Sockeye Salmon

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Sockeye Salmon

Species Information

Scientific Name:Oncorhynchus nerka
Common Names:sockeye, red salmon, blueback salmon, kokanee
Environment:Lake, River, Stream, Inshore
Ideal Temp:51-58°F (11-14°C)

About Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon is an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. This species is a Pacific salmon that is primarily red in hue during spawning. They can be up to 84 cm in length and weigh anywhere from 2.3 to 7 kg. Juveniles remain in freshwater until they are ready to migrate to the ocean, over distances of up to 1,600 km. Their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. Sockeye salmon are semelparous, dying after they spawn. Some populations, referred to as kokanee, do not migrate to the ocean and live their entire lives in freshwater.


Sockeye salmon is the third most common Pacific salmon species, after pink and chum salmon. Oncorhynchus comes from the Greek '-ychos' meaning nail, and 'rhyngchos' meaning snout. nerka is the Russian name for the anadromous form. The name "sockeye" is an anglicization of suk-kegh (sθə́qəy̓), its name in Halkomelem, the language of the indigenous people along the lower reaches of the Fraser River (one of British Columbia's many native Coast Salish languages). Suk-kegh means "red fish".

The sockeye salmon is sometimes called red or blueback salmon, due to its color. Sockeye are blue tinged with silver in color while living in the ocean. When they return to spawning grounds, their bodies become red and their heads turn green. Sockeye can be anywhere from 60 to 84 centimeters in length and weigh from 2.3 to 7 kg. Two distinguishing features are their long, serrated gill rakers that range from 30 to 40 in number, and their lack of a spot on their tail or back.

Sockeye Salmon Fishing

World Record:6.88 kg (15 lb 3 oz) - Kenai River, Alaska, USA
# Fish Caught:54669061 documented in database.
Earliest Record:1/1/1860 12:00:00 AM and located at 45.30905, -117.20761.
Latest Record:5/6/2024 9:37:54 AM and located at 60.50373, -151.27987.
Common Techniques:Casting, Fly, Jigging, Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Flies, Jigs, Spoons, Topwater
Fishing Spots:1871 Sockeye Salmon fishing spots.

Latest Sockeye Salmon Fishing Reports and Spots

Kenai Peninsula: Extraordinary Salmon Fishing in Alaska - 5/6/2024 9:37:54 AM

When it comes to salmon fishing in Alaska the Kenai Peninsula is a world-class destination. From its pristine waters to the unscathed wildernes (View)

Kenai River Alaska 3/9/24 - 3/9/2024 3:14:47 PM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is almost mid March here on the Kenai in Alaska and the 2024 fishing season i (View)

Kenai River fishing 2024 - 2/26/2024 3:19:00 PM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is late February here in Alaska and the 2024 Alaska fishing season is just a (View)

Types of Salmon in Seattle - 1/8/2024 7:06:59 PM

Seattle is known for its world-class salmon fishing and for good reason. The city is located on the Puget Sound which is home to five different (View)

Kenai River fishing report 8/28/23 - 8/28/2023 4:12:44 PM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is late August here on the Kenai River in Alaska and I am happy to report tha (View)

Silver Salmon – The Perfect Salmon? - 11/16/2023 2:21:04 PM

  When it comes to salmon fishing everyone has their favorite species. Some prefer king salmon for their raw power and elusiveness some prefer (View)

KENAI RIVER FISHING REPORT 8/7/23 - 8/7/2023 3:04:22 PM Hello Kenai River anglers well it is august now here on the Kenai and we are in a transition from summer to fal (View)

Kenai River fishing report 7/25/23 - 7/25/2023 12:30:00 AM Hello Kenai River Anglers well it is late July here on the Kenai and t5he fishing is on fire! Late run Kenai Ri (View)

Juneau Fishing Report- 6/29/2023 - 6/29/2023 3:24:07 PM

6/29/2023 Fishing Report We hope everyone that wandered up to Windfall this year found some fish.  It has been another short sockeye season for (View)

How to Fish For Sockeye Salmon on the Kenai River - 6/12/2023 6:46:00 PM

Fishing for sockeye salmon on the Kenai River is an exhilarating experience for any angler. With a large run of sockeye salmon passing through (View)