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BC Wild Salmon, how to identify the 5 different species

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BC Wild Salmon, how to identify the 5 different species

Here in British Columbia, we are proud of the five beautiful species of wild salmon that thrive in our cold coastal waters. Perhaps this summer you plan to go out and catch some salmon yourself, especially considering this year will be the biggest salmon run in over four years! 

Although all five species share some outward similarities, below you'll find some easy to spot visual identifiers between the 5 varieties of salmon you can find here on the west coast of Canada.


Latin name: Oncorhynchus nerka

Flesh profile & taste: Deep red flesh with a firm texture and a flavour that is full and rich, beautiful wild caught sockeye salmon is known for being wonderfully marbled with Omega 3 rich fat.

Best cooking methods: Our chefs love to grill sockeye salmon (especially when paired on a cedar plank or inside cedar wraps). Alternatively, sockeye salmon can be beautifully prepared in your oven (bake or broil) or if you're feeling adventurous try poaching it! PS, Sockeye is one of the best varieties of salmon served raw.

Recipes & Tips:



Latin name: Oncorhynchus gorbusha

Flesh profile & taste: As the name suggest, these beauties have a light pink flesh which may lighten even more as they're cooked. The flavour is typically delicate, mild and light. Considering this variety of salmon is so light in taste it is often a hit with kids or those unused to salmon flavour, it's an easy intro fish!

Best cooking methods: We suggest baking and grilling pink salmon for best results.

Recipes & Tips:



Latin name: Oncorhynchus kisutch

Flesh profile & taste: The coho salmon has a vibrant orange-red flesh and the flavour is known to be full and quite versatile for many types of preparations.

Best cooking methods: The full monty applies; you can sauté, grill, poach, bake and broil your coho salmon - anyway will taste delicious.

Recipes & Tips:




Latin name: Oncorhynchus tschawytscha

Flesh profile & taste: Deep red flesh (though can sometimes being almost ivory white!) that has moderately large flakes. This salmon lightens as it is cooked with a flavour known to be full and rich.

Best cooking methods: We suggest, grilling, baking and broiling or even poaching.

Recipes & Tips:



Chum (Keta)

Latin name: Oncorhynchus keta

Flesh profile & taste: Deep pink flesh which is typically firmer and semi-dry compared to other varieties. Flavour is considered to be mild and delicate.

Best cooking methods: Unlike the other four types of salmon, chum salmon can be particularly tasty when steamed. All other ways of cooking apply as well, try grilling, sautéing, baking, poaching or broiling your salmon!