About animals

Coho salmon - Coho salmon


Coho salmon is a welcome catch of many anglers, which belongs to the salmon family. This fish is not just a noble trophy, but also a wonderful dinner for a noble company. In fact, any salmon fish is respected, but coho salmon managed to gain recognition thanks to some features of its character. And his lifestyle is fraught with many mysteries that even ichthyologists are not aware of all aspects of his comfortable existence.


Coho salmon is easy to distinguish from any salmon fish. Firstly, he has very bright silver-colored scales. For this criterion, he received other names. For example, fishermen from the USA call it “silver salmon”, in which fishermen from Japan support them. But on the territory of Russia in ancient times everything was much simpler and coho salmon was simply called “white fish”.

Coho salmon is quite large in appearance and its body length can reach up to 1 m. Weight is also pleasing - almost 15 kg of trophy! The color of coho salmon, as already mentioned, is silver, for the most part. Separately, it is worth highlighting his back with a greenish (or bluish) tint. Of the distinguishing points worth mentioning is its fins, covered with contrasting black dots, blots.


It is not surprising that coho salmon took the most remote and unique places, where not all fishermen can reach. It can be found in the waters of the Anadyr River and other rivers that flow directly into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

More rarely, fish comes across in the eastern part of Sakhalin, as well as on the famous Japanese island of Hokkaido. Even in the United States, coho salmon received great recognition, since it took predominant places in the waters of the Pacific Ocean along the entire eastern coast - from California to Alaska itself.

Body structure

The body of coho salmon is powerful and strong. For this reason, anglers always take with them only reliable and proven gear. His head stands out especially in coho salmon - it is a real battering ram that calmly withstands any onslaught of water. It is on his head that coho salmon can be distinguished from such fish as chum, chinook salmon or pink salmon.

His fins are large, because thanks to them he manages to successfully maneuver both in rivers and in oceanic undercurrents. In general, coho salmon resembles a “torpedo”, which moves with confidence in the water in search of food, and the fisherman will have to competently manage his experience so that the trophy does not get off the hook.

Behavior features

In the lifestyle of salmon fish, the most memorable period is spawning. Or rather, the period before it began. Coho salmon comes in large shoals, and local predators always use this, which are also not averse to stocking up nutritious meat for the winter. Moreover, coho salmon begins to go into the rivers during the whole second half of the year. So there is enough fish for everyone.

The mating outfits of males and females mark the beginning of spawning. Coho salmon become dark crimson, almost burgundy. After the spawning is completed, the fry hatch and grow up, and then leave the river into the sea. Coho salmon actively feeds on caviar and live fish, both juveniles and large individuals. The coho salmon population is adequately preserved by nature, since the female brings 5,000 eggs at a time.

Commercial use

Coho salmon today is a valuable commercial fish for its amazing gastronomic qualities. Its meat is many times greater than the meat of the familiar pink salmon. And even in an elite restaurant, coho salmon always takes the first places in the menu, as an excellent delicacy.

Meat and fish caviar are also included. From it you can cook not only a traditionally baked dish, but also a regular barbecue. Since there are practically no salmon bones in meat, any recipe will become a real decoration of the table, not to mention cooking it directly on the river bank.


During the ocean phase, cooshuets have silver sides and dark blue backs. During the spawning phase, their jaw and teeth become hooked. After entering fresh water, they develop bright red sides, bluish-green heads and backs, dark belly and dark spots on the back. Sexually maturing fish develop light pink or pink shading across the abdomen, and males may show a slight arching of the back. Mature adults have a pronounced red skin with a darker back and an average of 28 inches (71 cm) and from 7 to 11 pounds (3.2 to 5.0 kg), sometimes reaching up to 36 pounds (16 kg). They also develop a large kype (hooked beak) during spawning. Adult females may be darker than in males, both of which show a pronounced hook on the nose.


The eggs hatch in late winter or early spring, after six to seven weeks in REDD. After hatching, they remain mostly motionless during the REDDLE Alevín stage of life, which lasts for 6-7 weeks. Alevín no longer has the protective shell of an egg, or chorion, and rely on their yolk sacs for nutrition during growth. Stage Alevín life is very sensitive to water and sediment. When the yolk sac is completely absorbed, Alevín leaves the REDD. Young cojuche spends one or two years in their freshwater natal streams, often spending their first winter in the off-channel meadows, before the transformation in the smolts stage. Smolts are usually 100-150 mm (3.9-5.9 inches), and as their Parr marks disappear, the characteristic silver scales of an adult disabled person begin to dominate. Smolts migrate to the ocean from late March to late July. Some fish leave fresh water in the spring, spend the summer in brackish estuarine ponds, and then return to fresh water in the fall. Coho salmon live in salt water for one to three years before returning to spawn. Some early-developed males, known as the “nest,” return to two-year-old spawning. Spawning males develop kypes, which are strongly hooked on their muzzle and large teeth.

