Coho Salmon

Oncorhynchus kisutch
Juvenile coho salmon spend up to a year in the estuarine waters of Willapa Bay before moving to the open ocean/USFWS Photo

The ability to jump over obstacles, like beaver dams and waterfalls, allow Coho salmon to migrate further upstream than other salmon. Where you might find chum salmon in the lower reaches of a stream, you’ll see Coho traveling to higher reaches, where the water is shallower and there are fine gravels to nest in. 

Fallen trees, side channels, and beaver ponds are important river features for Coho Salmon.  Without these sheltered areas, juvenile Coho would be washed out of their natal streams during winter floods. As smolts, Coho migrate out of their freshwater streams to spend up to another year in the estuary. Here they feast on other fish and invertebrates, building mass before moving out to coastal ocean waters.

Facts About Coho Salmon

Spawn in coastal streams and shallow tributaries

Young stay in natal stream for a year or more

Can jump obstacles that are impassable to other salmon

Spawning colors are green with bright red sides