Salmon, Blue nosed

(Eleutheronema tetradactylum)

Commonly referred to as Salmon!

Blue nosed salmon are a feisty northern sport fish that has earned the reputation of a fine salt water estuarine brawler! Their thick, muscular bodies and large powerful tails enable this species to more than account for itself when hooked. The eating qualities and aerial performances of this fish have also not gone unnoticed throughout the years making the blue nosed salmon one of the most popular northern estuarine species available today.

Distribution

Blue nosed salmon can be encountered in W.A. waters from as far south as Onslow right up to the magnificent Kimberley region and also throughout northern QLD and the N.T.

Growth

Blue nosed salmon can grow to over 90 cm in length and weigh as much as 10kg in weight although most fish commonly encountered around Australia average around 3 – 4kg.

Habitat

Blue nosed salmon inhabit salt water estuary systems throughout the top end of Australia and prefer warmer waters of around 20C plus. Like most fish blue nosed salmon love to hang around structure, Mangrove systems, rock bars, deep holes, channels, even wharf and jetty pylons will all hold fish at certain stages of the tide. Coastal areas where rivers meet the ocean and even rocky outcrops and headlands will also hold salmon at times as will coastal sand bars and mud flats.

Identification

Blue nosed salmon have commonly been mistaken for the mighty thread fin salmon which grows much larger, has a golden colouration and much more prominent whiskers.  Blue nosed salmon as their name suggests have a pointed nose that can be blue to green in colouration and a small mouth that has a set of rough leader wearing lips. The body is thick and muscular with a large, powerful forked tail.

Taste rating

  • Eighty Taste Rating
    80%

Blue nosed salmon are fantastic eating!

Sport rating

  • Ninety Sport Rating
    90%

Blue nosed salmon are exceptionally strong for their size and are a worthy opponent in any anglers book!

Tackle requirements

Most anglers prefer to target northern estuary species such as salmon with short, robust, bait caster style or spin combos spooled with 20 – 30lb braided line joined to clear nylon or fluorocarbon leaders of around 60 – 100lb. Low profile bait casters are typically used to throw lures in tight situations and larger profiled reels with greater line capacity are better suited for larger areas for live/dead baiting. Rods should be robust enough to pull heavy fish from cover yet also have the sensitivity to cast light lures accurately. Gel spun lines such as fire line are also well suited to northern estuary fishing as they are extremely abrasive resistant compared to most braids and will generally hang in there a bit tougher than most lines when they come into contact with structure. Longer rods and spinning reels can be used to target salmon from shore when extra casting distance is required. Bait runner style reels are best suited for this as they allow a fish to swim off with a bait without feeling any reel pressure before the hook is set.

Recommended baits, lures and rigs

Live and freshly cut mullet would have to be the ultimate northern estuary bait with live prawns also proving to be deadly. ( Please check with your local fisheries department for regulations on legal bait collection methods)  www.fish.wa.gov.au There are hundreds of  lures on the market today with hard bodied minnows still proving to be the lure of choice whilst targeting most northern creek species. Soft plastics and surface lures will also work at certain times with the key to lure choice being what ever style you choose make sure it is –

1 – Going to be visible to the fish in the water colour you will be faced with at your desired fishing location?

2 – Going to have the correct swimming action to entice a fish into striking?

3 – Going to be able to swim at the correct depth the fish will be hunting at?

4 – Going to be the correct size for the fish to attack?

5 – Going to be strong enough to land the fish or do you need to make modifications such as attaching stronger treble hooks etc?

You will obviously need to take a variety of lures with you to use in different fishing scenarios for instance if fishing on a full moon at night in calm conditions take heaps of black surface lures or when fishing around deep snags take heaps of deep diving hard bodies and soft plastics for trolling and casting. When the water is cool and the fish don’t seem to want to bite lures try using live and dead baits.

The simple live or dead bait rig is ideal for targeting northern creek species of all sizes and at most locations.

Handy hints and tips

When fishing for blue nosed salmon try using a slightly heavier leader material than normal, if the hook or lure is swallowed they will wear through leaders after long battles every time!

Preferred fishing times and tides

Most northern creek species prefer the last of the rising or falling tide coinciding with low light periods such as dawn and dusk.

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