Species: Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Information About

Sockeye Salmon

Quick Facts

Oncorhynchus nerka


cayak, kavirauneq


gaat (red), x'áakw (freshwater)

Other Names

Red Salmon


Sockeye Salmon in Detail.

Sockeye Salmon also called red salmon or blueback salmon are the thrid most commmon Pacific Salmon species. Sockeyes are found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and the rivers that flow into it. Landlocked Sockeye Salmon are called kokanee.

The name is a corruption of the name used by Halkomelem natives of British Columbia originally printed as "sukkai." Sockeye salmon are greenish blue with fine pepper-like specklings, no large dark spots. Breeding male has pale green head, dark jaws, and bright red body and fins. Spawning female is generally the same with green and yellow splotches on the body. Average mature weight: 2-7 lbs (Trophy 12 lbs) Kokanee are much smaller than ocean spawning Sockeye. Edibility "A".

Sockeye prefer to spawn in rivers and streams that include lakes in their watersheds. After hatching young return to the ocean for one to four years.

Bristol Bay, Alaska is the largest harvester of Sockeye in the world. Another popular area for harvesting reds is the Copper River.


Bald Eagle, Black Bear, Orca, Human


Pictures of Sockeye Salmon.