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Chum Salmon - Oncorhynchus keta
Chum SalmonCommon names: Chum, dog fish, depending on where you catch them going from the ocean in Silver-bright, semi-bright, dark

Description: They weigh from 3 to 10 kilograms and are the large salmon that spawn in the lower reaches of most coastal streams and rivers in the summer and fall. Spawning chum are readily recognized by the dark horizontal stripe running down their sides, the canine-like teeth of the large males and the checkerboard or calico colouration. Like the young of pink salmon, the fry of chum salmon do not spend any time in freshwater, leaving immediately for the ocean where they spend from two to seven years and range far out into the open ocean. Adults return along coastal routes to their natal rivers to spawn in B.C., chum spawn in more than 880 moderate-sized streams, and are the latest of the five salmon species to enter southern streams and rivers. Females are less flamboyantly colored and lack the extreme dentition of the males. Ocean stage chum salmon are metallic greenish-blue along the back with black speckles. They closely resemble both sockeye and coho salmon at this stage. As chum salmon enter fresh water, their color and appearance changes dramatically. Both sexes develop a "tiger stripe" pattern of bold red and black stripes.

Ecology: Habitat
Chum salmon spawn in the lowermost reaches of rivers and streams, typically within 100 km of the ocean. 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. Range: Chum salmon are the most widely distributed of the Pacific salmon. In North America, chum are found from Monterey California to east of the Mackenzie River on the Beaufort Sea, and may have made up 50 per cent of the total biomass of all species of Pacific salmon combined.

Management: Management practices for chum salmon follow the same principles of conservation and sustainability described in the overview of wild Pacific salmon management in Canada. Stock assessment data essential for good fisheries management fall into three categories:

* Pre-season forecasts to identify longer-term trends in stock abundance, key conservation concerns and outlooks for the future;
* In-season stock assessment and re-forecasting of run sizes to adjust pre-season forecasts based on actual observations of abundance; and
* Post-season evaluations to determine estimates of total run size, harvest rates, catches, fishing effort, escapement and other factors.


How Can You Tell the Difference?

Anglers should use three or more distinguishing characteristics to properly identify all salmon.

Description of chum salmon in marine phase

A white tip on the anal fin usually identifies a chum salmon. Resembling sockeye, but larger, chum have silvery sides and faint grid-like bars as they near spawning streams. The tail base is narrow and there is silver in the tail. They live three to five years and weigh about 4.5 kg to 6.5 kg, but they have been known to reach as much as 15 kg.



Each chum salmon you keep must be at least 30 cm long.

Description of chum salmon in freshwater phase

Maturing chum in freshwater show reddish purple streaks or bars and large pale blotches on a pale background, and white on the tips of pelvic and anal fins. They have a greenish tinge on their dorsal surface (back), and no dark spots on caudal fin.
Chum Salmon Mouth

The lips are fleshy with well- developed teeth in both jaws, but there are no teeth on the base of the tongue.
Chum Salmon Tail

The tail is slightly forked and has silver streaks covering about half of the fin. The caudal peduncle or wrist is slender.






Photos courtesy of the DFO, used with Permission

other photos from the AnglingBC.com gallery.


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10. Chum Salmon Salmon Mar 2007
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