Salmon is one of the most delicious meals, and it is even better when you have just the right species. You get some of the best wild-caught salmon from Alaska. If you want to enjoy wild-caught salmon, there are amazing Alaska salmon species you should know about.
There are five types of Alaskan salmon; Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum, and Sockeye salmon. Each of these species has more than one name. The best Alaska salmon is found in the Pacific Ocean and caught wild, whereas the commercially available Atlantic salmon is farmed.
When looking for commercial salmon from Alaska, knowing the species, what they are best for, and whether they come from the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean can help you get the best fish.
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What Are The 5 Alaskan Salmon?
There are five types of Alaskan salmon species. Each of them is known by multiple names. They are found in the Pacific Ocean and are wild-caught. For commercial purposes, these are the best salmon species; they are healthier and tastier for cooking and consumption.
The five Alaskan species you should know about:
Chinook (King) Salmon
The Chinook salmon, from the anadromous genus Oncorhynchus species, is one of the most well-known Pacific salmon, also called King salmon. It is the largest species of its kind and grows up to 4.9 feet and 129 pounds as an adult. It also holds the highest fat content of the other five Pacific salmons.
King salmon is considered to be the tastiest of the rich flesh and has high-fat content. The salmon ranges from white to a deep red color. It is low in sodium and has a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B12, protein, and niacin. This salmon has about 3% white meat.
Chinook salmons spend between 1-7 years at sea. They are the state fish of Alaska, and the name “King” was established because of their size. Chinook salmon are used for commercial, personal use, sport, and subsistence fishery.
Coho (Silver) Salmon
The Coho salmon, from the anadromous fish species, is also known as Silver salmon. Cohos are the least abundant salmon in the wild. This salmon species is not big or small; it is considered an in-between fish, growing up to around 35 pounds.
Coho salmon has a milder flavor than other Alaskan salmon. It is known as one of the healthier salmons with its high anti-inflammatory leaner fats. The fish has an orange-red flesh with a firm texture. Many people enjoy Coho salmon because it tastes less fishy and is best for grilling.
The lifespan of Coho salmon is generally about 3-4 years. They are widespread, more abundant than Chinook, and less numerous than the other Pacific salmon species. Many people who are new to seafood or salmon prefer Coho because of its less gamey flavor.
Pink (Humpy) Salmon
Pink salmon, also known as Humpy or Humpback salmon, is part of the anadromous fish species. Pink salmon is the smallest Pacific salmon and most abundant. They weigh an average of 3.5-5 pounds and grow to around 20-25 inches. The salmon is often recognized by its fully silver skin.
The flavor of Pink salmon is light and delicate. It is perfect for grilling and roasting, topped with your favorite sauce. Pink salmon have a two-year lifespan, shorter than all other Pacific salmon.
The Humpy salmon gets its name “Pink” from its flesh color. It is said that they travel in schools during migration for protection because of their small size.
Chum (Dog) Salmon
Chum salmon, also known as Dog or Keta salmon, is from the anadromous fish species. It is also known as Silverbrite, which is its marketing name in Alaska. Chum salmon is the second largest Pacific salmon after Chinook.
Silverbrite salmon is delicious and known to be drier than other Pacific salmon species. The taste is mild with a lower fat content, low in sodium, and a source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B 12, niacin, and selenium. It is an underrated fish and is usually caught later in their lives when the flesh has lost much flavor and is softer.
Chum caught earlier have high-quality flesh, and even their outward appearance is better and fresher. The name “Dog” salmon comes from their large teeth developed during spawning, resembling canine teeth. Keta is its marketing name in North America.
Sockeye (Red) Salmon
Sockeye salmon, also famously known as Red salmon, has many diverse names and is from the anadromous fish species. It is considered a versatile salmon because of the texture of its flesh. It is not as delicate as other salmon species.
Red salmon is excellent for grilling, baking, and poaching. It is flavorful, prepared in any way, and can withstand various cooking methods. The flavor is rich, unlike other Pacific salmon with milder tastes like Pink salmon.
It has a relatively high-fat content and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Sockeye salmon is small with thin, compact fillets. It has a much reddish color compared to most pinkish-orangish salmon colors. Sockeye salmon is often a seafood lover’s first choice because of its rich salmon-forward flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Type Of Salmon Is Found In Alaska?
You can find five types of salmon in Alaska; Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum, and Sockeye. They are wild-caught salmon only, as fish farming is banned in Alaska.
What Is The Best-Tasting Salmon?
The best-tasting salmon would be something of personal preference. Chinook/King salmon is commonly labeled as the best tasting. Some people find Coho salmon the best because it tastes less gamey and fishy.
Why Is Wild-Caught Salmon Better?
Wild-caught salmon, as found in Alaska, is better because it is a healthier option. Their diet is natural. They have less fat, fewer calories, and more vitamins and minerals than farmed salmon.
Alaska has the best salmon species. They are wild caught and healthier for cooking and eating. Chinook/King is known as the best salmon and often people’s first choice. Others like Sockeye for a richer flavor or Coho because it tastes less fishy.