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Wild Salmon Species Guide

Wild Pacific Salmon


For the indigenous people of the North Pacific coast, salmon have long been a primary source of protein, as well as an important part of their culture. The North Pacific waters of the U.S. and Canada are home to five species of Pacific salmon: Chinook (also called King), Sockeye, Coho, Pink, and Chum. Salmon are born in freshwater streams, lakes, and rivers. As smolts, they migrate to the sea, adjust from fresh water to salt water, and grow to adulthood. When it’s time to spawn, they find their way back to their freshwater birthplace. The salmon’s return each year is a time of celebration, not only among native Americans, but for all who delight in eating this delicious fish.


Salmon & the Environment


The North Pacific is a major source of wild salmon commercially harvested and eaten in homes and restaurants all over the world. The Alaska salmon fishery is responsible for about 90% of wild caught salmon in North America, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.


Health Benefits


Wild salmon is considered a “fatty” fish, but let’s put that in perspective. Salmon is very high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids (“good fat”). Health experts recommend consuming fatty fish up to twice a week. The fat/oil content of fish affects flavor and texture. Coho and Pink salmon have a lower fat/oil content and a lighter taste. Many people prefer the richer flavor of King and Sockeye salmon, which have the highest fat/oil content. Our favorite is the frequently overlooked Pink salmon, the tenderest of the Pacific species, as well as the smallest, making it more plentiful, affordable, and sustainable.


King (Chinook)
Fat/Oil Content: 12% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

King salmon are the largest, fattiest, and richest of the Pacific salmon species. Their meat often has ribbons of white running through it in a striped pattern. King has the highest oil content, and the largest flake size. The firm meat will stand up to grilling without tearing.


Whole King Salmon
King Salmon Fillets
Whole Copper River King Salmon

Ivory King
Fat/Oil Content: 12% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Though relatively uncommon, it is possible to find King salmon that have not developed their pink color. This is a natural occurrence in the wild. These King salmon are sometimes sold as Ivory Kings or white King salmon and should otherwise have the same characteristics as red Kings.


Whole Ivory King Salmon
White King Salmon Fillets

Sockeye (Blueback salmon, Red salmon)
Fat/Oil Content: 10% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Probably the most popular of all Pacific Salmon, Sockeye weigh between five and seven pounds. Its darker flesh– almost ruby in color—is firmer than other salmon so it won’t tear as easily while cooking. It has a medium flake size, and robust flavor. In terms of flavorful/healthy oil content, Sockeye is second in line, behind King salmon.


Whole Sockeye Salmon
Sockeye Salmon Fillets
Smoked Sockeye
Sockeye Lox

Coho (Silver)
Fat/Oil Content: 7% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Coho salmon are similar in color to King salmon, with a medium flake size like Sockeyes, but Coho is leaner and milder tasting than either King or Sockeye. That mild flavor makes them a great choice for salmon dishes featuring sauces, marinades, or smoking. Coho is also more tender than Sockeye or King salmon, and a more affordable substitute for either.


Whole Coho Salmon
Coho Salmon Fillets
Smoked Coho Salmon
Coho Lox

Pink (Humpback Salmon or Humpies)
Fat/Oil Content: 4% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Pink salmon is the most tender of all salmon. That tenderness means its flesh is frequently damaged during large-scale commercial fishing. Because of this damage, it is usually canned. When handled with care, however, you end up with beautiful, tender fillets. Another plus, Pink salmon’s relatively small size (under 4 lbs.), low place on the food chain, and youth when spawning means less bio-accumulation of toxins than larger fish.


Whole Pink Salmon
Pink Salmon Fillets
Smoked Pink Salmon
Pink Salmon Ikura

Keta (Chum, Fall salmon)
Fat/Oil Content: 4% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Keta salmon are some of the palest and leanest salmon. They are relatively large (around eight lbs. each) with a delicate flavor. Their flesh is firm, with a large flake, making them one of the easier salmon varieties to marinate, grill and/or smoke. Because they are so lean, take care not to overcook and dry them out. Their firmness means they aren’t as fragile as Pink or Coho salmon. The Keta salmon season tends to peak in the Fall, later than other species, making fresh Keta more likely to be available when other salmon is scarce. Keta is the salmon species least commonly sold fresh; it is most often dried .


