The Russian River watershed is home to many native and non-native species of salmonids and other fish, including endangered coho salmon, steelhead, and Chinook. In this section you will find more information about species in the watershed, as well as helpful identification guides for anglers.
Knowing how to identify adult coho salmon, steelhead, and Chinook is a critical skill for anyone fishing waters where these species coexist. In some areas, such as the Russian River, coho and other salmon species are protected, and catching or harming one can lead to penalties and stiff fines. This guide, developed by the California Sea Grant Russian River Salmon and Steelhead Monitoring Program, can help you refine your salmon ID skills. Adult Russian River Salmonid ID Guide
Juvenile Salmonid ID Guide
Coho salmon and steelhead primarily spawn in tributaries, smaller creeks that flow into the river, rather than the mainstem of the Russian River. During low rainfall years and early in the season, it is more important than ever to be conscious of the impact of angling on these protected fish. Check out our #knowyourcoho information campaign for more information on ID'ing and handling Russian River salmonids.