rot and eventually die. In turn, their bodies become nourishment for an entire ecosystem - bears, birds, other fish, and the surrounding soil and flora all benefit from their life cycle.
Sockeye salmon fishing tips
Since these spawning fish are no longer eating, the goal of fishing for them is to trigger an aggressive response with your streamer or lure. Guides tend to use colors such as red or pink in order to get the attention of the salmon.
Before hitting the water, research the Sockeye Salmon fishing regulations for information such as your fish limit, so that you do not overharvest the salmon. When harvesting and eating Sockeye Salmon, it is important to catch them before their color change to ensure the meat is edible.
Threats to the Species
Habitat loss, climate change, and commercial overfishing pose threats to the longevity of this species.
by: Peter Ceren
Arctic sun burns fire in the sky
Milky white water shimmers flashes of red,
Splashes and ripples belie
Life surging under the surface.
Melting glaciers trace paths,
Long fingers reaching out
Grasping salty seas
As the multitudes swim ever upriver.
Fueled by long-ago last suppers
Millions push onward, falling victim
To the bear, the hook, the net,
All pinpricks to the collective mind
Breathing one collective thought--
"Protect the children".
Many die but some arrive
Resting at long last on sandy beds
Limpid shorelines amid snowy mountains,
Nurseries for countless eggs produced by
Rotting red caretakers, and as the eggs hatch,
Another generation of live young and
Glaze-eyed guardians float downriver,
A species subsisting on itself,
A wheel ever-turning with
The rise and fall
Of fiery Arctic skies.