Young juvenile Coho Salmon in freshwater feed on plankton and insects.

Juvenile Coho Salmon Food Preferences

They do not start feeding on insects right away, aquatic or otherwise. When they are first born, they feed solely on plankton. Usually, juvenile Coho Salmon lose their yolk sac before consuming insects.

After migrating to the ocean, their diet changes significantly. Coho Salmon have a lot more variety in their diet and there is a much greater abundance of food in the ocean, especially close to the shore. And as a result, Coho Salmon grow rapidly once they reach the ocean.

Ocean Food Preferences Tips

Ocean food preferences include herring, pilchards, sand lance, squid and various crustaceans and molluscs. The ocean has thousands of species of crustaceans. Don’t worry about which crustacean is best as there are plenty of other foods that should be targeted before crustaceans.

Many fish, like herring school in large groups and come into the bay or estuaries several times a year. These fish are found in abundance, are very popular and easy to replicate as a lure. Focus on herring and squid as these are the two most popular and successful foods.

During this time, Coho and other Salmon come to the shallows and feast on herring. In the northwest coast of North America, this usually occurs in November and December.

Great Lakes Coho Salmon

Coho Salmon in the Great Lakes do not migrate to the Ocean. They spend their entire lives in freshwater, spawning in the rivers and streams that feed into the Great Lakes.

However, the Great Lakes have a great diversity and abundance of bait fish in schooling alewife, smelt and to a lesser degree all other small bait fish found in the Great Lakes.

Coho Salmon found in the Great Lakes grow just as large as the ocean Cohos. Moreover, smelt and alewife and the most popular fish that they eat.

Selecting baits and lures

Any lures that resemble smelt or alewife provide more success than those that replicate other fish species. Various minnow species are still successful as they closely resemble smelt.

If you prefer fishing with live bait, again, go with alewife or smelt. If you are unable to find these, consider using lures instead.