7 Ways How to Identify a Tule Salmon

How to Identify a Tule Salmon

Who does not wish to catch a big tule salmon? Yet not every salmon is developed equally. So, identifying tule among them is not very simple.

So, in this guide, I will discuss ways how to identify a tule salmon.

Identifying tule is not an easy task. You have to know the aspects and inspect them thoroughly to tell the difference. Look for a big rounded anal fin that is sheer pink in color. Not only that, look if it has a football shaped body. It should also have a slimy coating and old fish smell to be a tule.

Still confused? Do not sweat! Because, in this guide, I tell you ways you can identify a tule. All it takes is just a close inspection on your part.

So, just keep reading to find out!

How to Identify a Tule Salmon

What Is a Tule Salmon?

Tule Salmons is also known as Tule Chinook Salmon. 

In recent years the wild Tule is frequently one of the fish species of Chinook salmon that have a major impact on the fishing season.

They happen to be a lower Columbia River species. They usually go back to their point of origin during the earlier fall. That is commonly between early August to early September.

These salmon begin life in many locations inside the lower Columbia River. Typically under Bonneville Dam. 

Few Tule Salmon can be wild stocks. However, a bigger proportion is of hatchery origin.

These fishes depart the Columbia and the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the Alaska waters.

After around 3-4 years, the Tule Chinook usually migrates back to its source of origin. The purpose of this is to spawn.

They can not survive in the aquarium. So there is no hassle of disposing of aquarium water.

Most Salmon would not be aggressive after leaving the salt water. Which makes these difficult for fishermen to catch. 

But, the Tule Chinook happens to be extremely aggressive and put out more vigor when caught.

So, specifying a Tule Salmon and then releasing it unharmed is extremely crucial. This way you can keep the season open in impacted areas.

In the next section, we will let you know the entire process

7 Ways You Can Identify A Tule Salmon

In this section, we will be discussing how to identify a tule salmon.

Well, it is not actually the easiest to Identify a Tule Salmon. 

As a conventional rule, you need to always avoid retaining any wild Tule. Does not matter whether they are legal to be retained.

Any type of wild fish is supposed to be recognized by its intact adipose fin

You may notice the fish is missing an adipose fin and also that area is completely healed. In that case, be sure that it’s a hatchery fish.

There are a few hatchery fish with various fins clipped. However, know the regulations to avert a ticket. 

Here we are going to review the features that you can use to identify Tule Salmon.

Large Rounded Anal Fin 

Tules generally possess round anal fins. These include some ribs edging at a steeper bowed angle. 

The fin will appear a bit more sheer and translucent. It is also pink at the place where it’s connected to the body.

So, look for something like this in the salmon. If you find it, you are one step further in identifying tule salmon.

Bronze Color Upper Body

Most of the Tule Salmons tend to have a bronze-colored lower body. Whereas their upper body is usually olive green.

Though it is, keep in mind, not accurate in 100% of cases. 

Nonetheless, it is quite rare for a Tule to be of silver or dime bright colors.

So, search for the bronze color upper body to be more sure.

Large Black Spots

Tules usually have way larger spots than any other species of salmon. So, you will be able to easily distinguish between the size of the spots.

Also, these spots normally run down their entire tail. So, that is another indicator for you in specifying a Tule Salmon. 

Football Shaped Body

Body shape is another factor that can help you identify a tule species among others.

Almost all salmon possess sleek bodies. However, what makes the Tule different is that they tend to be thicker in the middle.

Also, they possess an apparent bump on their head.

These two things combined, make them look more football-shaped.

Pink Belly Area 

Another indicator is the pink belly area. This is also called belly burn. It is actually the pink tule have on the bellies.

It is exactly the same pink color we mentioned for the anal fin.

This is not common for all the time salmons yet only tules tend to have it.

Old Fish Smell 

Tules are typically near the end of their life cycle. So, it is quite normal for them to have an intense fishy smell. 

Their smell is analogous to the smell of spawning beds. That is where fish tend to be spawned out and about to die.

Slimy Coating 

This is the final aspect of our list to identify a tule fish.

When you run your fingers over a Tule’s body, it would feel slimy. It would feel sticky and clammy on your skin.

Most Tules tend to be slimy. Whereas some of them are exceedingly slimy. 

When you notice this, you will know.

Do not get this slime on you or your boat because it can be very stinky. 

But whether you would fit in your boat plug- inside or outside is another matter.

Always remember to notice whether the chinook is a dark hatchery fish. If so, there is a high possibility of it not being a Tule. 

So, at times you may end up catching one of those fish. If so, keep it to prevent the hatchery fish from wandering on spawning beds. 

So, there you go. You have all the ways you can use to recognize a Tule Salmon.


What type of salmon are in the Columbia River?

In the Columbia river, there are 3 types of salmon. That is summer, spring, summer and fall Chinook. There are tule salmon, sockeye salmon and coho salmon. These are the major species among these salmon.

Which wild salmon is best?

King or Chinook is considered the best salmon of all. They are rich in fat content. They are also big in size. Chinook salmon is packed with high amounts of omega 3s.

Which salmon is the least fishy tasting?

The Coho salmon has the least fishy taste. Mostly the silver ones. Whereas tule salmon has an intense old fish smell. Coho has medium fat quantity and it provides a mild flavor. So, it is tolerable.

Wrapping Up

Hope I have resolved your query about how to identify a tule salmon?

Now you know all the ways. Go through the guide again before you try to catch one. However, keep in mind that they can be very slimy. So be careful not to get this slime on your boat or clothing. And you are good to go!

That is all about now. Have an awesome day!