Coho Salmon
(AKA blueback and silver)
Oncorhynchus kisutch

Anglers should use three or more distinguishing characteristics to properly identify all salmon.

Marine Phase

  • White gums, black tongues;
  • A few spots on the upper portion of their bodies;
  • Silver-coloured tails;
  • Wide tail base;
  • Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface;
  • Usually live for three years and grow rapidly in their final year;
  • 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.

Did you know?

Coho salmon are often found in many urban streams and are often seen spawning in very small tributaries to larger systems.

Photo of coho salmon in marine phase

Freshwater Phase

  • Fresh run coho are very similar in appearance to salt water fish
  • Bright silver with a metallic blue dorsal surface;
  • 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.

Drawing of male and female coho salmon in freshwater phase

Close up photo of coho jaw

Coho Jaw

The coho’s gums at the base of the teeth in the lower jaw are almost white. Its mouth is white but can have a black edge. It has a black tongue and it has sharp, strong teeth.

Close up photo of coho tail

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.

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