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This page was created to provide a suite of identification materials for our volunteers and anyone else trying to identify salmonid species in the Northwest. Please check back for updates and more extensive identification materials, including photos depicting color variations for specific streams.

Identify Salmon and Trout: Look at photos and artwork and read details that describe how to identify the different salmonid species in the region.

Mystery Fish Page: Quiz yourself: distinguish the species of these mystery fish.

USDA's Fish Resources: Salmon/Steelhead (external link): An excellent page showing information about salmon and steelhead as well as very nice images of the different species.

Our Local Salmon Species

chinook
Chinook Salmon
  • length 24-60 inches
  • blotches on back and dorsal fin
  • spots cover entire tail
  • black gums
  • colors of olive, copper, or almost black
  • more chinook info/images
chum
Chum Salmon
  • length 30-42 inches
  • vertical "flames" of green and purple
  • head and body similar color
  • enormous canine-like teeth
  • no spots on their back or tail fin
  • black gum line
  • spawn November through late December
  • rare in the Lake Washington system
  • more chum info/images 
coho
Coho Salmon
  • length 17-38 inches
  • dark (blue) backs and heads
  • maroon to reddish sides
  • spots on tail only on upper half
  • red gill cover
  • spawn mid-October to January
  • more coho info/images
sockeye
Sockeye Salmon
  • length 20-28 inches
  • NO spots
  • brilliant to dark red bodies
  • pale to olive green heads
  • spawn August through December
  • more sockeye info/images
kokanee
Kokanee Salmon
  • length 8-18 inches
  • spots on their backs
  • brilliant to dark red bodies
  • pale to olive green heads
  • spawn August through January
  • more kokanee info/images
cutthroat trout
Cutthroat Trout
  • usually not larger than 18 inches
  • small black spots on head and body
  • spots are on all fins
  • blunt heads
  • spawn February and March
  • more cutthroat info/images