silver salmon, silversides, hookbill, hooknose, sea trout, blueback; French: saumon coho; Japanese: gin-zake
Adults are steel-blue to slightly green on the back, brilliant silver on the sides, and white on the belly. There are small black spots on the back, sides above the lateral line, base of the dorsal fin, and upper half of the caudal fin. Coho differ from the Chinook and other salmonids of the Great Lakes by having the inside of their mouth grey or black with their teeth set in white gums, their tail slightly forked with spots on the top half, and having 12-15 rays in their anal fin.
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Native to the Pacific Coast from southern California to northern Alaska and in Asia south to Japan. Attempts to establish Coho salmon in the Great Lakes date back to 1873. These efforts met with little or no success until 1966, when Michigan began planting large numbers of Coho. Coho salmon are now found in all of the Great Lakes. In the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, Coho salmon are found from Kenosha north to Sturgeon Bay.
The coho salmon has a rather brief life cycle: 3 years elapse from the time eggs are laid until that genera- tion dies following spawning. The eggs, laid in the fall of the year, hatch the following spring, and the juveniles live in the parent stream for an additional year. In the spring of their second year of life they migrate to the lake, live in the lake for 18 months, i.e., through two summer growing seasons, and then migrate back to the parent stream for spawning and certain death.
State Coho Salmon Records:
Illinois State Record:
20 lbs 9 ozs caught by Carry VandeVusse caught on Lake Michigan on May 24, 1972.
Indiana State Record:
20 lbs 12 ozs caught by John Beutner caught on Lake Michigan on January 1, 1972.
Michigan State Record:
30 lbs 8 ozs caught by Paul Lewandowski caught on Platte River on January 1, 1976.
Minnesota State Record:
10 lbs 7 ozs caught on Lake Superior on November 7, 1970.
Wisconsin State Record:
26 lbs 1 ozs caught on Lake Michigan on August 21, 1999.