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  • Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
  • Found in Illinois: Lake Michigan
  • State Average:
  • State Record: 3lbs/8oz (2007)
  • Best Lures: silver spoons, spinners

Angling Tips:

Pinks can be taken by the same techniques used to take other Pacific salmon, though in the streams they are typically pursued by casting spoons or spinners or with fly fishing gear.

Illinois anglers can expect to catch salmon from shore, off piers, and out in the lake by trolling with a boat. Charter boat service from Chicago may be available. Boat fishermen are cautioned to use adequate sized boats and motors when fishing as Lake Michigan can be very dangerous. Strict compliance with the Illinois Boating Act is essential. Important items to have aboard a boat include life preservers, fire extinguishers, portable marine band radio, a compass, and an auxillary or extra outboard motor. Daily weather reports and storm warning information is a prerequisite to fishing by boat.

Salmon have a tendency to deteriorate fast after they are caught. Therefore, the angler should immediately remove the gills and internal organs. The quality of the flesh will also be improved by placing the cleaned fish on ice.

Habitat: Freshwater salmon were introduced into the Great Lake system as early as the late 1800s. The main types are Chinook, Coho, Pinks, Kokanee (Sockeye).

Feeding and Habits: Great Lakes pink salmon eat a variety of fish and other aquatic animals.

Reproduction: Pink Salmon usually spawn every two years, however, some pinks take longer to grow in the lake system and therefore take up to three years to mature, so some pinks will be in the river system every year.