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Difference Between Coho and King Salmon

Coho vs King Salmon

Coho and King Salmon are two popular species of Salmon. Both Salmon are species of anadromous fish.

The Coho Salmon is also known as the Silver Salmon and has the scientific name Oncorhynchus kisutch. The Coho Salmon changes appearance when it enters or lives in different types of water. When in freshwater, it has silver sides (hence the name) and dark blue backs. When they enter the ocean, they change color into red sides and blue-green heads. Female Coho Salmon are darker in color compared to their male counterparts.

The Coho Salmon has a black mouth and white gums. It has a wide caudal peduncle. It can be as large as 28 inches and can reach 7–11 pounds often leading up to 16 pounds. As food, the Coho fish has a firm and mild flavor in its orange-red flesh. It has a moderate to high amount of fat. Ways of preparing Coho fish include; grilling, smoking, baking, and broiling.

On the other hand King Salmon is known by many names. Its alternative names include Chinook Salmon, Quinnat Salmon, Spring Salmon, Tyee Salmon, Black Salmon, Blackmouth, Hook Bill Salmon and Chum Salmon. It has the scientific name of Oncorhynchus tshawytscha.

The King Salmon has a black mouth and black gums. The King salmon can reach up to 33–36 inches. Some King Salmon can reach up to 58 inches. As the largest and biggest salmon, the King Salmon can weigh up to 10-50 pounds. Exceptional cases can go up to 130 pounds. Like the Coho Salmon, the King Salmon also changes in color in different waters. In freshwater, they have the same silver sides as the Coho Salmon. However, their sides turn golden when they reach the ocean.

As its name implies, it is the largest of the Salmon species with the highest amount of oil content. As a food item, the high oil content gives it a rich flavor and essential Omega-3 fatty acids. It has a softer flesh compared to other varieties of salmon and is often prepared as baked, broiled, poached, sautéed, and grilled.

The Coho Salmon and King Salmon have been a part of many indigenous people’s diets for a very long time. Both species are also used for trading and ceremonies. The Coho Salmon has been a symbol of many tribes because it symbolizes life and prosperity. It is also the state animal of Chiba Prefecture in Japan.

Meanwhile, the King Salmon also enjoys a prominent role in many tribes. It is considered as the most valuable Salmon and is the featured Salmon of the “First Salmon Ceremonies.” In addition, it is declared as the state fish of Alaska.


1.Both the Coho Salmon and King Salmon are popular game fish and used for culinary dishes.
2.They are both species of the Salmon family and anadromous fish.
3.One difference between Coho and King Salmon is their size and weight. A Coho Salmon reaches up to 28 inches and up to 7–11 pounds. On the other hand, a King Salmon can reach up to 33–36 inches and 10-50 pounds.
4.Both fish change color when they enter their ocean phase. Coho and King Salmon start with silver sides. When a Coho Salmon enters the ocean, its appearance changes into red. Meanwhile, the King Salmon changes into golden sides.
5.Another identification factor between Coho and King Salmon is the color of their gums. Both Coho and King Salmon have black mouths, but the Coho Salmon has white gums while the King Salmon has black gums.
6.The Coho Salmon has a wide caudal peduncle while the King Salmon has a narrow, caudal peduncle
7.The Coho Salmon has an orange-red flesh with a firm and mild flavor. It also has a moderate to high content of fat. In contrast, the King Salmon has a deep red to white flesh color, softer flesh, with the highest oil content among all species of Salmon. The high oil content of the fish gives its flesh a rich flavor.

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