How Can You Tell a Coho Salmon?

Are you a fishing enthusiast looking to catch some Coho Salmon? Identifying this species of salmon can be tricky, but with some helpful tips and tricks, it can become an easy task. In this article, we will guide you through the process of identifying a Coho Salmon.

Physical Characteristics

The first step in identifying a Coho Salmon is to understand its physical characteristics. Coho Salmon have a streamlined body that is typically silver in color with black spots along their back.

They have a white underbelly and a small head with an elongated snout. Coho Salmon have black gums and their mouth extends beyond the eye line.


Coho Salmon can grow up to 30 inches in length and weigh up to 12 pounds. However, most commonly caught Coho Salmon weigh around 6-8 pounds.


Another way to identify Coho Salmon is by observing their behavior. These salmon are known for their acrobatic jumps out of the water when hooked on a line. They are also known for their aggressive behavior when they are feeding or defending their territory.

Distinguishing from Other Species

It’s important to note that there are other species of salmon that look similar to the Coho Salmon, such as Chinook and Sockeye salmon.

One way to distinguish between these species is by looking at the spots on their body. Chinook salmon have small black spots on both their back and tail fin while Sockeye salmon have no spots on their back but do have spots on both their tail fin and head.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Coho Salmon is its white gums, while Chinook salmon have black gums.

Cleaning Your Catch

Once you’ve identified your catch as a Coho Salmon, it’s time to prepare it for cooking. The first step is to gut and clean the fish. Make sure to remove all of the organs and scales from the skin.


Coho Salmon is a versatile fish that can be prepared in many ways, such as grilled, baked, or smoked. One popular recipe is to marinate the fish in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and rosemary before grilling it.


In conclusion, identifying a Coho Salmon can be done by looking at its physical characteristics such as its silver color with black spots along its back, white underbelly, and black gums. Observing their behavior can also help distinguish them from other species of salmon.

Once you’ve identified your catch, gutting and cleaning it is crucial before preparing it for cooking. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to catch and identify your very own Coho Salmon!

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Daniel Bennet