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Pacific Salmon – They All Have Two Names

Posted on October 21 2009

If you’ve ever been confused listening to people talk about the different species of Pacific Salmon, you’re not alone. No one knows why, but for some reason each of the five North American Pacific Salmon have two names. It’s really not that complicated!

King Salmon = Chinook Salmon. No difference.

Photo: Cameron Miller

Chum Salmon and Dog Salmon are the same thing.

Photo: Cameron Miller

Sockeye Salmon and Red Salmon are both formally known as Oncorhynchus nerka.

Photo: Cameron Miller

Pink Salmon and Humpback Salmon? Identical.

Photo: Cameron Miller

You can call it a Silver Salmon or a Coho Salmon – it’s the same fish.

Photo: Cameron Miller

If you noticed that all those fish looked pretty bright and fresh, that’s because they were caught at Alaska West, a stone’s throw from the salt on the Kanektok River. Where are all the dark reds and greens and other zany colors? They show up as the salmon lose their fat reserves and get ready for spawning – upriver!

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