Coho Salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, big, bold, and colourful.
A favorite amoung sport fisherman for its feisty nature, the Coho Salmon is also an important fish species in the watershed. The range of rivers that they spawn in is large, and the young salmon spend a year or more in freshwater before heading to sea. The rearing habitat of young Coho is practically any area that holds water, right down to small drainage ditches and marshy areas. The impact of human land development hinders Coho survival more than any other salmon species. The colours of mature Coho are quite dramatic, with bright red bodies and black and white face markings. Their jaws also change shape distinctly as they approach spawning time. Photographing Coho Salmon underwater is a pleasure. They are big and colourful and quite calm if you move carefully in their environment.
The above sequence of images was shot on November 12th 2018. I have been trying for six years to photograph spawning Coho Salmon. Finally I found a pair that were building a redd in shallow water very close to shore on the Quinsam River. I was able to document all the stages of the process. Redd building, courtship moves, posturing, and after about two hours of laying beside them, staring through tthe viewfinder, the final went egg/milt release moment. It was a highlight for sure in my salmon photography career.