Pacific Salmon Run

Also known as a silver, coho are the second least abundant (following Chinook) salmon. While they are one of the most commercially sought after species they make up only 7-10% of the commercial salmon fishery. They spend 1-2 years in freshwater, and prefer near shore feeding grounds.

Coho usually travel less then 100 miles from the moth of their stream for reproduction with the exception of a few populations that do travel over a thousand miles. While in the ocean they have dark metallic blue or greenish backs with silver sides and a light belly.

They have small black spots on their backs and the upper lobe of the tail. Another distinguishing feature is their gum line which is white. Spawning colors are dark with reddish coloration on their sides. These fish generally live 3-5 years, are about 24-28in in length, and weigh about 5-10 lbs.

The Chum salmon is also known as the dog, or calico salmon. Chum comes from a word meaning variegated coloration in the native language. They have the most widely distributed population and the greatest biomass. They are the second largest salmon (following the Chinook).

Most populations reproduce near the mouth of their stream. When in the ocean they are metallic, greenish-blue along the back with black speckles which closely resemble sockeye and coho.

During the spawning phase males get vertical bars in reds, greens, and purples, while females get a black horizontal stripe. These fish generally live 3-5 years, are 21-31in in length, and weigh about 6.5-12.5lbs.

Also known as the king, tyee, or black-mouth, the name Chinook came from the native peoples of the Columbia River and is considered a proper name and thus is always capitalized.

They are the largest, but least abundant salmon. When in the ocean they have bluish-green backs and silver sides with irregular spotting on the back, dorsal fin, and both lobes of the tail.

Another distinguishing characteristic is their black gum line. Spawning colors are olive brown to dark brown in color. Males also develop a hocked snout. These fish live about 3-6 years, are 28-40in in length, and weigh about 10-30 lbs.

Also known as the red-fish, red, or blue-black, they are the most important commercial species. Sockeye have long gill rakers as they primary feed on plankton when in the ocean. They have the greatest life history diversity and can spend anywhere from 3 months to 3 years in freshwater.

They will spawn near shorelines, the bottom of lakes, or hundreds of miles upstream. Fry of this species rears almost exclusively in lakes. While in the ocean they are greenish blue on top of the head and back, silvery on the sides, and white to silver on the belly.

During the spawning phase the head and caudal fin become bright green and the body turns scarlet. Land locked populations of this species are known as kokanee. These fish generally live 2-6 years, are about 21-26in in length, and weigh about 4-7lbs

Salmon Enhancement Group / Crickey Conservation Society 2023.

2 Comments on “Pacific Salmon Run

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