Coho salmon, also known as silvers, range from southern California to northern Alaska and most typically weigh between 5 and 12 lbs. Coho have a relatively high fat content and are valued for their consistently deep reddish-orange flesh.
Like all Pacific salmon, Coho are born and die in fresh water. They are born in streams far inland from the ocean and spend a year or two travelling downstream before entering salt water for the first time. They spend the next one to three years in the open ocean, feeding on crustaceans and other fish. When the time comes for the long migration back to their spawning grounds, they stop eating altogether and live off their reserves of fat. Their skin starts to change color once they reach fresh water, although initially at least this does not have a significant impact on their meat condition. As they head further upriver and get closer to their spawning grounds however, their flesh starts to deteriorate and they develop the prominently hooked snout they use in mating. Coho salmon, like all Pacific salmon, only spawn once before they die in the stream of their birth.
The majority of Coho are caught with gill nets and sold head off, as the nets scar their heads. Troll fishing is taking a larger and larger percentage of the catch though since the fish come out of the water in better condition and they can be sold with their heads on.