Coho salmon

Male freshwater coho salmon phase


A traditional range of coho salmon runs on both sides of the northern Pacific Ocean, from Hokkaidō, Japan and eastern Russia, around the Bering Sea to mainland Alaska and south to Monterey Bay, California. Coho salmon were also introduced in all Great Lakes, as well as many inland waters throughout the United States. A number of samples (more than 20) were caught in the waters surrounding Denmark and Norway in 2017; their source is currently unknown, but salmon species are grown in several places in Europe, which makes it possible that the animal slipped a net on such a farm.


In 2010, the total catch of coho salmon in the North Pacific exceeded 6.3 million fish, of which 4.5 million were received in the United States and 1.7 million in Russia. This corresponds to some 21,000 tons in all. Coho salmon are the basis of the Alaskan fishing trolls. However, most of them are caught by pure fishing (gill and net). Coho salmon on average 3.5% fish and 5.9% by weight of the annual salmon crop in Alaska. The total outputs of the northern part of the Pacific Ocean for pink salmon, chum salmon and sockeye salmon are some 10-20 times more weight.

Fish game

In North America, coho salmon is a game of fish in fresh and salt water from July to December, especially with a light fishing rod. It is one of the most popular sports fish in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. Its popularity is due in part to the reckless one which it often shows chasing lures and lures, and in salt water, as well as a large number of coastal streams, it ascends during its spawning season. Its flocking habit in relatively shallow water, and often near beaches, makes it accessible to anglers on the coast as well as in boats.

Nutritional value

Ocean caught coho salmon are considered an excellent table fare. It has a moderate to high fat content, which is considered important in assessing taste. Only in spring do chinook salmon and sockeye salmon have higher levels of fat in their meat. Due to the low fat content of coho salmon, when smoking, it is best to use cold smoking rather than a hot smoking process.

Cultural traditions

Historically, coho salmon, along with other species, is one of the main products in the diet of several indigenous peoples, which will also use it to trade with other tribes further inland. Coho salmon is also a symbol of several tribes representing life and livelihoods.


In their freshwater stage, feed coho plankton and insects, and then switch to a diet of small fish at the entrance to the ocean, like adults. habitats Spawning small streams with stable gravel substrates.

Salmonid species on the west coast of the United States have experienced a sharp decline in abundance over the past few decades as a result of anthropogenic and natural factors.


The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has identified seven population groups called evolutionary vital units (ESUs), coho salmon in Washington, Oregon, and California. Four of these ESUs are listed in the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA). These are the Lower Columbia River (threatened), the Oregon coast (threatened), Southern Oregon and Northern California Coasts (threatened), and Central California coast (threatened). The long-term trend of these populations is still down, although there was one recent good year with an upward trend in 2001.

Puget Sound / Strait of Georgia The ESU in Washington is the NMFS Concern View. Concern species are those species for which insufficient information is being prevented by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's problems regarding status and threats, as well as the presence of species on the list within the ESA.

May 6, 1997, NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, the threatened Southern Oregon / Northern California coast of ESU coho salmon. The coho salmon population in Southern Oregon / Northern California area has declined from about 150,000-400,000 naturally spawning fish in the 1940s to less than 10,000 naturally producing adults today. These reductions are due to natural and man-made changes, including short-term atmospheric currents (for example, El Niño, which causes extremes in annual precipitation on the northern coast of California), predation in California, sea lion and Pacific seal and commercial logging.

More than 680,000 coho salmon returned to Oregon in 2009, twice as many as the 2007 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife volunteers requiring a herd of fish in fish pens. Some streams have been reported to have so many fish, "you can literally walk on the backs of coho salmon," claimed Portland TV. Low temperatures in 2008 brought the North Pacific waters into the depths of plankton, which, along with the large outflow of the Columbia River, supplied water by the resurgent population. The run of 2009 was so large, food banks were able to freeze 40 tons (39 long tons, 44 short tons) for later use.

Origin of view and description

Coho salmon is a typical representative of a large salmon family. Salmon-like fish are one of the very first ancestors of all modern bone fish; they have been known since the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. Due to the special similarity of the forms of representatives of this family and herring-like, they were sometimes combined into one squad.

