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Coho salmon identification

Coho salmon identification

Coho salmon
Oncorhynchus kisutch

Coho salmon
Coho salmon, also called "silvers" or "silver salmon," are another species of Pacific Salmon found in King County. Coho often spawn in the smaller streams and don't tend to spawn in the larger rivers like Chinook. Because spawning coho can be red in color, similar in size, and spawn or travel though the same streams, they can sometimes be confused with sockeye. If you see a salmon, here's some tips to use to determine whether or not it's a coho...

Photos from Inland Fishes of Washington by Whitney and Wydoski, © 1979 University of Washington Press. Reprinted by permission of the University of Washington Press.

Male coho
Adult Male Coho Salmon.
Female coho
Adult Female Coho Salmon.

Identification characteristics:

  • Back and head dark bluish-green
  • Lower sides brilliant red to wine color
  • Gill cover reddish
  • Spots on back and UPPER lobe of tail fin only
  • Lower gum line is light colored
  • Range in length from 17 to 38 inches

Spawn timing:

  • Mid-October through early January

Now that you know all about identifying salmon in streams, test yourself! Click on the mystery fish page to find out more!