Spotlight: Identifiable Features of Mature Ocean Salmon

2. Identifiable Features of a Mature Ocean Salmon


How this Adult Chinook Compares with Other Adults

Note: males and females are practically indistinguishable at this stage.

Chinook Gallery

  • Large spots on back.
  • Mouth is dark with black gum line.
  • Spots on both lobes of tail.

Coho Gallery

  • Spots on back.
  • White gum line.
  • Spots on upper lobe of tail.

Sockeye Gallery

  • No spots on back (similar to chum)
  • Very small teeth (are mostly filter feeders)
  • No spots on tail (similar to chum)

Pink Gallery

  • Large black spots on back.
  • Large oval spots on both lobes of tail.

Chum Gallery

  • No spots on back (similar to sockeye)
  • No spots on tail (similar to sockeye)

Take the Mature Ocean Salmon Identification Quiz

Using the galleries above, study the differences between the five Pacific Northwest salmon in their mature ocean state. When you are ready, click this image to take our Mature Ocean Salmon Identification Quiz> > >

Note to teachers: the differences between mature ocean-phase salmon can be subtle — and challenging — even for adults. We therefore recommend targeting this quiz toward older students.