Somatolactin (SL), a newly discovered fish pituitary protein belonging to the GH/prolactin family, was isolated from coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). Antibodies were raised to purified coho SL, and a homologous radioimmunoassay was developed and validated. The assay was specific for SL as indicated by the absence of cross-reactivity with coho salmon GH, gonadotrophins I and II and less than 0·2% cross-reaction to prolactin. Serial dilutions of plasma and pituitary extracts from Oncorhynchus species including coho salmon, chinook salmon and rainbow trout were parallel to the coho salmon SL standard curve. Displacement curves for dilutions of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) plasma, but not pituitary extract were parallel to the standards. Plasma levels of SL were measured in coho salmon throughout the final year of reproductive maturation. During the period of gonadal growth, plasma SL levels increased and were highly correlated to oestradiol levels in females and 11-ketotestosterone levels in males. Peak levels of SL were observed at the time of final maturation and spawning in both sexes. It is hypothesized that SL may regulate some physiological aspect of reproduction.