Chum Salmon

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Chum Salmon

Species Information

Scientific Name:Oncorhynchus keta
Common Names:Chum Salmon, calico salmon, dog salmon, keta salmon
Environment:River, Stream, Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:41-55°F (5-13°C)

About Chum Salmon

The chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is a Pacific salmon, and may also be known as dog salmon or keta salmon, and is often marketed under the name silverbrite salmon. The name chum salmon comes from the Chinook Jargon term tzum, meaning "spotted" or "marked", while keta in the scientific name comes from the Evenki language of Eastern Siberia via Russian.

The body of the chum salmon is deeper than most salmonid species. In common with other species found in the Pacific, the anal fin has 12 to 20 rays, compared with a maximum of 12 in European species. Chum have an ocean coloration of silvery blue green with some indistinct spotting in a darker shade, and a rather paler belly. When they move into fresh water the color changes to dark olive green and the belly color deepens. When adults are near spawning, they have purple blotchy streaks near the caudal peduncle, darker towards the tail. Spawning males typically grow an elongated snout or kype, their lower fins become tipped with white and they have enlarged teeth. Some researchers speculate these characteristics are used to compete for mates.

Most chum salmon spawn in small streams and intertidal zones. Some chum travel more than 3,200 km (2,000 mi) up the Yukon River. Chum fry migrate out to sea from March through July, almost immediately after becoming free swimmers. They spend one to three years traveling very long distances in the ocean. These are the last salmon to spawn (November to January) in some regions. In Alaska they are the first to spawn in June and August and are then followed by pink and coho salmon. They die about two weeks after they return to the freshwater to spawn. They utilize the lower tributaries of the watershed, tend to build nests called redds, really little more than protected depressions in the gravel, in shallow edges of the watercourse and at the tail end of deep pools. The female lays eggs in the redd, the male sprays milt on the eggs, and the female covers the eggs with gravel. The female can lay up to 4000 eggs.

Chum live for an average of 3 to 5 years, and chum in Alaska mature at the age of 5 years.

Chum salmon have the largest natural range of any Pacific salmon, and undergo the longest migrations within the genus Oncorhynchus, far up the Yukon River and deep into the Amur River basin in Asia. In lesser numbers they migrate thousands of kilometres up the Mackenzie River. Chum are found around the north Pacific, in the waters of Korea, Japan, and the Okhotsk and Bering seas (Kamchatka, Chukotka, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Khabarovsk Krai, Primorsky Krai), British Columbia in Canada, and from Alaska to California in the United States. In the Arctic Ocean they are found in limited numbers from the Laptev Sea to the Beaufort Sea. In North America chum salmon spawn from the Mackenzie River in the Arctic to as far south as Tillamook Bay, Oregon, although they were also reported in the San Lorenzo River near Santa Cruz, California in 1915 and the Sacramento River in northern California in the 1950s. In fall 2017 a half dozen chum salmon were counted in Lagunitas Creek about 25 miles (40 km) north of San Francisco, California.

In the open ocean chum salmon stay fairly high on the water column, rarely diving below 50 meters. Their typical swimming depths are 13 meters from the surface during the day, and 5 meters during the night.

Juvenile chum eat zooplankton and insects. Recent studies show that they also eat comb jellies. As adults, they eat smaller fish.

Chum Salmon Fishing

World Record:15.87 kg (35 lb 0 oz) Edye Pass, British Columbia, Canada 11-Jul-1995
# Fish Caught:1329099 documented in database.
Earliest Record:1/1/1880 12:00:00 AM and located at 66.65000, -161.95000.
Latest Record:11/16/2023 2:21:04 PM and located at 60.47705, -151.06438.
Common Techniques:Casting, Fly, Trolling
Popular Lure Types:Flies, Spoons, Topwater, Trolling
Fishing Spots:770 Chum Salmon fishing spots.


Latest Chum Salmon Fishing Reports and Spots

Silver Salmon – The Perfect Salmon? - 11/16/2023 2:21:04 PM

  When it comes to salmon fishing everyone has their favorite species. Some prefer king salmon for their raw power and elusiveness some prefer (View)

Fishing Report for Chilliwack to Vancouver – October 27 2023 - 10/26/2023 1:58:03 PM

We’ve finally received some rains and the local rivers have bumped up and are currently fishing well. Here’s what’s happening on the fishing sce (View)

Arctic Char - 5/28/2023 3:30:49 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:48 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:47 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:46 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:46 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:44 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:43 AM

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Chum Salmon - 5/28/2023 3:30:42 AM

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