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Old 08-18-2019, 02:04 PM
Rock Doctor Rock Doctor is offline
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Posts: 509
Default Ivory (White) King Salmon taste test

It was not all that long ago that white King Salmon were looked upon with a bit of distaste. Ive heard comments like "they're oily, slimy, skunky, etc". They used to cost less than your typical red King, now they cost more. High end restaurants are paying thousands of dollars to fly Whites all across the country, and even the world. Some anglers believe they can tell if they catch a White just by how it acts when caught (A White will dive deep, a Red will run away from the boat). They are not really common or uncommon, approximately 5% (1 in 20) are Whites.

All salmon eat small marine crustaceans (shrimp, krill and crabs) that are rich in astaxanthin, a carotenoid that is found in most sea life. White king salmon do not have the ability to metabolize these pigments from their food sources, leaving their flesh white. The ability of salmon to metabolize and store the red-orange pigment carotene in its muscle cells is determined by their genetic make-up.
Research has shown that when two white kings are mated they produce white king offspring, and red kings when mated, produce red kings. Itís a bit more complicated when a red king and a white king mate. The ability to process carotenoids is a dominant trait and the inability is determined by a recessive trait. Dominant traits are manifested more often, and so white kings are in the minority.
We did catch 2 or 3 on our last trip, so we decided to have a taste test. White and Red King salmon cooked over an open fire. In my opinion, the White is ever so slightly better. A little more oily, buttery, and slightly less "fishy".

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Old 08-18-2019, 04:37 PM
Buckwheat Buckwheat is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Calgary
Posts: 244

I agree 100%. A friend caught a 44lber in the Alberni inlet a few year back. We all got a piece and I smoked mine. Best smoked salmon ever. Last yr I caught one off the beach at Ucluelet, not as big but just as tasty.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:41 PM
Salavee Salavee is online now
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Location: Parkland County, AB
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For sure there was a distaste for White Springs in the marketplace. Back in the 60's I recall we were paid about $1.25/lb for troll caught reds, but only about $0.50/lb for whites. Glad there weren't all that many whites around. White meat Salmon weren't too palatable methinks.. but I couldn't tell the difference between the two.
When applied by competent people with the right intent, common sense goes a long way.
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:36 PM
Drewski Canuck Drewski Canuck is offline
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Kitamat has marble springs. Product of the hatchery having re and white Springs in the holding tanks from two different runs that were mixed.

Very cool looking when filleted.

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Old 08-19-2019, 10:15 PM
Wes_G Wes_G is offline
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I caught a marbled one fishing rivers inlet about 10 years ago.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:04 AM
Smoky buck Smoky buck is online now
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Fraser runs reds are first in the spring/summer and whites in the fall. There is the rare marble thrown in the mix

Never thought of whites being uncommon but most of my experience with springs is fishing the Fraser river system where itís simply a matter of time of year if you are going to catch reds or whites
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:28 AM
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Positrac Positrac is offline
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Location: Fort McMurray
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Knights and Bute inlet have a early run of springs that have a high percentage of white springs in it. I used to fish both inlets from mid-April to mid-June each year, well before traditional runs got started. April 27th was my earliest Tyee and that came from Knights Inlet in 1998, a beauty 34 pounder caught right in front of the waterfall at Glacier Bay.

Iíve caught a ton of white springs over the years. Most were sub 30ís with high teens to mid twenties the norm. They seemed to fight better than reds but the weight bracket we caught them in are always the best fighters when it came to long runs. I preferred a red to cook up and eat but whites were always the best smokers.
ďThink of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that...Ē
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:43 AM
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GMX GMX is offline
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 331

I prefer the whites over reds but wonít turn down any spring on my table. Got a 50lb one two years ago I believe the whites do fight a little harder of course Iíve been proven wrong on a few occasions. Itís funny when someone sees a white one and doesnít believe salmon are that colour just wish there was more of them.
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Old 08-20-2019, 10:00 AM
Drewski Canuck Drewski Canuck is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,404

We have caught Whites off the Big Qualicum in late August, and have seen whites at the Alberni canal as well.

At one time, there was a marketing campaign for canned white Springs, where they guaranteed that the canned fish would not turn red. They sold a ton of canned white spring salmon that way.

But lets face it, whether it is a trout or a salmon, people like the look of red on the plate even if the taste is not much different.

As for the orange - red fleshed brook trout from Maligne, they just taste GOOD!!!

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Old 08-20-2019, 02:52 PM
59whiskers 59whiskers is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South West Alberta
Posts: 416

Caught 1 white south of Campbell River and 2 reds north of Ripple Rock this past week.
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Old 08-20-2019, 03:44 PM
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Brandonkop Brandonkop is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: BC/Alberta
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I got my first one off sandheads the other day.

I haven't done the taste test yet.

The Fishing Doctors Adventures - You May Watch More Than You Bargained For, haha!
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Old 08-24-2019, 01:41 PM
Marty S Marty S is offline
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All white chinooks i ever caught were on the Skeena, still a very pale tinge of red. Caught plenty of them fishing mid july. I am convinced they are a drier eating fish with less oil than any red of equal size. However, one white that i caught stands out in my mind, it had white flesh, was more like a chum than a chinook. Was quite the anomaly.

Been fishing the island, Hardy and WH... 100% red flesh... gotta like that!!!

Friends in Terrace blindfolded their buddies and themselves to perform a taste test of reds vs whites and claimed nobody could tell the difference. However, i wasnt there! Now im not convinced there is a taste difference, but there is most certainly a consistency difference of oils in the flesh of the two. Red is succulent with max oil and whites have less oil.

I ate enough Skeena chinooks over a 10 year plus period to feel i can have a qualified opinion!

ps... i sure hate the way the processors fillet, thin lightning fast fillets then trim off the bellies and throw the best part of the fish in their oil bucket$$$$$$. Full steaks = max yield. Cook nice too/couple bones.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:56 PM
Mr Flyguy Mr Flyguy is offline
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Caught white fleshed springs off Langara which tasted very good when baked.

Had a big one cold smoked; tasted OK but unappealing grey colour so not many takers at a patio buffet!
I fish, therefore I am.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:54 PM
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Penner Penner is offline
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Location: Edmonton
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Didn't even know there was such a thing as a White King. Learned something new today. Very interesting.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:29 PM
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fish99 fish99 is offline
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Originally Posted by Penner View Post
Didn't even know there was such a thing as a White King. Learned something new today. Very interesting.
we used to get some white chinook off the Qualicum's rivers
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:33 AM
kingrat kingrat is offline
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Location: prince albert
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We caught several in rupert 2 years ago and the wife and I both swear they taste better. Never even heard of it until that day, pretty neat.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:30 AM
mikebossy mikebossy is offline
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Location: Edmonton
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great taste test, thanks for posting, learned something good today
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:44 PM
Sierra05 Sierra05 is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 20

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

Does anyone have a good recipe for Lake Trout. We caught one at Cold Lake in June. We gutted it and cut away much of the belly fat. My buddy wrapped it in foil and cooked it on the bbq with butter. I found it to be pretty tasteless and soft. I thought maybe a different recipe or cooking method might help.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:53 PM
Marty S Marty S is offline
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I think youre supposed to wrap a rock inside the fish's body cavity...
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