Smallest of the five Pacific species, pink salmon reach spawning weights of 5 – 11 pounds in their second summer. They are the only salmon to return to their river of origin after two years, a characteristic which may account for their diminutive size. Pink breed true, that is, they return with the same fish with which they hatched. Accordingly, cross-fertilization from one year to the next does not occur.
On the southern coast, the consequences of breeding true have been evident for 70 years. In the early 1920s, a major landslide at Hell’s Gate , a treacherous obstacle on the Fraser River, prevented virtually all pink salmon from migrating to their short spawning streams. Since then, pink salmon have returned in catchable numbers only in odd-numbered years, swinging south around Vancouver Island on their approach from the open Pacific. In mid-island waters, pink return in both even- and odd-numbered years, while on the northern coast of British Columbia, pink return to short coastal streams in even-numbered years.
The LOONS Flyfishing Club