Kokanee Salmon
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Inside view: There are 50-87 pyloric caecae.
  • Close-up gill rakers: There are 29-43 gill rakers.
  • Close-up underside of lower jaw: There are usually 13-14 branchiostegal rays on each side.
  • Close-up inside of mouth: Tongue and tip of the jaw of this breeder are black whereas the gums are white.
  • Close-up inside of mouth: Notice that the vomerine teeth on the middle of roof of the mouth are well-developed.
  • Close-up flank: The flanks lack spots, have a solid silvery background, and 121-140 lateral line scales.
  • Close-up anal fin: There are 11-16 (usually 13-14) principal anal rays; no spots.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: There are 11-13 principal dorsal rays, the fin has few or no spots.
  • Close-up tail: Notice that the tail is forked and lacks spots.
  • Close-up head: There are not spots on the head.
  • Side view of a breeding female: Females have dark red-gray bodies.
  • Close-up flank of a breeding male: The body is reddish-purple.
  • Close-up tail region of a breeder: The body is red and shows dark blue fins.
  • Head of a breeding female: The body is reddish with a dark blue head, and no curved snout or hooked jaw.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Males develop a red body and a dark blue head and dark blue fins.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Males develop a red body and a dark blue head and dark blue fins.
  • Side view of two males (top + bottom) and a female (middle): Notice the red bodies and dark blue heads and fins.
  • Close-up mouth of a breeding male: Males develop an up-curved snout and a hooked upper jaw.
  • Close-up mouth of a breeding male: Males develop an up-curved snout and a hooked upper jaw.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Notice the parr marks and a lack of spots.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Notice the parr marks and a lack of spots.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Notice that the parr marks are almost gone, the fish is smolting and ready to migrate.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Notice the parr marks and a lack of spots.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Trouts (Salmonidae)
Body
Mouth and Snout: Terminal, large, and slightly oblique with numerous small to medium-sized teeth on the upper and lower jaws. No barbels. Body Pattern: Solid color with sometimes a few spots on back; juveniles also with oval dark vertical bars (“parr marks”). Background body color silvery, silver-blue, or light olive, grading to cream on belly. Spots dark brown or black; round or irregular in shape, substantially smaller than the pupil of the eye. 121-140 cycloid lateral line scales. Fins olive or gray; without spots. Adipose fin not edged in red or orange. Body Shape: Body fusiform; oval in cross section. Typically 300-400 mm (12-16 in) TL; maximum about 450 mm (18 in).
Fins
Forked to square tail. Single dorsal fin with no spines and 11-13 principal rays. Pelvic fins abdominal with axillary process. Adipose fin present. Anal fin with 11-16 (usually 13-14) principal rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The kokanee salmon can be most easily distinguished by its pattern of a solid background with perhaps a few darker spots on the back. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males develop a hooked upper jaw and curved snout, and a small hump on the back just in front of the dorsal fin. The head, fins, and back of both sexes become very dark bluish gray, sometimes with a hint of dark green. The flanks become bright red, purplish red, or purple, sometimes with patches of rose or olive.
Juveniles
Have 7-11 oval vertical bars (“parr marks”) on sides. Spots essentially absent.
