Coho Salmon vs Sockeye: What’s The Difference?

Coho salmon and sockeye salmon may look similar, but they are actually two very different species of fish. Here’s a closer look at the differences between these two types of salmon.

Coho salmon and sockeye salmon are both types of Pacific salmon. They are very similar in appearance, but there are a few key differences. Coho salmon are paler than sockeye, and their meat is pinker. Coho salmon also have smaller scales than sockeye. The biggest difference between the two species, however, is how they taste. Sockeye salmon have a stronger, more distinct flavor than Coho salmon.

Let’s break all this down in more detail…

What is a Coho Salmon?

The Coho salmon is a species of fish that is found in the Pacific Ocean. They are a type of anadromous fish, which means they are born and live in freshwater, but migrate to the ocean to mature and spawn. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon because of their color. They can weigh anywhere from 4 to 12 pounds and can grow up to 3 feet long.

Coho salmon are a popular food fish, and they are also used for sport fishing.

What is a Sockeye Salmon?

The sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is a species of salmon that is also native to the Pacific Northwest. It is one of the most abundant and commercially important salmon species in the region.

Sockeye salmon are deep red and have a metallic sheen. They typically weigh 2-4 pounds and can reach lengths of up to 36 inches. Sockeye salmon are anadromous, meaning they migrate from freshwater to saltwater to spawn. They typically spawn in streams and rivers in the fall.

What Are the Differing Characteristics of Coho Salmon vs Sockeye?

Coho salmon and sockeye salmon are both important to the local economy and ecosystem, and they both have their own unique characteristics.

Coho salmon are smaller than sockeye salmon, and they typically have a silver coloring with reddish stripes. They are migratory fish, and they typically live in open water. Sockeye salmon are larger than coho salmon, and they typically have a deep red coloring. They are nonmigratory fish, and they typically live in deeper water.

Sockeye salmon is slightly longer and heavier than the coho salmon. The average coho is between 7-11 pounds while the sockeye is 4-15 pounds. Coho salmon average 28 inches long and the sockeye from 18-30 inches. The coho salmon and sockeye inhabit the north Pacific Ocean and are both fresh and saltwater fish.

Coho has dark blue backs and silver sides when they are in the ocean. During spawning and back at the rivers, they develop red sides and blueish green heads and backs. 

Coho salmon can be found swimming along both coasts of the North Pacific Ocean. Their range extends from Japan and eastern Russia, around the Bering Sea, all the way to mainland Alaska and south to California.

Coho salmon has been introduced to all the Great Lakes, between Canada and the United States.

In the ocean, sockeye have silver sides, white bellies and greenish-blue on their backs. During spawning in freshwater, their bodies turn bright red and their heads green. They also develop a hump on their backs.

Sockeye can be found in northwest Alaska to the west coast rivers in Oregon.

Coho Salmon vs Sockeye: Nutrition Comparison

Coho salmon and sockeye salmon are both high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for human health, especially as it relates to the cardiovascular system. However, they have different levels of other nutrients.

Coho salmon is slightly lower in calories than sockeye salmon, and it has a higher protein content. Sockeye salmon is higher in vitamin B12 and selenium than coho salmon. Coho salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, while sockeye salmon is not.

So which type of salmon is healthier for you? That depends on your individual nutritional needs. Consider whether you need more protein or fewer calories before making a decision.

Coho Salmon or Sockeye: Which One Has More Mercury?

Coho salmon and sockeye salmon are both nutritious and good to eat, but which one has more mercury?

Coho salmon can have slightly more mercury than sockeye salmon, but it depends on the age and size of the fish. Younger, smaller Coho tend to have less mercury than older, larger ones.

Which type of salmon is more popular in the United States?

Actually, Atlantic salmon is the most popular type of salmon in the United States. It is found in the eastern part of the country and is harvested mostly in Maine, New York, and Massachusetts. Atlantic salmon is a cold-water fish that thrives in rivers and streams. It is also farmed in many parts of the world.

Coho and Sockeye are both Pacific salmon warm-water fish, native to the North Pacific Ocean. Of the two, Coho is probably slightly more popular among U.S. chefs and diners.

Coho Salmon vs Sockeye: Which Costs More?

When you are purchasing Coho salmon or sockeye, be sure to check the label to see if the fish is caught in the wild or farm-raised. The price of the fish will differ depending on how it is harvested; wild caught will always be more expensive than farm-raised. 

On average, wild-caught Coho salmon costs $20 per pound while wild-caught sockeye costs $19 per pound. The price for either fish can differ depending on the location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, and if it is fresh or frozen.

Coho Salmon vs Sockeye Taste Comparison

Sockeye salmon has a rich flavor and is very strong. They smell and taste very similar to many other varieties of salmon and have a pronounced fishy flavor. If you like other salmon varieties, then you will enjoy the flavor of sockeye salmon.

For those that are not a big fan of intense salmon flavor, the Coho salmon may be a better option.

Coho salmon is good to eat due to its lower fat and oil content, which gives it a milder taste. Although the Coho’s flavor is milder than sockeye and most other salmon, it’s still more flavorful than a mild white fish like halibut or cod.

Ways to Prepare Coho and Sockeye Salmon in the Kitchen

There are many ways to prepare salmon in the kitchen. You can bake it, fry it, grill it, or even put it in a salad. In this article, we will focus on two methods of preparing coho and sockeye salmon: baking and frying.

Baking salmon is a healthy and easy way to cook it. All you need is some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, then generously season the salmon with salt and pepper. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil, and place the salmon on top. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through. See this article for more detail: How to Properly Bake Salmon

To properly fry salmon, first make sure that the salmon filet is completely dry. This can be done by blotting it with a paper towel. Then, season the fish with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat up some oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the salmon and cook for about four minutes per side, or until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with lemon, dill, and capers.

What Are the Differences Between Coho Salmon and Sockeye salmon?

As we’ve seen, they are quite similar fish, but not without some notable differences. In sum, here are a few FAQs to point out:

  • Appearance: Sockeye salmon are deep red and have a metallic sheen, while Coho are silver.
  • Size: Coho salmon average 28 inches long and the sockeye vary from 18-30 inches.
  • Habitat: Coho and Sockeye are both Pacific salmon warm-water fish.
  • Nutrition: Both species are high in Omega-3 and low in mercury.
  • Flavor: Sockeye salmon has a rich flavor and is very strong. Both are delicious!

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