The Pink Salmon is a phenomenal gamefish, chasing flies and lures as aggressively as the prized Coho and yielding delicious, high-quality meat when caught early in their run.
The pink salmon is the most abundant of all the salmon species, and also the physically smallest. When they enter freshwater, they begin a dramatic transformation. Their ocean chrome fades into a complex green, pink and white cholor scheme, and male fish develop a large hump, giving them their colloquial name “humpy.”
Pinks begin to appear on the scene around the second or third week of July, the main body of the run lasts until the middle of August, and stragglers continue to trickle in for the first couple weeks of September. They are the most fun to fish for in the early and middle parts of their run – the later into the season it gets, the more lethargic and deteriorated the fish become, even when fresh from saltwater.
For the most part, Pink Salmon are a gloriously indiscriminate and aggressive creature, chasing and eating virtually any fly or lure presented to them. Our favorite way to target them is to strip a pink wog over a pool of staging fish. Just wait for that top-water take!
For some mysterious reason, the Pink run at Saltery usually includes a preponderance of trophy-sized fish. The average size for Pinks in most fisheries is about two pounds. The average at Saltery is more like four, and every season, we pull a few 10+ pound monsters out of the river. We have also caught a few “Miko,” or “Chumpy” salmon, a beautiful but sterile hybrid between the Pink and the Chum salmon.
Whether specifically targeted or merely an incidental pleasure, the Pink has more than enough charm to redeem its reputation for anyone willing to give it a chance.
Rod: 7/8wt single-handed (6 if you want a challenge)
Reel: 7/8wt normal or large arbor with good drag
Line: 7/8wt floating
Leader/tippet: 3X-0X (10-14lb straight monofilament or fluorocarbon is equally effective and less expensive than tapered leader and fly-fishing tippet)
Flies: Literally anything that sinks or floats and is tied on a size 8 hook or larger. Bright pink flies tend to produce the best.