Common name: Coho Salmon
ID: Steel-blue or slightly green on back, silver on sides, white on stomach. Small black dots on back and sides above the middle, bottom of dorsal fin. Inside of mouth grey or black with white gums, unlike the Chinook (see image 3 for more comparisons). Slightly forked tail. 12-15 rays on anal fin. Sides vibrantly red when spawning (see images 4-5).
Life cycle: Spawning up tributary rivers from early Sept. to early October. Females make nests in gravel. Adults die after spawning. Emerge 2 weeks after hatching (March-July) and go back downriver after a year or longer. Maintained in the Lakes by fish culture and stocking. Usually return to streams to spawn around age 4.
Feed on: Smaller fish (smelt, alewives, etc.)
Predators: Predatory fish and birds while small, sea lampreys.
Where to find them: Spring/summer - Open waters chasing alewives and smelt, 20-40ft and within 10 miles of shore. August/September - form into schools at mouth of tributaries, before they move up the streams to spawn and then die.
Can be caught on Lake Michigan anytime, but early spring/late summer are best. Move around the lake sort of 'counter clockwise' from those times. Planted in the Platte River; good fishing in Platte Bay at the start of spawning. Good fishing in Manistee River and St. Joseph River in October through November.