Male Vs Female Salmon

Salmon is one of the most distinguished fish that originally swim in the ocean and then travel down the river or any streams to spawn. Salmon is expected not only for anglers but also for people who like to eat them.

They are the most popular fish purchased in different restaurants and supermarkets. But for some people, there is a challenge to tell if the salmon is a male or a female.

Male and female salmon is pretty hard to differentiate. But note that both are silver in color and turn to a brighter color when spawning arrives—meanwhile, the female remains and is more subdued.

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In this short read, you will understand the primary differences between a male salmon to a female salmon.

Significance Between Male And Female Salmon

When trying to differentiate two salmons, it is pretty challenging to tell this is mainly because of their subtle differences. It would help if you did some careful examinations to find those slight variations in jaw shape and head size.

Generally speaking, you can always tell them apart after you catch them and cut them open. It will be easier to tell if they begin their spawn season as male undergoes different changes.

Head To Body Ratio

Spawning can help in a bigger perspective to tell the difference between two salmons. As male changes, they become a bit larger from head to toe compared to female salmon. You can tell by their head as the male’s head becomes more elongated than the female’s head.

Head And Jaw Growth

As the male’s head becomes elongated, you can also notice that their jaws become even longer than their female counterparts. Male salmon develop a hook shape head, and as spawning season begins, they become more exaggerated.

They also develop strong and sharp teeth while the female becomes more smooth and modest.


At first, if salmon has a pretty distinct silver color, as spawning time happens, the male salmon will eventually change its color to a more vibrant one. Their eyes turn bright red while the female counterpart turns green.

Some male salmon also show some more developed color patterns than female salmon.

Body Shape

When salmon were in the ocean, they had a similar body shape. Once they turn to the rivers to spawn, you can see physical changes in their body shape.

The males become deeper while the females have a more slender body shape. But females can expand their bellies so they can store their eggs.


Overall, salmon are pretty much the same only when they are about to spawn. Spawning is essential to their life cycle because they need to reproduce, and it might not be as easy as it looks to differentiate as the season progresses.

But if you are an avid fan of fishing, you will find this more exciting and challenging to figure out their gender.