Salmon fishing is one of the biggest attractions that draw visitors to British Columbia’s coast each year. But how much do you really know about this unique fish?

Whether you’re shopping for them in your local grocery store or casting a line to catch one yourself with a Sointula fishing excursion, Pacific salmon are a fascinating, beautiful, and delicious species. Want to learn more about them? Check out these interesting facts you might not know.

1. They’re Anadromous

Pacific salmon are one of several species of fish that are considered anadromous. This is a term that refers to not just their ability to live in both freshwater and saltwater, but the fact that they travel between both on a set cycle.

Pacific salmon are born in freshwater, in streams and rivers located inland throughout regions like British Columbia and Alaska. After they hatch, they migrate to the oceans and inlets, living most of their lives in saltwater. When they are ready to spawn, they once again travel back to those freshwater rivers and streams. In most cases, salmon die immediately after they spawn.

Atlantic salmon are not anadromous. Unlike their Pacific cousins, they don’t require saltwater at any point in their lives. Atlantic salmon are also smaller than most Pacific salmon, and are on the decline, with their species now considered to be endangered in the U.S.

2. The Species Has Been Around a While

Salmon isn’t a recent addition to the world’s waters. In fact, the oldest known salmon fossil dates back some 50 million years!

3. Salmon is More Than Just Tasty

If you love eating salmon, you’re in luck. Salmon is just as healthy as it is delicious.

Salmon is naturally brimming with omega-3 fats. These fats have been scientifically proven to offer a variety of health benefits. Eating salmon regularly can lower your blood pressure, improve your memory and brain function, and help keep your joints healthy. The fats are great for giving your skin a healthy glow and can reduce inflammation throughout your body. There have even been studies showing that salmon can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

With so many different ways to prepare salmon, it’s easy to make this tasty fish a regular part of your diet. While grilled and topped with veggies or sauces is always a good choice, it’s also great served smoked with breakfast, tossed into salads, or even grilled or smoked on sandwiches.

4. They Can Travel Thousands of Miles

After they are hatched, salmon travel downstream and into inlets and oceans. From there, they will travel in search of food. When it comes time to spawn though, they need to get back to the river or stream where they were born. In some cases, this means traveling thousands of miles, in addition to the miles they travel to find the right spot to spawn.

The longest documented trip ever taken by a salmon was by a Chinook. The fish traveled 2,389 miles or 2,845 kilometers during its journey.

5. Frozen is Fine

Often, frozen fish and meat get a bad rep. But in reality, freezing wild-caught salmon is what allows it to be safely transported, and ensures that you get that fresh-caught taste when you’re ready to prepare it, even if that fish has traveled thousands of miles to land on your grill.

Wild-caught salmon is flash frozen to ensure the highest quality. When you catch your own fresh salmon during a visit to Sointula, your fish will be prepared and frozen for transport home. Keep it frozen until you’re ready to cook it.

Unlike other ingredients, you don’t need to thaw your salmon before you begin cooking it, either!

6. They Appear in Mythology and Folklore

Salmon have appeared throughout history in folklore and mythology. They are particularly prevalent in Scottish, Welsh, and Irish legends. 

One Scottish story told of a queen who gave a ring to her lover that had been a gift from her husband. The king noticed the lover wearing the ring, and snuck it off his finger to toss it in the River Clyde. Then, the king asked the queen to produce the ring. She asked a saint for help, and the saint called upon a monk to catch a fish from the river. The monk caught a salmon, and upon slicing its belly open, discovered the ring.

Salmon was an important staple in the diets of many Native American tribes. So it’s no surprise that the fish shows up in many of their tales as well. There are even Salmon dances and ceremonies that celebrate the species.

7. A Salmon Mother Can Carry More Than 4,000 Eggs

When it comes time to spawn, female salmon carry their eggs to the same freshwater streams and rivers where they were born. Depending on the species, their age, and their size, they can carry thousands of eggs. A female Chinook can carry the most–they have been known to carry over 4,000 eggs.

Cast a Line and Reel in Your Own Pacific Salmon

If these facts have you inspired to try your hand at catching your own Pacific salmon, why not plan a fishing trip to Sointula? Check out the island’s fishing charters and luxury lodges today to find the right one for your visit!