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Strongest Freshwater Fish...Part II


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Didn't see this till now and the old thread is way long. It asked for strongest freshwater fish.....IMHO....credentials...currently I have caught 292 species of fish in my lifetime, roughly 80 or so of those would be freshwater. Everyone's opinions have been persuasive and I will agree that sunnies can kick butt for their size. Sturgeon have stamina and just large size. Salmon and steelhead can produce sizzling runs, as can large, native rainbows up here in Alaska. As my moniker suggests I have caught lots of pike and some large musky....neither of which are spectacular fighters but on the strike they could rip most other fishes heads off. Have caught hundreds of lake trout up to 30 lbs. and they aren't even on my radar for strongest....love all the charrs but they aren't even the best fighters in the salmonid family. And much as I enjoy the beautiful arctic grayling (here's a 19" from May this year):


Grayling are not considered anywhere near the top here in Alaska. This year I had the opportunity to compare smallies recently (out of Montreal, Quebec) with peacock bass (southern Florida). Some great fish of each species from Oct and Nov:





Agree with the tenacity and strength of the kings....had one in May which hit while I was fishing trout....was using a 5 wt flyrod with 10 lbs tippet....took me an hour or so to get her in:


A nice native Kenai River rainbow around 12 or so pounds:


But IMHO none of these is even close to the raw fury of hooking a dime bright sockeye salmon. If these little turds grew to the size of chinook you would never even get a good look at them. I've had them run through my legs, smack the guy next to me in the head so hard it nearly put him down, jump up the bank several feet and then back into the water and they never quit.....ever. Quite tasty too. Silvers (Coho) are pretty good also but would rank behind reds and kings for me.

1. Sockeye (red) salmon

2. native Alaskan rainbow

3. Chinook (king) salmon

4. Peacock bass (put largemouth to shame)

5. Smallmouth

There you have it...my list of 5. Now when it comes to saltwater it is a whole different story....but we'll leave that for another thread.


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As in the other thread, I have to agree with sockeye (after noticing the "freshwater" that was not in the original post headline), thus eliminating tuna:) My only question is whether we should consider sockeye in the freshwater catagory, as they spend much of thier life in the salt, and we just happen to catch them mainly in freshwater. But boy, do they pull!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

King Salmon.....contest over.

A 20lb sturgeon or a 20lb flathead, nice fight, but it doesn't compare to 20lb. King.

Yes, the Sturg and Flattie will show some impressive strength in some current, but when a King rips off 485' in the time you can muster a holy #%[email protected]!, you know who's King in this comp.

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The king I have in my avitar(sp?) was the best fight I have ever had.

The thing about this one was it was caught on the kenai with the fast current working with it. It would turn against the current and burn off 100+ ft of line like nothing. It was awesome!! We ended up landing it about 500yds down river from where it was originally hooked. (45", 43lbs)

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