Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), is a member of the Salmonidae family and is a Pacific Salmon. The Sockeye Salmon is both sea going (anadromous) and also freshwater only capable (non-anadromous). As with other Pacific Salmon, they hatch from eggs, that are located in the headwaters of clean, cool, gravel-based rivers and streams.

Freshwater Kokanee Salmon

We have been contacted by many anglers.… Well, more like we have been told off for not having a representation of Kokanee Salmon on our site. For many years, Kokanee Salmon were thought to be a separate species of salmon, when they are not.

Kokaneee Salmon are Sockeye Salmon that live their entire lives in freshwater. There is little distinction in their DNA to differentiate Kokanee from Sockete Salmon.

As such, we will include all techniques and information for both Kokanee and Sockeye Salmon under the species of Sockeye Salmon pages.

Other Name for Sockeye Salmon

The Sockeye Salmon is known by many other names with the Kokanee being the most popular. Other names for Sockeye Salmon include red salmon, blue back salmon and big redfish.

Freshwater names for the Sockeye Salmon include Kokanee salmon, Kennerly’s salmon, Kokanee, landlocked sockeye, kickininee, little red fish and silver trout.

Sockeye Salmon Distribution

The Sockeye Salmon have a native distribution across the northern reaches of the pacific ocean to the Arctic ocean and all coastal rivers and streams in that area that conform to their preferred habitat.

This includes the countries of the United States, Canada, Japan and Russia. They can also be found inland in the Great Lakes and the rivers of Alberta, California and Washington. More on their distribution in our distribution section.

Ocean and Freshwater Habitat

Like all Pacific Salmon, the Sockeye salmon prefer cool, crisp water in both their rivers and streams and in the ocean. River habitats contain gravel aggregate and are usually mountain or spring fed.

Freshwater Kokanee Salmon also prefer cool crisp water and will not successfully spawn in rivers and streams that are not fitting these requirements.

All Tackle Record

The all tackle record for a Sockeye Salmon is 15.3 pounds and the average you can expect to catch being a respectable 4 to 8 pounds. The freshwater Kokanee is smaller inside as is usual for freshwater variants of their native seagoing cousins.

Feeding habits

Sockeye Salmon and Kokanee Salmon feed on plankton, insects, crustacean larvae, various small or bait fish and squid. They are not fussy and will eat any small fish they encounter.