Hybrids
None known from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Spot Characteristics
Salmon, AtlanticUsually few, covering upper sides; black & sometimes red present; nearly as large as pupil of eye; round, irregular ovals, or “X” shaped
Salmon, ChinookModerate to numerous, limited to upper half of sides; black only; much smaller than pupil of eye; round or irregular in shape
Salmon, CohoUsually few, and limited to back and upper sides; black only; much smaller than pupil of eye; round or irregular in shape
Salmon, KokaneeAlmost none, limited to upper back; black only; much smaller than pupil of eye; round to slightly oval in shape
Salmon, PinkNumerous and on both lobes, forming lines of elongated oval spots along rays
Trout, BrookModerate to numerous; covering sides; cream, light, olive, yellow, red, sometimes with bluish halo; much smaller than pupil of eye; round
Trout, BrownFew to many, covering most of sides; both black and red present; nearly as large as pupil of eye; round or irregular ovals in shape
Trout, LakeMany; covering sides; cream to light olive; much smaller than pupil of eye; irregular shape, much smaller than pupil of eye
Trout, RainbowMany, covering most of sides; black only; much smaller than pupil of eye; round or irregular in shape
Tail Spots
Salmon, AtlanticFew or none, usually limited to base of tail
Salmon, ChinookModerate to numerous and on both lobes Moderate to numerous and on both lobes
Salmon, CohoFew, limited to top of upper lobe
Salmon, KokaneeNone
Salmon, PinkNumerous and on both lobes, forming lines of elongated oval spots along rays
Trout, BrookFew and lighter
Trout, BrownFew or none, usually limited to base of tail
Trout, LakeNumerous and on both lobes
Trout, RainbowNumerous and on both lobes
Principal Anal Rays
Salmon, Atlantic7-12, usually 9-11
Salmon, Chinook14-19
Salmon, Coho12-17, 1st ray elongated; fin distinctly falcate in YOY
Salmon, Kokanee11-16, usually 13-14
Salmon, Pink13-19
Trout, Brook7-13, usually 9
Trout, Brown8-12, usually 9-11
Trout, Lake8-10
Trout, Rainbow8-12
Lateral Line Scales
Salmon, Atlantic109-121
Salmon, Chinook130-165
Salmon, Coho112-148
Salmon, Kokanee121-140
Salmon, Pink147-205
Trout, Brook210-244
Trout, Brown109-121
Trout, Lake185-210
Trout, Rainbow100-150
Inside of Mouth in Breeders
Salmon, AtlanticWhite
Salmon, ChinookBlack or dark gray
Salmon, CohoBlack or gray; gums white
Salmon, KokaneeDark gray with white mottling
Salmon, PinkTongue and tip of jaw black or gray; gums white
Trout, BrookWhite on the teeth, tongue, and inside of mouth, but black on the gums
Trout, BrownWhite
Trout, LakeWhite
Trout, RainbowWhite
Other Features
Salmon, AtlanticBranchiostegal rays usually 11-12, principal dorsal rays 11-12, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 40-74, gill rakers 15-20, vomerine teeth poorly developed, dorsal fin with few or no spots
Salmon, ChinookBranchiostegal rays usually 13-19, principal dorsal rays 10-14, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 140-185, gill rakers 16-26, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin spotted
Salmon, CohoBranchiostegal rays usually 11-15, principal dorsal rays 9-12, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 45-114, gill rakers 18-25, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin with few or no spots
Salmon, KokaneeBranchiostegal rays usually 13-14, principal dorsal rays 11-13, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 50-87, gill rakers 29-43, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin with few or no spots
Salmon, PinkBranchiostegal rays usually 9-15, principal dorsal rays 10-15, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 95-224, gill rakers 24-35, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin with few or no spots
Trout, BrookBranchiostegal rays usually 9-13, principal dorsal rays 10-14; adipose fin not edged in red, but dark margin in young; pyloric caecae 23-55; gill rakers 9-12; vomerine teeth well developed; dorsal fin spotted
Trout, BrownBranchiostegal rays usually 10, principal dorsal rays 9-11, adipose fin often edged in red, pyloric caecae 30-60, gill rakers 14-17, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin spotted
Trout, LakeBranchiostegal rays usually 10-14, principal dorsal rays 8-10, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 93-208, gill rakers 16-26, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin spotted
Trout, RainbowBranchiostegal rays usually 9-13, principal dorsal rays 10-12, adipose fin not edged in red, pyloric caecae 27-80, gill rakers 16-22, vomerine teeth well developed, dorsal fin heavily spotted
Similarity Index
Salmon, AtlanticVery similar
Salmon, ChinookVery similar
Salmon, CohoVery similar
Salmon, KokaneeN/A
Salmon, PinkVery similar
Trout, BrookModerately similar
Trout, BrownVery similar
Trout, LakeModerately similar
Trout, RainbowVery similar
Comments
Salmon, AtlanticNot native; stocked in the past without estabishing a population. Occurs only in the Great Lakes as a rare stray from other states and Ontario.
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