Chum Salmon aka Dog Salmon

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Game Fish Species of British Columbia

Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon

Oncorhynchus keta or Chum, Dog Salmon, Keta

DESCRIPTION - A mature adult chum salmon is usually about 25 inches in length and 10 pounds in weight. The snout is bluntly pointed but greatly extended, compressed and turned down in breeding males; the lower jaw is enlarged and turned up at the tip making it impossible to close this sharp toothed mouth. Breeding male chums also have a slight hump before the dorsal fin and notice a distinct color change. A steel-blue and the back and upper sides with fine black speckles turning into a silver-white on the belly characterize the chum.

DISTRIBUTION - Vhum Salmon are found in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and Okhotsk and Bering Seas.

BIOLOGY - The spawning chum salmon migrate to the rivers anywhere from July (in northern British Columbia) to early January (in southern B.C.) They rarely penetrate a river more than 100 miles and often spawn in tidal areas showing a lesser ability to surmount obstacles than other species. An average female will lay 2400- 3100 eggs before dying a few days later. Hatching usually occurs from late December to late February. They remain in the gravel until late April to early May when they migrate to the sea. Food intake includes diatoms, dipterous insects, fish larvae, fish and squid. Adults in fresh water do not take food. A peculiarity is due to the two year life span, the spawn of any given "stock" is either and odd or even year. For example, the Fraser River has a predominantly odd year cycle and the Queen Charlottes have an even year cycle.

RELATION TO MAN - Chum salmon have always been of particular importance to native people as food for themselves and their dogs. This white fleshed fish is caught commercially to be sold fresh, frozen, dry salted or smoked. They are now considered a sport fish and are being sought after by North American anglers.

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Chum Salmon aka Dog Salmon