Types of Salmon in B.C.

British Columbia is a common salmon fishing destination, especially for those looking to spend some time at a fishing resort. So, what are people fishing for? Here’s a guide to the types of salmon people are fishing for in British Columbia.



The longest living and largest of the Pacific salmon, the Chinook is the prized catch of the coast. 30+ lbs are considered Tyees and off of Vancouver Island, it isn’t unheard of to see Chinook as large as 40 or 50. They fight hard and can be caught all year round. However, if you’re after the “big one” then late summer is the time to go.


Also known as silver’s, these guys are popular for good old sport fishing, and are also the most valuable salmon in terms of commercial fishing. They have a fast fight and powerful bite, making them plenty of fun to play in the late summer and fall. Although smaller than chinook, with the largest at around 20lbs in the early fall. They’re also incredibly acrobatic fish, making them fun for fly fishermen in the rivers, too.



Sockeye are the best to eat with incredibly red flesh. Typically sitting around 10lbs in weight, they are popular for river fishing. Although tough to catch, when you do you’ll know – they put up a great fight!


Every other year, the Pink salmon return to the rivers of B.C. well fed and ready to spawn. These are the smallest of the Pacific salmon, with an average weight of 6lbs on the heavy end. While not as popular for eating, they can make for a great dinner when prepared correctly. Overall, they’re quite easy to catch and a Pink season can be a great introduction to fishing for newbies and kids.


These are an underrated salmon that are rarely the target of a British Columbia fisherman. However, they’re a great catch and can grow to the 20lbs range, although most average around 10. Distinct thanks to the purple bars along their sides during spawning, “dog salmon” are aggressive in the river making them a fun fight for fly fishermen. Prepare for a challenge!


There are so many great fishing destinations in British Columbia, including the rivers of the mainland, and the open ocean off of the coast. Vancouver Island especially is a hotspot, as each of the five types are available on the Island. Head to Campbell River to catch some pinks and chum, Port Alberni for your fill of sockeye and Tofino or Ucluelet to hook some coho and chinook. There are plenty of resorts, lodges and charters all over, so once you’ve picked a place, you’ll have plenty of choices for where to book your perfect trip.


To learn more about fishing on Vancouver Island, explore this page: www.discovervancouverisland.com/things-to-do/fishing/

If you’re set on fishing in Ucluelet, but aren’t sure what to expect, or where to start, check out www.salmoneye.net. There’s plenty of useful information, plus it’s a great fishing charter.

For more on Tofino and fishing there, check out www.Tofino-Info.com/fishing-charters-tofino-bc.



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