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Thread: How do you tell an ocean pink from an ocean silver

  1. #1

    Default How do you tell an ocean pink from an ocean silver

    Last year at pony cove we caught lots of silvers. I was able to identify several pinks and released them. When we got back with our limit and started filleting, there were two or three surprises mixed in (pinks). Is there a quick and easy way to indentify/differentiate the two in the ocean?
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  2. #2

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    In my experience the scales on pinks are noticably smaller than those of reds or silvers. They are almost like the scales of a trout. I have a picture of 18 reds we dipped at the Kenai last year and two of them were actually pinks, and I was the only one who pointed out out the pinks in my group. Also the backs of pinks do not have that flashy greenish glaze that I notice on silvers, reds, and kings. But these were caught at the mouth of the kenai where they have already come in contact with fresh water. These fish were still incredibly fresh and if you didnt look closely you couldnt tell they were pinks. But once we started to hack away with a fillet knife it was more than obvious.

    I have never fished in the ocean from a boat so I couldnt tell you if that makes a difference.

  3. #3
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    they are usually smaller, smaller scales, and oval shaped black spots on their tails.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    The spots on a pinks back are more prodominate than of a silver. If you use a landing net, the scales of a silver will go every where, a pinks won't. Scale size of a silver is larger than a pink too.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Look at the tail, if there are spots its a pink, kinda like telling a rainbow from a sockeye, easy
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Ditto what others have said.

    Pinks are real easy to tell once they have spent any time in the river, but a lot of folks seem to be fooled by their "brightness" in the salt. The BIG oval spots on the tail fin are the dead giveaway... no matter how bright the pink. A silver has only the tiniest of spots on its tail (if any at all), and only on the upper lobe, not the entire tail.

    The tiny scales are also a BIG clue that it's a pink. Remember pinks have a 2 year total life cycle... the ones coming back this year were hatched less than two years ago. They head out the following spring and spend just a little over a year foraging at sea before turning back to the river. Not much time to add growth rings to their scales!



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  7. #7

    Default I got it now!

    Really nice pictures and examples, thank you. I won't confuse them again and bring home pinks by accident. (Last year was my first time catching pinks, we only had King and Coho runs in Oregon).
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    its all about the spots, and pinks that are super bright are ok if you gut em and put em on ice right away, they are just much more mild and have smaller flakes then the rest of the salmon.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    I agree! Dont malign the fresh pinks. They are every bit as tasty and in fact, are favored by folks I know that prefer the milder fish taste to begin with. Remind me of fresh dolly varden.

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    I worked on a troller for a summer and a half the way you tell is first they almost alway have a pink shine to them, pusle there snout will be sharp compared to silvers which are rounded, trust me this is how you tell. other ways will work but this is the fastest easiest way.

  11. #11
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Pinks

    Pinks are great smoked. I usually do 2-3 batches and vacumn seal them and freeze. Then when friends from the L48 ask for smoked fish....... the reds stay home and the pinks go.

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  12. #12

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    Great picture fishNphysician, the oval spots on the tail will be darker and more noticable in the saltwater. That fish on the bottom has the straight tail of a steelhead, maybe its the way its being held.
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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Also the silver streaks on the silvers tail are why they are called silvers. They are the only ones that have that. That is how I can tell them from the reds. Or rather how I tell the reds from the silvers. Ha Ha.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    also a good way to avoid pinks is to fish deep.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by profishguide View Post
    Great picture fishNphysician, the oval spots on the tail will be darker and more noticable in the saltwater.
    Absolutely.

    Check out this thread I started on another board for some coho-vs-pink pics. The big black spots on the tail are a dead giveaway for pinks!

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=163593
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    Default Honey hens...

    When I pull a silver bright hen Pink, she makes my creel. Not only do I enjoy the flesh, I throughly enjoy her eggs.

    This is my fish of choice when I seek caviar, absolutely...

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  17. #17

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    One thing I have noticed with the pinks is you will notice their back isn't rounded like a silver, they have a little angle. I have noticed this the most dip netting.

  18. #18
    Member JediMasterSalmonSlayer's Avatar
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    Default Tail Spots!

    Simple, Tail Spots.

    Pinks=spots on top and bottom tail

    Silvers=spots on top lobe of tail only

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  19. #19

    Default Go pinks...

    Being an even year, probably lots in the Kenai. BTW, when typically are they the thickest? I kept 6 pinks we caught in Hope last July and fillet/vac'd them and ate them months later; nothing wrong with them in the least. Smoked some H&G ones last summer that had been frozen for at least 6 months, they turned out good too. Did catch one last July red fishing; also caught something that looked like a sucker, had no idea what the heck that was, it was about 2-3 lbs and was silver with a suction cup deal for the mouth. Any ideas?
    Jim

  20. #20
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    Default Silver are... Well, silver...

    In my experience, sorting fish on a large scale commercial fishing, I found that the easiest way to spot a silver was with the tail. The spots as mentioned above work but even easier than that is

    *the fatter base of the tail on a silver and perhaps most prominent of all is

    *the silver on the tail itself.

    If you look closely at the pictures above you can clearly see spots and a green color on the pink but on the silver you can see the fat tail with silver on it's tail fanning out toward the tip. Also silvers have big scales and shed them like no other salmon I have ever seen. As for telling them from other species they have black gums like kings, a good guide to these traits can be found in the ADF&G Fishing Regulations on the very back pages.

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