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Recreational Salmon Fishing
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Salmon/Steelhead Species Information

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Chum (Dog) Salmon

  • Mouth is white with a white gum line
  • Well developed teeth
  •  No spots on tail or back
  • Calico markings (vertical bars) – faint on bright fish
  • Narrow caudal peduncle
  • White tip on anal fin

Jaw
The mouth is white and the gum line is white, but the tongue may be black. The lips are fleshy with well developed teeth in both jaws, but there are no teeth on the base of the tongue.

Chum (Dog) Salmon Jaw

Tail
The tail has no spots, but does have silver streaks covering about half of the fin. The caudal peduncle is narrow.

Chum (Dog) Salmon Tail

Chum (Dog) Salmon
Oncorhynchus keta

Other names: dog salmon, calico
Average size: 10-15 lbs, up to 33 lbs

Male chum salmon develop large "teeth" during spawning, which resemble canine teeth. This many explain the nickname dog salmon.

Spawning
Chum use small coastal streams and the lower reaches of larger rivers. They often use the same streams as coho, but coho tend to move further up the watershed and chum generally spawn closer to saltwater. This may be due to their larger size, which requires deeper water to swim in, or their jumping ability, which is inferior to coho. Either way, the result is a watershed divided between the two species, with all the niches filled.

Spawning Chum - Female
Spawning Chum - Male

Like coho, chum can be found in virtually every small coastal stream. In the fall, large numbers of chum can often be seen in the lower reaches of these streams, providing opportunities to view wild salmon in a natural environment.

Rearing
Chum fry do not rear in freshwater for more than a few days. Shortly after they emerge, chum fry move downstream to the estuary and rear there for several months before heading out to the open ocean.

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.