Did You Know?

- Coho and sockeye are found in freshwater year-round; coho in small coastal streams and sockeye in lakes. These fish are very susceptible to poor water quality, such as high temperatures and pollution.

- Salmon species have adapted to use virtually every part of every stream in the northwest.

Big rivers are used by pink salmon in the lower reaches, chinook in the mainstem and larger tributaries, coho in small tribs, and steelhead in the uppermost tributaries.

Small streams are used by chum in the lower reaches, coho next, and cutthroat in the headwaters.

- A moving fry is much easier to see than a motionless one. This is why salmon tend to spawn in parts of the stream that their offspring use for rearing; the emerging fry do not have to travel far to find rearing areas.

- The size of a salmon is usually related to its age. Pink salmon are the smallest fall-spawning salmon and are also the youngest, at two years. Chinook can live up to nine years, the longest, which is why some chinook can grow to over 100 pounds. Cutthroat, which live longer than pinks, are smaller because they live in less productive areas of the watershed.

- There is a sixth fall-spawning salmon, the masu, or cherry salmon, which is found only in Asia. This fish occupies the same niche that the sea-run cutthroat trout occupies in North America.

- Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species of fish; rainbow are the freshwater form, and steelhead the anadromous form.

- Steelhead and cutthroat trout were recently added to the salmon genus, Oncorhynchus, from the trout genus, Salmo. Also, the scientific name of steelhead changed from Salmo gairdneri to Oncorhynchus mykiss.

TERMS

Alevin - The lifestage of a salmonid between egg and fry. An alevin looks like a fish with a huge pot belly, which is the remaining egg sac. Alevin remain protected in the gravel riverbed, obtaining nutrition from the egg sac until they are large enough to fend for themselves in the stream.

Anadromous - Fish that live part or the majority of their lives in saltwater, but return to freshwater to spawn.

Emergence - The act of salmon fry leaving the gravel nest.

Fry - A juvenile salmonid that has absorbed its egg sac and is rearing in the stream; the stage of development between an alevin and a parr.

Kype - The hooked jaw many male salmon develop during spawning.

Parr - Also known as fingerling. A large juvenile salmonid, one between a fry and a smolt.

Smolt - A juvenile salmonid which has reared in-stream and is preparing to enter the ocean. Smolts exchange the spotted camouflage of the stream for the chrome of the ocean.

Substrate - The material which comprises a stream bottom

 

 

"This is a reproduction of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife document and is not the official document or regulations of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The accuracy of the reproduction cannot be guaranteed by WDFW."