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Thread: How pink is too pink.

  1. #1

    Default How pink is too pink.

    I'm just wondering what the general consensus is on when kings aren't worth eating anymore. I've pulled up a couple in the last few days that are starting to get a little dark (pics in 2008 Fishing thread) and I'm wondering if there are tell tale sign in the meat that signal when it's not that good to eat. One of the bigger ones I pulled up seems to be alot lighter in the center of the fish. Almost peach color with a more pinkish near the edges. I'm planning on smoking it anyway, but is this a sign of the beginning of the end?

  2. #2
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Salcha Kings thread. You will see Kings that are too far gone. When they have decay on them that is a sure sign of a fish too far gone.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Those kings in your pics look very dark but they are dark like a great lakes king rather than red like the ones I get around here. Where are they from.(general area, not secret hole). They are still plump and the meat I can see on them looks red. Old salmon will be getting thin as well as colored.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

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    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    If they start to look like a tomato, then I leave them alone.
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    Gary Keller
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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    If they start to look like a tomato, then I leave them alone.

    That just means they're ripe and ready to pick!!!

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Man I guess it's all relative... where you live and where you fish.

    When it comes to fish for the table... whether for the BBQ or for the smoker... I've learned to heed to an old data processing adage:

    "Garbage in... garbage out."

    Once you eat a good piece of fish, you'll never want to put a bad one in your mouth.

    So how far gone is too far gone?

    Hens deteriorate the worst... all of the tasty lipids and proteins in the flesh are being converted to egg production/maturation. Even the "bright" ones cut pale before too long.... especially as you get toward the tail section. It may look great where you cut the head off, but man can they get soft pale and mushy in the tail section! Judging from the outside, once the white belly gets ANY grayish tinge under each of the individual scales... she's too far gone. Cut her loose no matter how tempting it is to kill her! If you kill that fish, I will GUARANTEE her belly will turn black as coal within a few hours of the wood shampoo. She will cut pale and soft. And please, never kill a hen "just for the eggs"... I frequently see folks bonking over-ripe hens simply to re-stock their bait larders. The meat goes to the cats, the garden, or the dump. It's a deplorable practice.

    Bucks will last a bit longer in the river than hens. They will cut nice even with a bit of blush, commonly in the belly and the area around the anal fin. Again, "gray belly" is a bad sign... as is the dreaded "black belly". Another bad sign to look for is scales that are firmly set, especially when they have begun to absorb.... becoming one with the skin. These fish typically have THICK snotty slime coats, and they STINK! A nice fresh buck will have well-defined scales, a thin slime coat, and will smell sweet.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMiller View Post
    Those kings in your pics look very dark but they are dark like a great lakes king rather than red like the ones I get around here. Where are they from.(general area, not secret hole). They are still plump and the meat I can see on them looks red. Old salmon will be getting thin as well as colored.
    No secret hole. It's Fish Pond on the north side of Douglas in Juneau.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Man I guess it's all relative... where you live and where you fish.

    When it comes to fish for the table... whether for the BBQ or for the smoker... I've learned to heed to an old data processing adage:

    "Garbage in... garbage out."

    Once you eat a good piece of fish, you'll never want to put a bad one in your mouth.

    So how far gone is too far gone?

    Hens deteriorate the worst... all of the tasty lipids and proteins in the flesh are being converted to egg production/maturation. Even the "bright" ones cut pale before too long.... especially as you get toward the tail section. It may look great where you cut the head off, but man can they get soft pale and mushy in the tail section! Judging from the outside, once the white belly gets ANY grayish tinge under each of the individual scales... she's too far gone. Cut her loose no matter how tempting it is to kill her! If you kill that fish, I will GUARANTEE her belly will turn black as coal within a few hours of the wood shampoo. She will cut pale and soft. And please, never kill a hen "just for the eggs"... I frequently see folks bonking over-ripe hens simply to re-stock their bait larders. The meat goes to the cats, the garden, or the dump. It's a deplorable practice.

    Bucks will last a bit longer in the river than hens. They will cut nice even with a bit of blush, commonly in the belly and the area around the anal fin. Again, "gray belly" is a bad sign... as is the dreaded "black belly". Another bad sign to look for is scales that are firmly set, especially when they have begun to absorb.... becoming one with the skin. These fish typically have THICK snotty slime coats, and they STINK! A nice fresh buck will have well-defined scales, a thin slime coat, and will smell sweet.
    Now that you mention it, I think the two hens I caught were the ones with the lighter color. When they are starting to go bad, is the meat just getting lighter and mushy? Does it get a distinct nasty taste? I'm asking because I don't want to spent the hours and hours smoking these things just to have it turn out like crap. Also, these kings are stocked simply for the commercial fishing guys. The eggs don't survive in these waters so it's all fair game.

  9. #9
    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    The meat will get mushy as well. I think those ones in your pics look like they will be fine for smoking.

    To me it is simply the same reason that I dont eat much pinks and chums. They deteriorate too fast.
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMiller View Post
    Take a look at the Salcha Kings thread. You will see Kings that are too far gone. When they have decay on them that is a sure sign of a fish too far gone.
    Do you have a link to that thread? I can't seem to find it.

  11. #11
    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
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    look down about 20 threads....about 6 hours ago
    nice fish by the way

  12. #12

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    Holy crap, those are pink! I don't feel bad at all about my fish now. Guess I'll definately be out killing fish again on Mon. The only complaint I have about killing all those fish is the amount of time it takes to clean and bag them .

