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Similarities And Differences Among New York's Salmon

Similiarities and differences among New York's salmon species
Description Habitat Reproduction Feeding Fishing Information Comments
Atlantic (Landlocked) Salmon 12-30' long

Silvery with few dark spots on sides - spots often x-shaped

Tall at least slightly forked, no spots on tail

12 or less anal fin rays

Open waters of cold, deep lakes

Found near tributary mouths in spring

Enters streams in fall and sometimes spring
Spawns in fall (Oct. - Nov.)

Migrates into streams and rivers

Digs nest (redd) in gravel areas, covers eggs

Often survive to spawn again
Eats rainbow smelt, alewife, other fish

Young eat aquatic insects
Prized sportfish, sought mainly during open water periods - some ice fishing available

Trolling streamer flies, spoons or plugs is popular
New York's only native salmon

Found in about 30 waters
Chinook Salmon 24-44" long

Silvery, with spots on top and bottom of tail

Flesh is dark at base of teeth

15-17 anal fin rays
Open waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario

Enter tributaries in fall
Spawns in fall (Sept. - Oct.)

Migrates into streams and rivers

Digs nest in coarse gravel, covers eggs

Always dies after spawning
Eats fish, mainly alewife and rainbow smelt Very important Great Lakes sportfish

Trolling plugs and spoons are effective

Downriggers useful to get lures deep

Will take eggs and lures while in rivers
Largest of the Pacific salmon

Found only in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and their tributaries
Coho Salmon 20-34" long

Silvery, with spots on top half of tail only

Flesh is white at base of teeth

13-15 anal fin rays
Similar to chinook Spawns in fall (late Sept. - Oct.)

Always dies after spawning
Similar to chinook Important Greats Lakes sportfish

Use methods listed for chinook
Found only in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and their tributaries
Kokanee (Sockeye) Salmon 8-15" long

Silvery, with no spots on tail

Bright red and green spawning colors

13-18 anal fin rays
Found in a few small ponds and lakes Spawns in fall (Oct. - Nov.)

Selects small streams or seepage areas along shoreline

Always dies after spawning
Eats zooplankton and aquatic insects Not easy to catch Delicate "bite"

Small spoons, flies, or worm-baited hooks work
Very limited distribution in New York State

Exceptionally tasty
Pink Salmon 15-21" long

Silvery, with large oval spots on back and tail

Males develop hump back when on spawning run

13-19 anal fin rays
Open waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario

Enters some tributaries in fall
Spawns in fall (late Sept. - Nov.)

Usually spawns in tributaries, but may spawn on beaches near stream mouth

Always dies after spawning
Eats zooplankton, fish and crustacean Not actively sought due to low abundance and small size in New York waters

Will hit spoons or plugs
Has maintained low population abundance in Great