SALMON - SOME QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Where do salmon go in the ocean?

Contrary to earlier beliefs, many salmon from North American rivers roam far at sea in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. The oceanic distribution of the salmon is dependent upon the species and point of origin. Sockeye and chinook salmon from northwest Alaska, for example, may migrate across the Bering Sea to areas close to Kamchatka, U.S.S.R., and south of the Aleutian Islands into the North Pacific Ocean; the sockeye also migrate eastward to the Gulf of Alaska. Salmon such as the pink, chum, and coho from central and southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State, migrate out into the northeastern Pacific and Gulf of Alaska. Many steelhead trout from Washington and Oregon are known to migrate far at sea to areas off the Alaskan Peninsula. Some salmon migrate several thousand miles from the time they leave the rivers as juveniles until they return as adults. A chinook salmon tagged in the central Aleutian Islands and recovered a year later in the Salmon River, Idaho, had traveled about 3,500 miles; a steelhead trout tagged south of Kiska Island (western Aleutians) was recovered about six months and 2,200 miles later in the Wynoochee River, Washington.

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What is a kokanee, or silver trout?

It is the landlocked subspecies of a sockeye salmon. The kokanee spends its entire life in fresh water and usually does not attain the size of its sea-migrating cousin.

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Do landlocked Pacific salmon die after spawning?

Yes. This phase of their life history is the same as their seagoing relatives.

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How large do salmon get?


Chinook

Weights of 100 pounds and slightly over have been reported from European countries for the Atlantic salmon; the record for the largest of the Pacific species, chinook, is 126 pounds for a fish caught on commercial gear in Alaskan waters.

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What is the oldest known age of salmon and steelhead (in completed years)?

  • Pacific salmon: 7
  • chinook: 7
  • sockeye 7
  • silver 4
  • chum 6
  • pink 2
  • Atlantic salmon: 8
  • Steelhead trout: 8

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Is a steelhead a salmon or a trout?

The steelhead is a rainbow trout that migrates to sea as a juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn. Unlike the Pacific salmon, the steelhead trout does not always die following spawning and may spawn more than once and return to the sea after each spawning.

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How old are salmon when they migrate from fresh water to the ocean?

That depends on species:
  • Chinook--
    • fall chinook, 3-4 months after hatch;
    • spring chinook, 12-16 months;
  • Coho--12-24 months;
  • Chum--a week to a month;
  • Sockeye--12 months to 36 months;
  • Pink--a week to a month.
Sockeye

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How many eggs do salmon have?

Generally from 2,500 to 7,000 depending on species and size of fish. The chinook salmon generally produces the most and largest eggs.


Chinook

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What are salmon fed in a hatchery?

Vitamin-rich, high-protein diets made up of dried meals from coarse fish, animal meat excess, plant meal and bone meal, or meal from calcium-rich shells.

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How many of the young salmon released from hatcheries come back as adults?

Releases of large fingerlings usually result in returns of one to five percent.

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Why are fishladders constructed?

A fishladder, or fishway, often used in salmon country, is constructed to provide for up-stream passage of fish over a dam or a natural barrier that might prevent or impede progress to spawning grounds.

 

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Fish Ladder

 

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