  13. #13

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    Test them before you take them out of the water. Press your finger in the meaty part of the back, on either side of the dorsal fin. If the depression remains, release the fish unharmed. If the flesh bounces back to the original surface, kill it and eat it. Colors don't mean squat. I have seen fish very bright, in warm water creeks that were not fit to eat.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Test them before you take them out of the water. Press your finger in the meaty part of the back, on either side of the dorsal fin. If the depression remains, release the fish unharmed. If the flesh bounces back to the original surface, kill it and eat it. Colors don't mean squat. I have seen fish very bright, in warm water creeks that were not fit to eat.
    Thanks for the advice. This will definately help. Is there any truth to the color of the meat being that lighter peach color meaning it's starting to go?

  15. #15
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Too far gone....



    That's a lot of gray and black bellies! The first place they go is right between the pectoral fins. Also when the jaws are so black that the white scalloped furrows at the lower edge of the gill plates REALLY stand out, the fish is WAY past prime. You may be quite disappointed when the fillets come out of the smoker, especially if you've got any smoked fish made from fresh salmon to compare.

    NOT a diss, just something to tuck away for future reference. I understand that sub-par fish may be preferable to no fish at all, but believe me, Alaska has much better tablefare to offer.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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    Your Kings are fine and ripe for the eatin.. I brought home a couple of those last week and they were PERFECT with some teriaki and a good cold IPA. You can eat Fish Creek kings for a while yet. Like everyone else said though, if you dont want to eat the fillet for some reason, just smoke all of it up, it's much better than the alternative...CHUM...

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post

    That's a lot of gray and black bellies! The first place they go is right between the pectoral fins. Also when the jaws are so black that the white scalloped furrows at the lower edge of the gill plates REALLY stand out, the fish is WAY past prime. You may be quite disappointed when the fillets come out of the smoker, especially if you've got any smoked fish made from fresh salmon to compare.

    NOT a diss, just something to tuck away for future reference. I understand that sub-par fish may be preferable to no fish at all, but believe me, Alaska has much better tablefare to offer.
    Looking at this pic, can you give me an idea of what you would consider the best fish and what you would consider the worst just so I'm completely clear on what your pointing out?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by epw View Post
    Your Kings are fine and ripe for the eatin.. I brought home a couple of those last week and they were PERFECT with some teriaki and a good cold IPA. You can eat Fish Creek kings for a while yet. Like everyone else said though, if you dont want to eat the fillet for some reason, just smoke all of it up, it's much better than the alternative...CHUM...
    Cool. Thanks EPW. I think I am going to hit it up again on Mon. Tell you what, I like you so I'll give you some fishing lessons if your interested . On a serious note, Senior had some of the best smoked salmon I've ever had the other day. If your interested shoot me an email and I'll throw you the recipe.

  19. #19
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default SOFT fish ain't always bad...

    Quote Originally Posted by Akres View Post
    Test them before you take them out of the water. Press your finger in the meaty part of the back, on either side of the dorsal fin. If the depression remains, release the fish unharmed. If the flesh bounces back to the original surface, kill it and eat it. Colors don't mean squat. I have seen fish very bright, in warm water creeks that were not fit to eat.
    All salmon will soften up in warm water... the fresh ones as well as the over-ripe ones. But AKres' tip on checking firmness is right on the money if you are fishing cool/cold streams... if the tail squishes as you grab the fish by the wrist, or indentations can be pressed into its back... just cut 'er loose.

    I once caught a sea-liced Columbia River URB (Upriver Bright) that was still losing scales. The 30# hen fought like a slug in the tepid 70 degree flows, and her body was quite soft to the touch while handling her... the tail wrist was "squishy" in my grasp to the point of leaving impressions in the flesh with point pressure.

    Put her in a chilled cooler and she firmed right up. She cut great... nice bright red meat with lots of greasy residue on the knife blade. Oily/greasy hands after the fillet-job is always a VERY good sign of a good eater.
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    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  20. #20
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Left to right... 1 thru 9

    Quote Originally Posted by chauvotsm View Post
    Looking at this pic, can you give me an idea of what you would consider the best fish and what you would consider the worst just so I'm completely clear on what your pointing out?
    OK I realize I am making this critique strictly from a picture and not in real life. Can oly go with what the camera shows me. And again this is nothing more than my personal opinion/preference... everyone is free to keep what they want. But since you asked....

    The worst looking bucks are number 2, 5, and 8. Number 2 is a total "brownie", and I'm not talking dessert. Number 8 is black-bellied between the pectorals. Number 9 is black-bellied all the way back to the anal fin and has "slabbed up"... skinny from side to side and "tall" from belly to back.

    The worst looking hens are number 7 and 9.... bellies are well beyond gray, approaching black. There is no hint of chrome on the sides of either fish. Bet they both had LARGE loose berries and very thin belly walls.

    The best looking buck is number 3, but from the pic, I'm not even convinced it's a chinook. I'll bet it cut better than anything else in your spread (unless it was a chum).

    The best looking hen is number 1 ( and I'm not entirely sure it is a hen from the angle, but its an awfully big belly for a buck... would be nice to see the ovipositor to comfirm girliness). I personally would NOT keep a hen in that shape because I have to work really hard to see any chrome on her sides and it looks like there's a hint of gray-belly.... any gray on a hen's belly gets a free pass in my book. If it was a buck, I might consider keeping one like that for the table.

    Sincerely sorry if that comes across as harsh... just trying to be honest here.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

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