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Salmon Species

Chinook SalmonCoho Salmon
ChinookCoho

Sockeye SalmonPink SalmonChum Salmon
SockeyePinkChum

All five types of Pacific salmon - Chinook, Coho, Pink, Sockeye and Chum have similar physical characteristics. They are fast, free-swimming, torpedo shaped predators that live in the upper and mid-level of the ocean. Their eyes, noses and mouths are located in the front of their heads. The placement of the mouth is a key to their feeding habits, which involves cruising through the water looking for plankton or baitfish. So different from a halibut, since a halibut's whole body has evolved to life right on the bottom.
 
Cormorant PointGoldstream Chinook
Cormorant Point success!Goldstream Chinook.
 
The life cycle for all Pacific salmon are basically the same. They all breed in freshwater, spend a portion of their lives in saltwater, then return to their home rivers to spawn, at which time almost all die. One exemption can be made concerning steelhead. Steelhead have the ability to spawn multiple times and not die. When spawning, many males are bigger than the females. You would think the females would be bigger with all the eggs inside them, but not so. I guess the males have to be bigger to do all the fighting with other males on the spawning beds.
 
Spawned out salmon
A spawned out salmon.
 
After all the spawning is done and a couple months go by, the life cycle starts anew with the fry hatching from the gravel beds. They spend a certain period as fry in their home streams and rivers, then as smolts they make their way out to the open ocean for the maturing stage of their lives. Salmon have incredible powers of smell, and, in returning to their home rivers, can tell the exact section of river they were born from. Thus ends my quick salmon lesson.

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