Various deployments of commercial Doppler current profiling systems have demonstrated that these instruments can detect fish and measure their swimming speeds. However, research into the possible application of Doppler sonar to fisheries problems is limited and has not taken advantage of coherent signal processing schemes. A field trial was undertaken in August 2002 to explore the capabilities of a coherent Doppler sonar when applied to detecting discrete targets. The passage of migrating salmon on the Fraser River in British Columbia provided an ideal test opportunity with fish of well-defined swimming behavior and allowed for comparisons with conventional fisheries acoustics techniques. The instrument tested was a 250-kHz sonar which provided for phase coding of transmit pulses and coherent sampling of successive acoustic returns. The field trial resulted in 11 consecutive days of Doppler sonar data acquired during the peak of the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) migration. A total of 7425 individual fish were identified and their swimming speed was measured with an accuracy of between 10 cm<th>s-1 and 20 cm<th>s-1, which depended on pulse length, pulse spacing, and target range. By comparison, water velocity measurements made with the same instrument can only achieve a theoretical accuracy of 60 cm<th>s-1.