Salmon Information, Photos, and Facts
A true Keystone species of Northwest America, the Salmon has a fascinating lifecycle.
Salmon is a name used for several species of fish in the Salmonidae family. There are two main groups of salmon around North America — the Atlantic and the Pacific Salmon. American Expedition is proud to present information, interesting facts, and photos of Salmon.
There are six types of salmon that are harvested in and around the waters of North America. There is one salmon from the Atlantic Ocean called the Atlantic Salmon, and five from the Pacific Ocean called Chinook, Chum, Choho, Pink, Sockeye.
Atlantic Salmon - Known also as the black salmon, this fish does not require salt water to live. This species is in decline in the United States and is listed on the Endangered Species List. The average size of the pink salmon is 8-12 pounds.
Chinook Salmon - This animal is the state fish of Alaska and is also known as the King Salmon. It is the largest of the salmon species and can get up to 125 pounds. Chinook salmon can live a maximum of 7 years. Chinooks can be found in Alaska (mainly) and down the West coast. The average size of a Chinook is 10-15 pounds.
Chum Salmon - This fish is found in Alaska down to the Northwest tip of the United States. It occupies the broadest range of any other salmon. The average size of a Chum is 10-15 pounds.
Coho Salmon - The Coho salmon, also known as Silvers, is one of the most sought after species and can be found in Alaska and down the West coast. The average size of a Coho is 6-12 pounds.
Pink Salmon - Also known as “Humpies,” the pink salmon is the most abundant, yet smallest in size of the species. The average size of a Pink salmon is 3-5 pounds.
Sockeye Salmon - Also known as “Reds,” this is the most colorful of the species and can survive being in lakes and other freshwater. They sometimes even spawn in rivers and lakes. The average size of a Sockeye is 5-8 pounds.
- Atlantic salmon sold in the U.S. are all farm raised. To get wild salmon, buy Pacific salmon.
- Salmon are popular in mythology.
- Salmon is a considered a health food.
- Salmons have orange flesh.
- Salmon are anadromous, which means they are born in fresh water, they migrate to salt water, and then they return to freshwater to spawn.
- Grizzly bears love to feast on these fish when they are migrating upstream.
- Salmon is a keystone species in Northwest America.
- Spawning is usually the last act of a salmon before it dies.
Salmon in the United States are found mainly on the Northwestern coastline as well as all around Alaska. There is a small amount on the Atlantic coast and there are some in the Great Lakes as well. Aquaculture for salmon is becoming more and more popular because of the demand for this fish.
Salmon are anadromous, which means they are born in fresh water, migrate to salt water, and then return to freshwater to spawn.
What Do Salmon Eat?
Young salmon feed on plankton. As they get older, they feed on other things such as insects, small invertebras, small fish, and other sea organisms.
Salmon Fishing Tips
- Feeding habits depend on a variety of different factors such as weather, season, and time of day.
- Find the correct fishing reel that you feel most comfortable using.
- Use brightly colored lures and add bait and scent to them.
- Fish for salmon early in the morning or late at night.
- Salmon tend to stay at the bottom, so use weights.
- Each state has varying fishing regulations. It is important to educate yourself on them before going out to fish.
- Remember to acquire a fishing permit if taking up this sport. Fishing without a permit is illegal and could result in a fine.
- Look at the state’s regulations and seasons to find out when you are allowed to fish.
- Most states have a length limit for their fish. If the fish you caught does not measure the minimum, it is required that you let it go. There are sometimes maximum limits for certain fish as well.
- Most states also have daily limits, or the amount of a certain fish you can keep in one day.
Salmon spend their early years in freshwater rivers and then swim out to sea. In the sea, they live most of their adult life until they are ready to spawn. They will then swim back through the river and into the area they were born. The female salmon will lay its eggs into a nest, known as a “redd.” The male will swim up and fertilize them, and then the female will cover them gently with gravel. Because of the effort and energy it took for the salmon to travel back upstream, they will die shortly after they spawn. The embryos will hatch and then will eat their own yolk. When the yolk is gone, they begin searching for other food. They are now known as “fries.” Soon, the fries will be ready to head out to the saltwater where they will spend most of their adult life until they travel back the place they hatched to spawn.
A female sockeye salmon swimming upstream.
Salmon return from the ocean to the same freshwater stream where they were spawned.
A silver salmon in a stream.
Spawning is usually the last act of a salmon before it dies.
It takes a large amount of energy for the salmon to return to where they were born.