How’s this for bizarre? A very lost coho salmon was recently taken by an angler in the River Meuse (Maas) in the Netherlands.
I received these two photos from Franklin Moquette, Officer Migrating Species, Sportfishing Netherlands who asked if I could identify the fish.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these pictures,” says Moquette. “It definitively is not an Atlantic salmon nor a sea run brown trout! To me it looks like a salmon that is a bit out of place here in Europe!”
Out of place, indeed, considering coho salmon are native to the West Coast of the U.S., from Northern California to Alaska. The closest coho to Europe are transplants in the Great Lakes system and I suppose it’s possible that one found its way down the St. Lawrence Seaway, out past Newfoundland and across “The Pond” to Europe. That route makes more sense than a Pacific coast coho making the trip down down around Cape Horn and around.
Parry Vermeulen, a contributor to Dutch fishing magazines, was the lucky angler (and provided the photos) and he hooked the salmon on a size #2 silver grey Rapala Jointed Shad Rap while fishing for pike and zander.
The fish was released because it is illegal to retain salmon and sea trout in the Netherlands and since Vermeulen wasn’t quite sure what it was, he decided to err on the side of caution.
Now, just in case you had any doubts as to what this fish is, here’s a photo of me with an Alaskan coho, just for comparison’s sake…
I guess the big question is why did this fish stray so far from home?