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Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon
Other Names: 
Dog Salmon
Scientific Name: 
Oncorhynchus keta

The name Chum Salmon comes from the Chinook Jargon term tzum, meaning "spotted" or "marked".

They have an ocean coloration of silvery blue green. When adults are near spawning, they have purple blotchy streaks near the caudal fin. Spawning males typically grow an elongated snout or kype and have enlarged teeth. Some researchers speculate these characteristics are used to compete for mates.

Fish Habits: 

Most Chum Salmon spawn in small streams and intertidal zones, . Some Chum travel more than 3,200 km (2,000 miles) 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 long distances in the ocean. These are the last salmon to spawn (November to January). They die about two weeks after they return to the freshwater to spawn. They utilize the lower tributaries of the watershed, tend to build redds in shallow edges of the watercourse and at the tail end of deep pools. The female lays eggs in the redd, the male sprays sperm on the eggs, and the female covers the eggs with gravel. The female can lay up to 4000 eggs.

Adult Size: 

Adult chum usually weigh from 4.4 to 6.6 kg, with an average length of 60 cm. The record for chum is 16 kg and 102 cm and was caught at Edie Pass in British Columbia.


The chum salmon is found in 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 Oregon in the United States.

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