Keta Salmon Fillets
Smoked Keta Salmon
Keta Lox

Wild Salmon Species Guide

Wild Pacific Salmon


For the indigenous people of the North Pacific coast, salmon have long been a primary source of protein, as well as an important part of their culture. The North Pacific waters of the U.S. and Canada are home to five species of Pacific salmon: Chinook (also called King), Sockeye, Coho, Pink, and Chum. Salmon are born in freshwater streams, lakes, and rivers. As smolts, they migrate to the sea, adjust from fresh water to salt water, and grow to adulthood. When it’s time to spawn, they find their way back to their freshwater birthplace. The salmon’s return each year is a time of celebration, not only among native Americans, but for all who delight in eating this delicious fish.


Salmon & the Environment


The North Pacific is a major source of wild salmon commercially harvested and eaten in homes and restaurants all over the world. The Alaska salmon fishery is responsible for about 90% of wild caught salmon in North America, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.


Health Benefits


Wild salmon is considered a “fatty” fish, but let’s put that in perspective. Salmon is very high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids (“good fat”). Health experts recommend consuming fatty fish up to twice a week. The fat/oil content of fish affects flavor and texture. Coho and Pink salmon have a lower fat/oil content and a lighter taste. Many people prefer the richer flavor of King and Sockeye salmon, which have the highest fat/oil content. Our favorite is the frequently overlooked Pink salmon, the tenderest of the Pacific species, as well as the smallest, making it more plentiful, affordable, and sustainable.


King (Chinook)
Fat/Oil Content: 12% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

King salmon are the largest, fattiest, and richest of the Pacific salmon species. Their meat often has ribbons of white running through it in a striped pattern. King has the highest oil content, and the largest flake size. The firm meat will stand up to grilling without tearing.

Whole King Salmon

King Salmon Fillets

Whole Copper River King Salmon

Ivory King
Fat/Oil Content: 12% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Though relatively uncommon, it is possible to find King salmon that have not developed their pink color. This is a natural occurrence in the wild. These King salmon are sometimes sold as Ivory Kings or white King salmon and should otherwise have the same characteristics as red Kings.

Whole Ivory King Salmon

White King Salmon Fillets

Sockeye (Blueback salmon, Red salmon)
Fat/Oil Content: 10% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Probably the most popular of all Pacific Salmon, Sockeye weigh between five and seven pounds. Its darker flesh– almost ruby in color—is firmer than other salmon so it won’t tear as easily while cooking. It has a medium flake size, and robust flavor. In terms of flavorful/healthy oil content, Sockeye is second in line, behind King salmon.

Whole Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon Fillets

Smoked Sockeye

Sockeye Lox

Coho (Silver)
Fat/Oil Content: 7% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Coho salmon are similar in color to King salmon, with a medium flake size like Sockeyes, but Coho is leaner and milder tasting than either King or Sockeye. That mild flavor makes them a great choice for salmon dishes featuring sauces, marinades, or smoking. Coho is also more tender than Sockeye or King salmon, and a more affordable substitute for either.

Whole Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon Fillets

Smoked Coho Salmon

Coho Lox

Pink (Humpback Salmon or Humpies)
Fat/Oil Content: 4% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Pink salmon is the most tender of all salmon. That tenderness means its flesh is frequently damaged during large-scale commercial fishing. Because of this damage, it is usually canned. When handled with care, however, you end up with beautiful, tender fillets. Another plus, Pink salmon’s relatively small size (under 4 lbs.), low place on the food chain, and youth when spawning means less bio-accumulation of toxins than larger fish.

Whole Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon Fillets

Smoked Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon Ikura

Keta (Chum, Fall salmon)
Fat/Oil Content: 4% avg.

Fish Size:
Flake Size:
Firmness:

Keta salmon are some of the palest and leanest salmon. They are relatively large (around eight lbs. each) with a delicate flavor. Their flesh is firm, with a large flake, making them one of the easier salmon varieties to marinate, grill and/or smoke. Because they are so lean, take care not to overcook and dry them out. Their firmness means they aren’t as fragile as Pink or Coho salmon. The Keta salmon season tends to peak in the Fall, later than other species, making fresh Keta more likely to be available when other salmon is scarce. Keta is the salmon species least commonly sold fresh; it is most often dried .

Keta Salmon Fillets

Smoked Keta Salmon

Keta Lox