Video: Coho

Researchers argue that during the formation of species they were even less distinguishable from each other than now. In Soviet-era encyclopedias, there was no salmonid order at all, but later the classification was adjusted - a separate order of salmon-like fish was identified, which included a single salmon family.

This ray-shaped fish, the oldest ancestors of which date back to the end of the Silurian period - 400-410 million years ago, is a commercial anadrobic fish. Like many salmon coho salmon, it spawns into rivers for spawning, and in sea waters it only walks around and hibernates.

Interesting fact: Coho salmon is a very valuable target, but its population is not as numerous as that of other representatives of the large salmon family. From 2005 to 2010, Russian coho salmon catches increased five times from 1 to 5 thousand tons, while world catches remained at the same level - 19-20 thousand tons annually.

Appearance and features

Photo: What does coho salmon look like?

Due to the color characteristics, coho salmon is called silver salmon in some countries. The back of adults in the oceanic phase is dark blue or green, and the sides and stomach are silver. The upper lobe of her tail, the back is decorated with black spots.

Young individuals have more of these spots than sexually mature ones; moreover, they are distinguished by the presence of vertical stripes on the body, white gums and black tongues. Before migrating to sea waters, young growth loses protective river camouflage and become similar to adult relatives.

The body of coho salmon has an oblong shape flattened laterally. The tail is square, wide at the base, strewn with many dark spots. The head is conical, rather large.

When entering the river for spawning, the body of a male coho salmon undergoes significant changes:

  • silver color of the sides changes to bright red or maroon,
  • in males, teeth grow significantly, a strongly curved key-shaped jaw develops,
  • a hump appears behind the head of a conical shape, and the body flattens even more strongly,
  • the appearance of the female practically does not change depending on the life cycle.

Mature individuals from the Asian part of the habitat can gain weight from 2 to 7 kilograms. North American individuals are distinguished by larger sizes: weight can reach 13-15 kilograms with a body length of about one meter.

Interesting fact: Small spawning males with a length of 20 to 35 centimeters are often called "jacks."

Where does coho salmon live?

Photo: coho salmon fish

This fish is found in waters near Northern, Central California, is found in the North Pacific Ocean, coastal rivers near Alaska. Its population is numerous in Kamchatka, off the coast of Canada, in a small number found off the Commander Islands.

In our country, this fish is found:

  • in the waters of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk,
  • in the Magadan region, on Sakhalin, Kamchatka,
  • in lake Sarannoe and Kotelnoe.

Coho salmon is the most heat-loving of all species of Pacific salmon, with a range of comfortable temperatures from 5 to 16 degrees. In sea waters, coho salmon spend about a year and a half, and then rush to the coastal rivers. On the American coast, there are special residential forms found only in lakes.

For coho salmon, it is important that the flow in these reservoirs is not too intense, and the bottom is strewn with pebbles. In recent years, the habitat of the population of this representative of salmon has significantly narrowed. Its spawning routes have decreased or even been eliminated in some tributaries, but it is still common in large river systems.

Interesting fact: There is a special kind of coho salmon that is successfully grown on Chilean artificial farms. The fish are smaller in comparison with wild individuals and have a low fat content in meat, but higher growth rates.

What does coho salmon eat?

Photo: Red coho salmon

When in fresh water, the young feed on the first larvae of mosquitoes, caddis flies and various algae. When the body size of juveniles approaches 10 centimeters, fry of other fish, water striders, river bugs, and adults of some insects become available to it.

The usual diet of more adults is:

  • young fish of other fish, including salmon,
  • crab larvae, crustaceans, krill,
  • squid, herring, cod, saffron cod and so on.

Thanks to a sufficiently large mouth and the presence of strong teeth, coho salmon can eat quite large fish. The type of fish in the diet depends on the coho salmon habitat and season.

Interesting fact: Coho salmon takes the third place in the list of fat content of meat, ahead of sockeye salmon and chinook salmon. This fish is frozen, canned food is made from it, and salted. Use all the waste after its processing in the production of feed flour.

During spawning, the fish does not eat at all, it completely disappears instincts that are associated with the extraction of food, and the intestine ceases to function. All efforts are directed to the continuation of the genus, and exhausted adults die immediately after the completion of spawning. But their death is not meaningless, since they themselves become a breeding ground for the entire ecosystem of the reservoir stream, including for their offspring.

Now you know where coho salmon are found. Let's see what this fish eats.

