Sandlance

Other Common Names: Sand eel, Pacific sand lance, candlefish
Scientific Names: Ammodytes hexapterus

While sometimes called an "eel" due to its long, thin shape, the sandlance is not a true eel. Old-timers from Puget Sound will call it a "candlefish", but that term really belongs to the eulachon, or smelt. The Indians of Puget Sound dried these oily fish and burned them like candles, hence the local use of "candlefish." (They give a weak, if somewhat odorous, light.)

Sandlances travel in large schools; the school forms a ball when attacked by birds, seals, or fish. Sand lances feed on plankton in open water during the day, but burrow into the sand at night.

This small, thin fish constitutes up to 35% of the diet of juvenile salmon--up to 60% for juvenile chinook! So if you want to catch sea-run cutthroat and resident coho in Puget Sound, you'd better have some imitations with you. Check with a local shop and choose a fly that matches the size of the prevailing naturals.

 

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Characteristics

COLOR: Irridescent silver with dark back

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Slender profile. Thin dorsal fin the length of the back