How to identify a Sockeye Salmon
The body of breeding males is bright red with small black speckling (spots not large or distinct) on the back. The totally red body will distinguish the sockeye from the otherwise similar chum salmon, O. keta, and the lack of large distinct spots will distinguish it from the other three Pacific salmons.

Where to catch Sockeye Salmon
The sockeye salmon is endemic to the Pacific Ocean and its tributaries for Hokkaido in Japan to the Anadyr River, Russia, and from the Sacramento River, California to Point Hope, Alaska. Freshwater, non-migratory populations, known as kokanee, occur naturally in Japan, Russia, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, the Yukon and British Columbia and have been introduced elsewhere, but largely unsuccessfully.


How to Identify a Sockeye Salmon
 1White gums and a black tongue
 2Among the most dominant features on male sockeye salmon is the bright red coloration and non-distinct black dots
 3Prominent gold-colored eye


  • Backflow
  • Bays and Estuaries
  • Current Edges
  • Drop-Offs
  • Merging Currents
  • Ripples, Currents, Swirls and Sprays
  • Rock and Boulder Pockets
  • Small Pointed Waves
  • Undercuts
  • Bays
  • Channel Entrances
  • Dams and Falls
  • Eddies
  • Outsides of Bends
  • Rivers and Streams
  • Schools
  • Standing Waves

Acknowledgements:  We thank (, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources for their contributions to these FISH FACTS.