It’s not too often that an angler goes to scoop up some baitfish and ends up with a salmon in the net.
That’s what happened to Greg Robertson and his nephew Trevor Murdoch just outside Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories at the end of October.
The two men were scooping up ciscoes as bait for lake trout. They were crossing Prosperous Lake, heading for the Tartan Rapids of the Yellowknife River when a bit more than ciscoes came up in the net.
Try an 8-pound at 29-inch chum salmon.
“We were kind of in shock so what we did right away was call [the territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources] just to make sure what we should do,” Robertson says. “We were amazed. We didn’t know what to say when we saw it, it was a total surprise.”
Robertson says he hasn’t heard of salmon being found in the Yellowknife River before.
There are probably more salmon in the river. The fish had the typical markings of a spawning chum: purple, blotchy spots and an elongated snout.
“The salmon was quite lethargic,” says Robertson says. “He had a hooked nose and he looked like he’d been spawned out.”
Murdoch is going to send the fish to Winnipeg, where researchers studying salmon populations and spawning behavior in the Arctic will analyze it.