The Saltwater Fish of the Pacific Northwest
The pacific northwest waters are just full of life. The variety of Saltwater Fish here is overwhelming. From the salmon to the coral, from the jellyfish to the crabs. Its awesome to observe. Tidal pools are a great place to start.
The black prickleback is a small fish with a small head and pointed oblique mouth. It has a long dorsal fin that runs into its tail fin giving the illusion of having a full body fin. The tail fin is rounded and joins with the anal fin. It has no ventral fins and pectoral fins are very small. It looks like an eel.
Another of our famous Saltwater Fish species is the Coho Salmon, they are sometimes called blue backs because of their bluish coloring on their backs. Coho have white gums, black tongues and a few spots on the upper portion of their bodies and silver colored tails. They have a wide tail base. Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface.
The Red Irish Lord is a thickly built saltwater fish with an long, wide body, very large head and a big mouth. They are a dull to brilliant red color on the dorsal surface and are mottled with a brownish red color on ventral surface. There are pale rusty color to black color spots all over. The red Irish lord can change its color to match its surroundings.
Wolf Eels are one of the more interesting species found in the pacific northwest waters. Wolf eels are easy to identify, when young, their coloration is a burnt orange spotted look that gradually changes into a dominant grey for males and brown for females.
One of my favorite shallow saltwater fish is the grunt sculpin. It is a small fish with a very large head, high forehead and a long snout ending in a small mouth. The eyes are small and deep set. A strange looking little fellow.
They are a creamy yellow on the back and sides with brown blotches on the head and narrow brown bars running downward and forward on the body. There is red on the first part of the dorsal, tail, anal and pectoral fins. There is orange on the ventral fins and lower rays of the pectoral fins. There is a black spot the base of each ray of pectoral fin.
They can be found from Alaska to Northern California including all of the BC coast. Though the grunt sculpin is a relative common fish on the coast of Vancouver Island, you will hardly ever see them. The grunt sculpin prefers shallow water along rocky shores, although it has been seen at 90 fathoms.
It got its name because sometimes when the fish is removed from the water, it makes a grunting sound.
The fish that live in our seas are there if you look. Just take a beach walk to see what you can see, you will be amazed.