Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon.


  • Common name: Coho Salmon
  • Scientific name: Oncorhynchus kisutch
  • Order: Salmoniformed
  • Subfamily: Salmoninae
  • Indigenous names for this species may be available through the Yukon Native Language Centre

Also known as

Silver Salmon

Viewing opportunities

  • Coho are the least abundant of the Yukon’s salmon species and found only in a few drainages such as the Porcupine River system and the Alsek-Tatshenshini River system.


  • Coho are distinguished from other salmon by the fine black spots on the back and upper lobe of the tail above the lateral line, and no black pigment along the base of the teeth in the lower jaw.
  • Leading edge of the anal fin is usually white tipped; remaining fins often have an orange tint.
  • Spawning fish develop dark backs and stomachs with a red stripe on the sides; spawning males are more colourful than females and develop a kype, or hooked jaw, and large teeth.

Fast facts

  • Length: 50 to 85 cm
  • Weight: 2 to 6 kg
  • Habitat: Anadromous

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S3S4 (Vulnerable/Apparently Secure)
  • Global: G4 (Apparently Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


Even though Coho are very strong swimmers, usually found spawning further upstream from all other salmon, juveniles prefer still water habitats such as beaver ponds, side channels, or in and around debris. Juveniles will spend 1 to 4 years in freshwater before moving to the sea. In late fall or early winter, mature Coho will return to clear water habitats to spawn, often in isolated pairs.


Juveniles feed on aquatic insects and small fish; spawning adults do not feed.


Coho Salmon distribution map.