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Thread: Edible Salmon

  1. #1

    Default Edible Salmon

    When salmon spawn and turn color are they still edible? Or do they get mushy? I'm mainly concerned with Sivers and Reds. Also when the top of their mouth turns down does that indicate they are spawning or just mature fish? Maybe stupid questions. Just trying to learn as much as I can before my August trip.

  2. #2
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default Spawning Colors

    The fish start to degrade as soon as they leave the salt. I have seen fish that are really red, still be firm and red. Others have been off colored and mushy. I tend to smoke the soft fillets. I enjoy them smoked, but not fresh if they start to get soft. The mouth change is put of the spawn change and happen when they enter the fresh water. Hope this helps.

    Steve

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Salt-water salmon. . .

    For my money and tastes, any salmon caught in fresh water is inferior in taste to one caught in salt water, and the longer they're in fresh water, the worse they taste.

    These days we get our table salmon with our dip-nets, anything else goes in the smoker, and can't imagine even smoking a salmon caught above Bing's,

    Silvers and pinks caught at Cunningham or below are okay. Sockeye with a blush of pink might make the smoker; silvers must be dime-bright.

    Just my preferences. . .


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    Default

    I can't speak for Alaskan Salmon, but I fish for them alot in Michigan, best tasting either being caught in the lake, from the pier or fresh in the river.

    In my experience fish that are silver still have firm meat and good flavor.....once they start to darken the flesh pales, gets muchy and in my opinion is only good for smoking or canning.

    Same thing can happen if you catch a good siliver fish and don't keep it cold, flesh will pale and get mushy.

    Am also interested in seeing the response from the Alaskan sportsmen as I am also planning a trip to Alaska this summer.

  5. #5
    Member anonymous1's Avatar
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    Default Its A Matter Of Taste

    IMHO any silver that does`nt come out of the salt water ocean bright is gonna taste like mud. Sockey hold their taste quite aways up the river but flesh texture seems to soften in warmer water. I don`t eat humpies unless they are ocean fresh and Kings can be pretty tasty along ways up. They call dogs dogs for a good reson

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    In my experiance the best way to tell is the fins and belly, if the belly or fins are really white, or black it should be put back to spawn or better yet, snapped off the line immediately. If the fish is red its usally not super good. Its easy to tell if you have a school of fire trucks with a few fresher fish in em. You can also poke them and see how soft the flesh is. You can of course actually eat nasty fish but I wouldn't.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  7. #7
    Member arcticfox77's Avatar
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    Default

    fish can still have a hooked snout in saltwater, thats a pretty good indication that its a larger than average fish, ive caught many silvers and king miles offshore and they have had hooked snouts. if im fishing freshwater, if the fish is starting to change color i will toss them back.

  8. #8
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Thumbs up And yet...

    ... people quite happily and thankfully catch and eat salmon way up the Yukon and its tributaries. There are even commercial fisheries far up the Yukon.

    A rule of thumb regarding the freshness of salmon is that the longer and bigger the river, the longer many of the salmon- especially kings, but reds too, such as in the Copper River- will stay edible. This is largely due to fat content in the flesh, I would imagine.

    I have eaten turned reds and chums when I was hungry and out of other food. Over a camp fire with plenty of salt, they are palatable. But hunger is the key. Yupik Eskimos will fish red salmon all the way through a river system up to the lake and catch them before they spawn. The meat by that time is white. They are called sayallaq- poor old salmon. Some are dried, but many are manyaqed- or eaten cooked over a fire- all except for the nuchal area (the back, right behind the head), which is eaten raw.

  9. #9

    Default

    Spawning salmon are best prepared in boiling water, over a campfire, in the five gallon blazo can, with the top cut out. Seriously if it is showing visible signs of spawning phase, the quality of the meat is suspect. You can tell how mushy they will be by pressing your thumb on the fleshy part of the back, adjacent to the dorsal fin. How quickly or not the skin and flesh "bounce" back into shape, will be your best indication of the way it is going to cook up.

  10. #10
    Member #1duck's Avatar
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    Default

    2Paws sent you a pm.

  11. #11

    Default

    Unless it is a Copper River red the fish will go in the smoker. Now its a matter of which fish to keep to toss in a brine and smoke. The meat of reds, in my experience, last much longer than their counterparts. I will keep a red salmon that has somewhat turned red as long as its not jet red and the head is green. if it is a silver and somewhat red, chances are, I will throw it back.

  12. #12

    Default Edible Salmon

    Thanks for all the informative replies. A lot of info can be found on the internet but this forum is invaluable for finding answers to questions from experienced fishermen.

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