Identifying Salmon Species in Oregon

troutdude

troutdude

Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
7,990
Location
Willy Valley, Oregon
There was a recent thread, in regards to identifying the differences between a 'nook and a Coho. Sorry, but I can't find that thread...or I would have posted this there.

Anyway, here are the criteria that ODFW use to identify these fish. These are also the guidelines used by Enforcement Officers, when deciding to issue a citation and fine.

BTW, in that previous thread, there was some discussion and a suggestion to identify a fish by markings on fins. According to this excerpt from ODFW, I would not recommend that you use that method.

"DON'T rely on body color or spots to identify a salmon caught in the ocean. Salmon in the ocean phase of their life cycle will not show the colors that are common after they enter the estuaries and rivers. All ocean salmon are primarily silver in color, and there can be wide variations in spots and color both within and between species."

Fish Division: Ocean Salmon Management - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
 
Last edited:
M

Mike123

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
1,584
Location
Oregon
I think there's a good many people that need some practice. lol. Thanks for posting!

Coho's scales fall off REALLY easy..(another reason not to net or handle ones you can't keep.)
Coho typically have rounder snouts. The Chinook are more pointed.
Really, the only time the fish all look similar is when they are in Saltwater or in the ocean.
 
troutdude

troutdude

Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
7,990
Location
Willy Valley, Oregon
I think there's a good many people that need some practice. lol. Thanks for posting!

Really, the only time the fish all look similar is when they are in Saltwater or in the ocean.

Agreed; on both counts. That's why I thought I would post the ODFW link. Hopefully, a few less peeps will needlessly kill some good fish (or get ticketed, because they weren't sure and kept 'em anyway).
 
J

JeannaJigs

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
4,706
Location
Eugene, Oregon
Ah yeah it's that time of year again, where people realize they really have no clue...There's no excuse for it. If my mom can identify a fish, ANYONE should be able to identify a fish. Just sayin'...They really aren't similar at all, even in the tidewater, it's not that difficult.

I'd say a large quantity of the coho released that are netted and handled (especially when given the fist of fury) die after release especially with the extensive loss of scales.

And then there's those people that DO know the difference, and keep the 'hos anyway, because they think that they won't get checked. Love seeing those tickets issued, wish there were more of them.
 
R

rippin fish lips

Well-known member
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,037
Location
Springfield, Oregon
Ah yeah it's that time of year again, where people realize they really have no clue...There's no excuse for it. If my mom can identify a fish, ANYONE should be able to identify a fish. Just sayin'...They really aren't similar at all, even in the tidewater, it's not that difficult.

I'd say a large quantity of the coho released that are netted and handled (especially when given the fist of fury) die after release especially with the extensive loss of scales.

And then there's those people that DO know the difference, and keep the 'hos anyway, because they think that they won't get checked. Love seeing those tickets issued, wish there were more of them.

Agreed JeannaJigs!
 
M

Mike123

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
1,584
Location
Oregon
NO FIST OF FURY ON FISH YOUR GONNA RELEASE!! Bahahaha :D
 
B

bigdog

1
Joined
Sep 1, 2008
Messages
1,252
Location
Portland, Oregon
Well here is the funny part though, you are talking about my thread about the nice native that we caught and RELEASED unharmed in anyway, well except for the hook she had to swim away with because she took it all the way down and nothing can be done about that:doh:. But anyways that is the thread you are talking about and I did ID the fish the #1 way that ODFW says to ID them and then was told I was wrong.

(DO use the gumline on the LOWER jaw for identifying a salmon. It is the single best feature to use. It is also the characteristic that is most likely to be used by enforcement officers in deciding whether a violation has occurred and if a citation should be issued.)

Believe it or not rather a missIDing was made or not, even people that do know how to tell the difference can make a misstake from time to time. I am one of them that does have a clue and then was called out by a few people that were not there to see what I did see, but one of the people that made a point is someone I trust in their knowledge of the sandy river so am taking his word for it that I might have missIDed the fish even though I went by the way I have been shown over the years and the way ODFW says to do so.

Anyways no matter any how it was a native and was let go unharmed just like natives should be. If the people that told me that it was not a Ho but was a nook are right then maybe ODFW needs to rethink the way they are telling people to ID fish out there:think:

CJ
 
troutdude

troutdude

Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
7,990
Location
Willy Valley, Oregon
Hey CJ,

Just want you to know, that my post was in NO way intended to be a slam or a dis of any kind.

I just thought it might be good for peeps to really know what ODFW (and ticketing game wardens/officers) tell you to look for. And my guess is, that if anyone veers from that approach, they may wind up w/ ticket and fine to pay.

Just trying to do my .02 worth, to help peeps avoid tickets (and possibly killing fish unnecessarily).

I'm sure that all of us on here, are glad that you released your fish. BTW, an ODFW biologist once told me to leave the hook in just like you did. There is an enzyme in the fish's blood that will dissolve the hook anyway...and they will be fine.
 
B

bigdog

1
Joined
Sep 1, 2008
Messages
1,252
Location
Portland, Oregon
I know it wasn't a slam or dis man I just found it funny that the #1 way ODFW wants you to ID a fish is how I IDed that fish but yet was told by several people that it was a nook.

Yeah there isn't anything you can do when the hook is that deep besides cut the line as close to the mouth as you can and let nature take it's toll.
 
M

Mike123

Active member
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
1,584
Location
Oregon
Yea I wasn't directing it towards your thread either Big Dog. You made an easy mistake anyone could make.
The people that are keeping native coho thinking they are chinook though need to do some studying. ;)
 
Top Bottom