Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus kisutch
Coho Salmon
Image Credit
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
30-75 centimetres (12-30 inches)
2.25-4.5 kilograms (5-10 pounds)
  • native to the North Pacific Ocean
  • introduced to the Great Lakes
  • spend most of the year in the cold waters of the Great Lakes
  • return to tributary streams to spawn
  • deep-bodied but thin from side to side
  • blue or green back
  • silvery sides
  • white belly
  • tail spotted on upper lobe only
  • dark mouth, light grey gums
  • leading ray on anal fin extends ½ - ⅔ the length of the fin
  • short, narrow caudal peduncle (where body and tail join)
  • smaller than Chinook salmon
  • juveniles and spawning adults prefer small streams
  • gather at the mouth of rivers in the late summer and early fall before migrating upstream to spawn
Angling Tips
  • very popular, feisty sporting fish
  • usually caught near the surface and leap repeatedly, changing direction quickly
  • smaller than Chinook salmon
  • aggressive and likely to bite a wider range of baits and lures
  • usually stop feeding once they move upstream in fall, but are aggressive and territorial and will hit lures in defense--try rattle baits, spinners and plugs
  • down rigging and trolling work best when fishing in the Great Lakes
  • troll deep with plugs, spoons and live or dead bait
  • still-fish in moderately deep water using live, salted or fresh-cut herring
Common Bait
  • plugs, spoons
  • trolling flies
  • live or dead bait