Kokanee and Sockeye Salmon

List of BC Adventure

Site Info
Advertise With Us
About Us
Contact Us

Kayak with Killer Whales
Free Vacation Guides
BC Vacation Guides
Coastal Vacations
Thompson Okanagan
Fishing Vacations
Guest Ranch Guide
Romantic Getaways
Wilderness Vacations
Winter Vacations
The Rockies Guide

Kayak with Orca Whales
Coastal Spirits Expeditions

Game Fish Species of British Columbia


Sockeye Salmon

Kokanee & Sockeye Salmon

Oncorhynchus nerka or Kokanee, Kickininee, Little Redfish, Land-Locked Sockeye, Kennerly's Salmon, Silver Trout, Yank (anadromous form - Sockeye, Red Salmon, Blueback Salmon)

There are well known populations of a truly freshwater form of this species, the kokanee, as well as the anadromous sockeye salmon. The kokanee is generally very similar to the sockeye except in ultimate length and weight.

DESCRIPTION - The streamlined body of this species is usually 8-9 inches long when mature. (A sockeye is about 24 inches long when it returns to freshwater.) The head is bluntly pointed and conical with a pointed snout and small teeth on the jaws. Breeding males have a more compressed head and body with a prolonged, hooked, turned up snout and a small hump before the dorsal fin. Breeding males and females experience a striking color change. Typical coloring of this species is a brilliant steel-blue to green-blue with no distinct spots and sides an overall bright silver with a white to silver belly.

DISTRIBUTION - The kokanee is found over most of the range of the sockeye salmon which extends in North America from the Klamath River in California to Point Hope, Alaska. The kokanee occurs naturally in Japan, USSR, Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and Oregon but they are more widely found and abundant in British Columbia.

BIOLOGY - Kokanee spawn in the fall from September to October. The mature adults usually enter inlet streams of the lake in which they are living or they may spawn in gravel beds along its shore. The female prepares the nest and lays 368-1764 (average 450) eggs where a few days to several weeks later the adults of both sexes die. Hatching occurs in December-January and emergence is not until March-May. Generally this species mature, spawn and die at 4 years of age. Kokanee as large as 21 inches in length and weights of up to 4 pounds are not uncommon. In the anadromous sockeye spawning takes place from July to December mainly from the Fraser River to drainages into Bristol Bay.

RELATION TO MAN - Kokanee have long since been a sport fish of interest. They are generally looked upon as hard to catch by anglers as this species are plankton feeders. Both Kokanee and Sockeye are considered excellent sportfish which eagerly take both flies and lures. Their flesh is often blood-red, oily and delicious cooked in a variety of ways, or brined and hot smoked. Canning is also a popular method of preservation.

Fishing Vacations in British Columbia
Choose from our large selection of resorts, guides, charters & tours.
More info....
Outdoors & Fly Shops
Where to shop for fishing and outdoors gear..
More info....
British Columbia Guides, Adventures, Charter & Tours Guides, Adventures, Charters & Tours
Professional tourism operators offering wilderness experiences in BC.
More info...
Wilderness Resorts, Lodges, Cabins & Campgrounds in British Columbia Wilderness Resorts, Lodges, Cabins & Campgrounds
Browse a selection of wilderness lodging.
More info...

Follow Us On Facebook

BC Game Fish
Arctic Grayling
Black Crappie
Brook Trout
Brown Trout
Chinook Salmon
Chum Salmon
Coho Salmon
Cutthroat Trout
Dolly Varden & Bull Trout
Kokanee & Sockeye Salmon
Lake Trout/Char
Lake Whitefish
Mountain Whitefish
Northern Pike
Pacific Halibut
Pink Salmon
Pygmy Whitefish
Rainbow & Steelhead
Smallmouth Bass
White Sturgeon
Yellow Perch

Entomology Articles
Rainbow Feeding Habits

Game Fish
BC Fish Quiz
Bone Fish of the North
Kamloops Trout
Pacific Herring
Salmon Watching
Salmon and Creeks
Sea-Run Cutthroat
The Extraordinary Rainbow

Salmon Online
Chinook Salmon
Chum Salmon
Coho Salmon
Pink Salmon
Sockeye Salmon

Steelhead Trout

Fabulous Fall Chinook
Naden Harbour
Walking the Dogs

Kokanee and Sockeye Salmon