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Chum Salmon Spawning illustration

Chum Salmon

World Record ~ 35 Lbs Caught at Edye Pass, British Columbia  on July 11, 1995 by angler Todd Johansson.

Scientific name ~  Oncorhynchus Keta

Other names ~ Dog Salmon, fall Salmon, chum, Calico salmon

Identification ~  Chum Salmon are the second largest of the Salmon species. When the Chum Salmon is in the ocean they are chrome and sleek. While chum are void of stripes in saltwater, the strips can be seen by tilting the landed fish one way or another; the stripes further distinguish it from other species of salmon. As they mature and get closer to their spawning streams they develop a dark olive back, purple and gray tiger stripes are found along the lateral areas, which differentiate them along with the kype (jaw hook) of the male distended with large canine-like teeth.

Size ~ The angler caught Chum Salmon usually ranges from 10 to 15 pounds but catches of Chum salmon over 20 pounds are not that uncommon. The females tend to be smaller than the males. Chum salmon can live to 7 years but usually spawn after 4 years.

Habitat ~ Chum salmon spawn in the lowermost reaches of rivers and streams, typically within 62 miles (100 km) of the ocean. Spawning sites are often near springs. They migrate almost immediately after hatching to estuarine and ocean waters, in contrast to other Pacific salmonids, which migrate to sea after months or even years in fresh water. This means that survival and growth in juvenile chum salmon depend less on freshwater conditions than on favorable estuarine and marine conditions. The species has the widest natural geographic and spawning distribution of any Pacific salmonid, primarily because its range extends farther along the shores of the Arctic Ocean than that of the other salmonids. Spawning populations are known from Korea and Japan and into the far north of Russia. Historically, in North America, chum salmon were distributed throughout the coastal regions of western Canada and the United States, as far south as Monterey, California. Presently, major spawning populations are found only as far south as Tillamook Bay on the northern Oregon coast.

Feeding Habits ~ Chum salmon feed on insects and marine invertebrates while in rivers. As adults, their diet consists of copepods (tiny crustaceans), small fish such as herring, mollusks, squid and tunicates (sea worms).    

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