The Chum Salmon

The Chum Salmon
Difficulty

Period

all year

Minimum size

no restriction

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The Chum Salmon belongs to the Salmonidae family. It can reach 100 cm for a maximum weight of 15 kg. It has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. The breeding period depends on the location. It can be fished all year round.
The body of chum salmon is deeper than most salmonidae species. Like other species in the Pacific, the anal fin has 12 to 20 rays, compared to a maximum of 12 in European species. The chum salmon has a silvery blue-green coloring with some indistinct spots in a darker shade and a rather paler belly. When they move in fresh water, their color changes to dark olive green and the belly color intensifies. When adults are about to spawn, they have purple streaks near the caudal peduncle, darker towards the tail. Breeding males generally develop an extended snout or kype, their lower fins turn white and their teeth are larger.

The Chum Salmon lifestyle

Young males eat mainly plankton and insects. Ocean chum feeds on herring, pilchard, sand lance, squid and crustaceans. Adults stop eating once they reach fresh water.
Most chum salmon spawn in minor streams and intertidal areas. Some chum salmon travel more than 3,200 km along the Yukon River. Fry migrate to the sea from March to July, almost immediately after becoming able to swim. They spend one to three years travelling very long distances in the ocean. They die about two weeks after returning to fresh water to spawn. They use the lower tributaries of the watershed and tend to build nests called "redds", which are little more than protected depressions in the gravel, on the shallow edges of the stream and at the end of deep pools. The female lays eggs in the nest, the male sprays milt on the eggs and the female covers the eggs with gravel. The female can lay up to 4000 eggs.

The Chum salmon habitat

Chum are the most abundant salmon in all Pacific. They come from the Pacific and Arctic oceans, the Bering Sea, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. In the south, they can be found in the Sacramento River in California and on Kyushu in the Sea of Japan. In the north, they are widespread from the Arctic Ocean to the Mackenzie River in Canada. To the west, it extends to the Lena River in Siberia. Although the Chum is largely distributed, it is mainly found in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Chum salmon move to estuaries (where the river meets the ocean) before leaving for the sea.

The Chum salmon angling

The best techniques to catch chum salmon is float fishing jugs.

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