Features of character and lifestyle

This species of salmon begins its journey in freshwater, where it spends about a year, and then migrates to the seas and oceans for growth and further development. Some species do not go far into the sea, preferring to stay near rivers, while others are able to migrate over vast distances exceeding a thousand kilometers.

In salt waters, they spend about a year and a half and again return to rivers or lakes, where they were born for the last stage of their life. The duration of the whole coho salmon life cycle is 3-4 years. Some males die in the second year of life.

Coho salmon is kept in packs. In the sea, it inhabits water layers not lower than 250 meters from the surface, mainly fish are at a depth of 7-9 meters. The time of entry into the rivers depends on the habitat. There are summer, autumn and winter coho salmon. Individuals become sexually mature only in the third year of life.

It is noticed that in freshwater reservoirs males mature faster. Coho salmon spawn much later than all other representatives of the salmon family. Passing species overwinter in the sea or ocean.

Interesting fact: This type of salmon is appreciated not only for its tender red meat, but also for its slightly bitter, but very nutritious caviar. It is not as high-calorie as other representatives of this family and is considered more useful.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Coho salmon in Russia

Sexually mature individuals are sent for spawning from early September to January. Spawning schedules may vary in some regions. Fish moves up the river only at night, very slowly and often stops to rest in deep holes.

Females dig a tail at the bottom of the nest with their tail, where eggs are then laid. Masonry is carried out in several approaches and different males fertilize each serving of eggs. Over the entire spawning period, one female is capable of producing up to 3000-4500 eggs.

The female digs the depressions for masonry one by one upstream of the river, so each previous one is covered with gravel from the freshly dug. After the last, but most important stage of their life, adults die.

The incubation period depends on the temperature of the water and can range from 38 to 48 days. The survival rate is very high, but, nevertheless, this is the most vulnerable stage of life, during which young coho salmon can become prey for predators, be frozen, buried under a layer of silt, and so on. Larvae remain in gravel for two to ten weeks until they completely absorb the yolk sacs.

45 days after the birth, fry grow to 3 cm. Young growth is kept near tree trunks, large stones, in creases. The migration of juveniles down the river begins about a year later, when their body length exceeds 13-20 cm.

Natural enemies of coho salmon

Photo: What does coho salmon look like?

In the natural habitat, adults have few enemies. Only fairly large and fast species of predatory fish can cope with coho salmon, in addition, it has a good protective camouflage and is difficult to notice in the water column. Seabirds cannot reach them, as sexually mature individuals are kept at a considerable depth.

Young animals can become the prey of many predatory fish, including adult relatives. The greatest damage to the abundance of this species is caused by a change in climatic conditions, the loss of places for spawning due to the construction of dams, the growth of cities. Logging and agriculture negatively affect the quality of water in traditional reservoirs for breeding coho salmon.

If in other fish species, caviar survival often does not exceed 50 percent, then coho salmon losses are no more than 6-7 percent. The main reason is the special arrangement of nests for egg laying, which contributes to good aeration of eggs and embryos, and washing of waste.

Interesting fact: This type of fish in Russia can also be caught by amateurs, but for this it is necessary to obtain a special license. A large number of coho salmon lives near Kamchatka - it has long been considered almost Kamchatka fish. In other regions of the country, it is much less common.

Population and species status

Photo: coho salmon fish

The latest analysis of coho salmon populations off the coast of Alaska and Kamchatka was carried out in 2012. The abundance of this most valuable commercial fish is now more or less stable and in the places of its greatest concentration it is not in danger. Over the past decade, in the waters near California, Alaska, there has even been a slight increase in the number of this representative of salmon. An alarm is caused only by the fate of one species of coho salmon, which lives in only a few lakes.

To maintain the coho salmon population, it is necessary to maintain favorable conditions in the habitual places of their spawning, introduce a complete ban on catching fish in some water bodies, and tighten control over the use of chemicals for processing fields with crops.

Due to the small number of enemies in the natural habitat, the very high fecundity and the impressive survival of young animals, coho salmon is able to independently restore its population in a fairly short time. A person needs only a little help, but the most important thing is not to interfere roughly in natural processes and not create obstacles.

Interesting fact: Coho salmon may only be caught by spinning and fly fishing. This strong fish never surrenders without a fight, so fishing is always very exciting.

Coho salmon, like all representatives of the salmon family, is unique and very valuable fish for a healthy human diet, but this is far from all. The ability to swim against the current, climb up the rivers to achieve the main goal of life, despite all obstacles, makes this fish a real fighter, an example of determination and strong character.