Kokanee salmon now on exhibit: a first for the Seattle Aquarium

Kokanee salmon at the Seattle Aquarium

Kokanee salmon have been added to the Aquarium’s salmon hatchery trough—and this is the first time we’ve ever exhibited them. Hatched two weeks ago, they came from the Lakewood Hatchery in Auburn. After growing up in the display trough for several months, they will be moved into our stream exhibit.

Kokanee salmon are the landlocked form of sockeye salmon. They live in freshwater streams their whole lives and never migrate to the ocean; therefore, they’re much smaller than sockeye. Locally, kokanee populations can be found in Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish, Issaquah Creek and other small creeks that feed into these bodies of water. Kokanee range in length from 10 to 18 inches and spawn from early August through late December.

What distinguishes kokanee salmon from other salmon species?
Males: back and sides are bright red to dirty red-gray; head is bright to olive green; tail is green to black; large dorsal hump.
Females: colors aren’t as bright, but they’re red above the lateral line.
Both: possible spots on back or tail fin.

Come see the kokanee salmon next time you visit the Aquarium!

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One Response to Kokanee salmon now on exhibit: a first for the Seattle Aquarium

  1. Chris says:

    I always thought they migrated to the ocean and that was the whole reason of always being on the move in streams and such.. guess I learned something from this post here! Thats a cool addition to the aquarium though. That large dorsal hump on the males is really going to be an eye sore in the aquarium WHICH IS GOOD.

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