Salmon on beds?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sgc, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. sgc

    sgc

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    I saw some salmon (kings) on beds 10/16. They're a few miles upstream from the river mouth. They seemed fairly active still protecting their beds, but they were changed in color and were fairly dark and spotted. So I'm trying to figure when they would have been at the river mouth starting upstream. ? I havent had any luck at this rivermouth in the last few years and am wondering if I'm missing the run. Around 9/15 was previously my go to weekend.
     
  2. Bucket-Back

    Bucket-Back

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    Dark fish are in Newaygo.
     

  3. sgc

    sgc

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    So, how long would you estimate they've been there? When were they at the river mouth?
     
  4. Bucket-Back

    Bucket-Back

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    river mouth is 45 miles away as the crow flies. Been seeing beds for a couple weeks....
     
  5. Stand By

    Stand By

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    Some will be dark when they come into the river. When they get the white spotty, blotchy areas, that's a fungus because their defenses shutting down from not eating. Doesn't hurt the meat, though you might save those for the smoker. To me, any in the river, even light ones, are stronger tasting than summer fish, but grilling helps a lot. Grilling allows the fat to drain out and with it, a lot of the strong flavor. Baking holds it in. All are still good in a smoker.
     
  6. The Mediocre Fisherman

    The Mediocre Fisherman

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    Wondering if I experienced the norm, or the exception. I hear a lot of folks turn their nose up at river fish, and talk of mushiness. All of the coho I’ve brought home were either fresh off the pier, or barely colored up when in the river, plus I eat a ton of fresh supermarket Atlantic and go to a lot of sushi places. Grilled, oven baked, fried, smoked, cold smoked, sashimi, etc. so I’m well versed in the various flavors of “fresh” salmon. So I decided to try my first river king the other day and see the difference.

    This fish didn’t have the white fungus appearing yet, but was quite dark with scales getting knocked off here and there. The meat was white, not pink or orange. Already put off a bit by the color I went straight for smoking it, as the idea of just grilling it up plain with some lemon pepper (like I usually do) sounded disgusting. I had some smaller sample pieces I had prepped special for periodic testing throughout the day as it smoked up, and anything that was still moist was not very appetizing to me. So I just kept going with it till it started resembling jerky, and it did seem to get more palatable the further I went in that direction.

    In the end it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I would call good either. Now mind you my mind was likely already biased towards the quality of the original source material, that kept me from fully enjoying it. Also, every day after starting to eat this stuff was plagued with constant monster farts and other bathroom related issues... soooo.

    I pretty much swore to myself I wasn’t going to keep a fish in that condition ever again. But mine was no where near as rough looking as the others I saw people hauling out that day. If this was the exception, and not the norm, maybe I should give it another go? Was a hell of a wasted day processing and cooking that fish up if the results are always going to be subpar compared to, well, everything else.
     
  7. Stand By

    Stand By

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    I'm wondering about your smoking technique?Temp set to high will bake it. Too much steam in your heat can bake it rather than smoke it. I don't really like to get the chips wet. Cutting off the air supply should keep them from wanting to flame up. Wind will get the chips to flame up and bake the fish early, too. Might try rotating your racks. The bottom racks will be close to your heat source so rotate them up.

    Like I said, I like to grill a fresher fish. Little lowreys, crushed pepper, crushed sea salt. Any marinate will contribute to it baking rather than browning on the grill.

    Did you soak in a brine before smoking?
    Start with a big bottle of soy sauce, I like to cut up a few vegetables, tomorrow, onion, etc. a cup of "real-lemon" lemon juice, some worcestershire sauce. A bit of table salt, even though the soy sauce will provide salt. Depending on mood, either some brown sugar and honey or a cup or two of real maple syrup. (It won't come out with a strong maple flavor, just a hint of sweetness). Let soak at least a day. Then smoke. I smoke with the skin on. You'll see the tops of the steaks split open. I didn't make it out this year, or I'd take some pictures.
     
  8. The Mediocre Fisherman

    The Mediocre Fisherman

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    Low heat, but I do wet the chips. Just a simple salt and brown sugar brine, soaked till the next day. Wish I would have tried soy sauce, but just did what I always do, which comes out awesome for supermarket bought fish. I did remove the skin, however. I love to eat the skin on salmon.... but not from this salmon. That stuff looked gross on this girl (was a spawned out hen). Smoked for about 6 hours, definitely wasn’t baking... very moist in the middle still. Taste testing I thought it was kinda gross anywhere that was moist, but the harder jerky-like outside tasted good... that’s when I purposely cranked it up and attempted to jerky all of it to make it palatable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020
  9. Stand By

    Stand By

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    The skin is just to keep the meat intact, don't eat it. Break the meat off as you go and then toss the skin. The citric acid in my recipe also help to tenderize and get the meat to absorb the flavors
     
  10. Gordon Casey

    Gordon Casey

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    Late Sept/Oct river fish have lost a lot of the salmon flavor that we are accustom to. The meat has lost all the granular fat that you usually see throughout the meat. The meat becomes course and has lost a lot of flavor. If the meat is white, in my mind, it's only good for smoking. Lake and pier fish with pink meat are good for baking and frying. Smoke all the other fish.
     
  11. sgc

    sgc

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    I wasnt interested in catching and eating the fish upstream. My post is about when these fish were theoretically at the mouth?
     
  12. toto

    toto

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    Not knowing how far up river these fish were, the only thing I can guess is that a salmon (in Michigan) probably swims a couple miles per day. I know out west they'll swim an incredible amount of miles per day, something like up to 50 miles per day. Here though, I suspect it's far less as these fish don't need to make it 900 miles before they hit spawning water. Anyways, just take this a little less than an educated guess.
     
  13. sgc

    sgc

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    Probably about 5 miles upstream.
     
  14. toto

    toto

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    So assuming for one minute I'm correct, then it would follow that those fish were at the river mouth about 10 days prior. Again, I may be all wrong in my logic (wouldn't be the first time), but if I'm close, there ya go.
     
  15. sgc

    sgc

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    Ok, lol, i'll go with it. Next year i'll be out there a little later.