Coho (Silver) Salmon
The Coho salmon (scientifically known as Oncorhynchus kisutch) is a medium-sized member of the salmon family. In Canada we call them “Coho” and down south in the US they call them “Silver Salmon”. They also have a few nicknames like “blueback” or “white mouth”. Coho are my all time favorite eating salmon, typically Sockeye and Chinook are the most covenanted for eating but for me I love their milder and firm Coho salmon taste!
Coho hold their silver and blue colors even after entering the freshwater (to spawn). By hold their color I mean they don’t turn grey or dark as fast as other salmon species Pink or Chum salmon. Additionally to their skin color, their meat color remains that nice dark red color and keeps its firmness as well.
When fighting a Coho they are known for their acrobatic jumps and spins. It’s not uncommon for coho to get your fishing line wrapped up around their body because they keep spinning in the water trying to shake the hook(s).
Coho salmon are characterized by white gum line along lower jaw. Coho can have spots on its back but look at the tail as the spots will be on the top side of the tail, whereas a Chinook can have spots throughout the tail. They tend to have a pointer nose/kype than the Chinook which is the most often confused salmon species with coho. In their spawning phase coho develop a larger kype than most of the other salmon species.
If you want to see a identification diagram of all the pacific salmon species check out this page.
Favorite Way to Fish for Coho in Rivers
My favorite ways to target these coho in a river is by float fishing or twitching jigs. If bait is allowed, fishing cured roe using a egg loop knot is deadly. If bait is not allowed, you can also swap out the roe for a single bead. Alternatively, twitching a jig through the water column is a super fun way to fish.
Coho fishing in rivers starts up late September and goes until end of November. However, I know guys catching them in January while targeting winter steelhead. The best timing for Coho fishing is usually around mid-late October for most rivers in BC.
Favorite Way to Fish for Coho in Ocean
When targeting Coho in the Ocean, trolling bait, spoons, hoochie, etc. is the most popular approach. One of my favorite new lures to target coho are trolling flash flies with a flasher (fish it like a hoochie). Luhr Jensen is one manufacturer that creates these “flash flies”. They’re deadly for coho!
If you’re trolling and trying to focus on Coho and not Chinook or other salmon species, one of the biggest ways to differentiate is trolling speed. Coho are usually trolled a little faster than chinook, so bump up your speed 0.5-1 mph. Typical trolling speed for Coho is around 3 to 3.5 mph.
The best ocean fishing timing for Coho is between June to the end of September. Coho are returning and staging at their local rivers before heading up to spawn. In BC, I’d say the hottest time for Ocean Coho fishing is mid-July to mid-September. There is a lot of great beach fishing in September and October too!
My Fishing Trips for Coho Salmon
If you want to see some of the fishing techniques in video form check out these fishing trips for Coho salmon! And if you like the videos, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. Cheers! Jesse