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How to Identify a Salmon

We are almost finished making a poster to help with species ID.

In the mean time, here are some images that will help to identify if you caught a salmon (and not a char) and what species of salmon you may have caught.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS of Pacific salmon: They have NO spots or BLACK spots on their back and tail. Char have light coloured spots. So if you caught a fish that has BLACK spots or NO spots, you might have some kind of Pacific salmon on your hands!

Chum salmon are THE MOST COMMON species of Pacific salmon harvested in the Canadian Arctic. They can be harvested anywhere subsistence nets are set in the Northwest Territories and perhaps into Nunavut. They have NO SPOTS on their back and tail.


Pink salmon are the SECOND most common species of Pacific salmon harvested in the Canadian Arctic. They can be caught in the Beaufort Sea or Mackenzie River Delta, and perhaps also into Nunavut. They have BLACK spots on their back and tail.


ALL other species of Pacific salmon are very rare in the Canadian Arctic.

An older poster for species ID.