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Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch
CohoCommon names: Silver salmon, hook nose salmon, blueback salmon, jack salmon, salmon trout, siverside salmon and white salmon.

Description: The coho salmon is bluish-black with silver sides in saltwater; black spots on the back and upper part of the caudal fin. Smaller and slimmer than the chinook salmon; the inside of the mouth is gray or black with white gums. Coho salmon reach up to 38.5 inches in length and weigh up to 31 pounds; although they usually weigh between 6 to 12 pounds.

Life cycle: Spawning occurs from November to January, with the eggs hatching the following spring. Coho fry remain in streams for over a year. Moving seaward the following spring, most cohos return to spawn when they are three years old. The mature male fish which return after two years are known as "jacks" and in Oregon and Washington, the abundance of "jacks" are used to predict the next year's three year old return.
Coho Salmon
Habitat and Ecology: Coho salmon utilize freshwater, nearshore and offshore environments during its lifecycles. Coho salmon spawn in the same environment as chinook salmon; however, coho prefer lower stream velocity, shallower water and smaller gravel. Most coho fry stay in the stream for over a year feeding on aquatic insects, zooplankton and small fish. Adequate stream cover is important to fry survival, as is high dissolved oxygen levels.Mortality is especially high during freshwater lifestages, often a result of poor forest and agricultural management practices that lead to siltation, which may ruin spawning beds or smother the eggs. Migrating coho salmon also face physical obstacles and high water temperatures resulting from dams, inadequate water flows due to diversions for irrigation and impoundment of water for power generation. Once reaching the estuaries, coho salmon fall prey to a number of other species and may be impacted by human changes, such as shoreline development, residential drainage and the filling of marine wetlands. The time spent in this habitat is critical to the development of the species and their ability to survive in the offshore environment.

Range: Coho salmon spawn in coastal streams from Northern Japan to the Anadyr River in Siberia and from Monterey Bay in California and Point Hope in Alaska. This species can also be found in the ocean from Baja, California, to the Bering Sea in Alaska with multiple locations along the coast of British Columbia Canada..

How Can You Tell the Difference?
Anglers should use three or more distinguishing characteristics to properly identify all salmon.

Description of coho salmon in marine phase

Coho have white gums, black tongues and a few spots on the upper portion of their bodies and silver-coloured tails. They have a wide tail base. Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface. Coho usually live for three years and grow rapidly in their final year. They weigh between 1.3 kg and 14 kg. In the Strait of Georgia from April to early June, small coho passing from the grilse stage to maturity are called bluebacks.
Description of coho salmon in freshwater phase

Fresh run coho are very similar in appearance to salt water fish - bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface, and a wide tail base with a few spots on the upper portion of their silver-coloured tails. As coho mature, the males become reddish on the sides, and green on the back and head, often dark on belly. Females are less strongly coloured.
Coho Jaw

The coho's gums at the base of the teeth are almost white. Its mouth is white, and its teeth are sharp and strong.
Coho Tail

The coho has a square, silver- coloured tail with just a few scattered spots, usually on the upper portion of the tail. It has a wide tail base.






Photos courtesy DFO, used with Permission, all other the AnglingBC gallery.


Coho All Categories
  Article Topics Date
1. Fly Fishing for Coho Flyfishing, Salmon Aug 2007
2. Coho Salmon Mar 2007
3. Coho Fishing in the Kitimat River System Salmon Aug 2003
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