By Wayne Kruse
Reader and longtime salmon fisherman Jim Brink sent three photos of a bright chinook with unusual yellow coloring on its lower quarter — belly and fins. He asked if I had ever seen anything like it.
I haven’t. Nor heard of anything similar.
Brink said it was caught in local waters, and a couple of folks were wondering if it was safe to eat.
I ran it past retired fisheries biologist Curt Kraemer of Marysville, and he hadn’t heard of anything exactly like that either. He said he’s seen photos of pink trout (probably exposed to a dye situation of some kind), and has seen spots of unusual color on various species, including yellow spots on salmon, but never anything like this.
Kraemer’s opinion is that it’s probably a dye-related skin issue, perhaps the result of carotene in the diet (shrimp of some kind?), and that he probably wouldn’t hesitate to eat the fish.
“More evidence of carotene would be if the flesh was a really bright red-orange,” he said.
If you have any further information, e-mail me, Wayne Kruse, at email@example.com and I’ll share the information.