Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon; also silver salmon, dog salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch

coho, male

Courtesy American Fisheries Society & Phillips Petroleum Foundation

Kisutch is the Russian name for this fish around Kamchatka, USSR. The coho salmon, identifiable by the small spots on the back and upper tail-fin lobe, stays in fresh water for its first year, then swims down river to the Pacific Ocean, where it matures in about three years. Average adults weigh about ten pounds, though the largest recorded coho, 38.5 inches long, weighed 31 pounds. The common name coho possibly evolved from the word Halkomelem, from a Salishan dialect of southwest British Columbia.

Mature coho salmon have dark blue backs and silver sides, but during the spawning phase they turn bright red on their sides and blue-green on their heads and backs, and develop the hooked nose—oncorhynchus—as seen in the photo above.

"white salmon trout"

Meriwether Lewis described this species on March 16, 1806, at Fort Clatsop:

The white Salmon Trout, which we had previously seen only at the great falls [Celilo Falls] of the Columbia has now made it's appearance in the creeks near this place. …one of them was brought us today by an Indian who had just taken it with his gig.

Lewis drawing a sketch of it, he painted a beautifully detailed word-picture:

This is a likeness of it; it was 2 feet 8 Inches long, and weighed 10 lbs. …the eye is moderately large, the pupil black and iris of a silvery white with a small admixture of yellow, and is a little turbid near its border with a yellowish brown. …the position of the fins may be seen from the drawing; they are small in proportion to the fish …the fins are bony but not pointed except the tail and back fins, which are a little so, …the prime back fin and ventral ones contain each ten rays; those of the gills thirteen, that of the tail twelve, and the small find placed near the tail above has no bony rays, but is a tough, flexible substance covered with smooth skin. …it is thicker in proportion to its width than the salmon [chinook salmon] …the tongu is thick and firm beset on each border with small subulate teeth in a single series.

Neither this fish nor the salmon are caught with the hook, nor do I know on what they feed.

In general, anadromous fish en route back to their redds do not eat, although they will strike hard at artificial lures.