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WHERE ARE THE SALMON, WHEN? GENERALIZED LIFE HISTORY PATTERNS OF SALMON, STEELHEAD, AND TROUT IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST*
ADULTS RETURN SPAWNING EGGS IN YOUNG IN FRESHWATER YOUNG MIGRATE TIME IN TIME IN ADULT TO STREAMS LOCATION GRAVEL** STREAM HABITAT DOWNSTREAM ESTUARY OCEAN WEIGHT FROM OCEAN (avg)
COHO Oct-Jan coastal Oct-May 1+ years tributaries, Mar-Jul few days 2 years 5-20 lb streams, main stem (2nd year) to one (8) shallow side month tributaries channels, and slack water
CHUM Sep-Jan coastal Sep-Mar days-weeks little time shortly after 7-14 2.5-3 8-12 lb rivers and spent in young leave days years (10) streams, freshwater gravel lower reaches
CHINOOK main main days-mont 2-5 years stem--large stem--large hs and small and small rivers rivers Spring run Jan-July Jul-Jan 1+ year Mar-Jul (2nd 10-20 lb year) (15) Summer run Jun-mid Aug Sep-Nov 1+ year Spring (2nd 10-30 lb year) (14) Fall run Aug-Mar Sep-Mar 3-7 Apr-Jun (2nd 15-40 lb months year)
CUTTHROAT Jul-Dec tiny Dec-Jul 1-3 years tributaries Mar-Jun less 0.5-1 0.5-4 lb (Coastal-Sea tributaries (2 avg) (of 2nd-4th than a year (1) Run) of coastal yr) month streams
PINK Jul-Oct main stem of Aug-Jan days-weeks little time Dec-May few days 1.5 years 3-10 lb streams, spent in (4) tributaries, freshwater and lower reaches
SOCKEYE Jul-Aug streams, Aug-Apr 1-3 years lakes Apr-Jun few days 1-4 years 3-8 lb usually near (of 2nd-4th (6) lakes yr)
STEELHEAD*** tributaries tributaries less 1-4 years and small than a streams and month rivers Winter run Nov-Jun Feb-Jul 1-3 years Mar-Jun 5-28 lb (of 2nd-5th yr) (8) Spring run Feb-Jun Dec-May 1-2 years Spring & Summer 5-20 lb (of 3rd-4th yr) Summer run Jun-Oct (Columbia) Feb-Jun 1-2 years Mar-Jun (of 3rd-5th yr) 5-30 lb Apr-Nov (coastal) Feb-Jul 1-3 years Mar-Jun (of 2nd-5th yr) (8)
*There is much variation in life history patterns--each stream
system having fish with their own unique timing and patterns of
spawning, growth, and migration.
Ask a local biologist about the specific patterns of the fish in your streams and update this chart for your area.
**The eggs of most salmonids take 2-4 months to hatch depending on water temperature.
***Steelhead and cutthroat trout, unlike salmon, may not die after spawning. They can migrate back out to sea and return in later years to spawn again.
Adapted by Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Sources: Ocean Ecology of North Pacific Salmonids,
Bill Pearcy, University of Washington Press, 1992 Fisheries Handbook of Engineering Requirements and Biological Criteria,
Milo Bell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1986; Adopting A Stream; A Northwest Handbook, Steve Yates, Adopt-A Stream Foundation, 1988.