Coho Salmon - (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
Length:11 to 26 inches
Weight:2 to 8 pounds
Coloring: steel-blue to slightly green on back; bright silver on sides;
Common Names:coho, silver salmon, sea trout, blueback
Found in Lakes:Stocked in Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior
Initial hopes for a revived Great Lakes sport fishery rode on the sleek
muscular back of the coho salmon. Commonly called "silver salmon,"
this Pacific import has been planted in lakes Michigan and Superior annually
since 1966 and is now an integral part of the lake's "put-and-take"
sport fishing industry.
Mature cohos gorge themselves on alewives, smelt, and other forage fish.
In Lake Michigan, cohos attain an average weight of five to six pounds
but often top out at 10 pounds or more. In Lake Superior, where forage
fish are less abundant, cohos average only two to four pounds.
Though smaller, coho salmon are spawning successfully in most Lake Superior
tributaries and thus have developed some limited but self-sustaining populations.
There is some concern that this aggressive fish might disrupt the spawning
of other valued species, such as brook, brown and rainbow trout.
Coho salmon ordinarily return in their third year to the streams where
they were planted to spawn and die. They reproduce naturally in many streams
on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, but their general population must
be sustained with hatchery-reared fish. Continual stocking has helped
to improve the lake's predator-prey balance and given satisfaction to
thousands of sport fishermen as well.
copyright 2001 University
of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute