Chinook (King) Salmon Feeding Habits
Young Chinook Salmon fry and smolts feed primarily on plankton but also eat terrestrial and aquatic insects, amphipods and crustaceans.
However after heading to the ocean, their diet changes. The ocean offers a greater abundance of food and variety as well.
Mature Chinook Salmon eat a different range of food to parr and fry. Mature adults feed primary on other fish species, avoiding smaller foods such as insects and small fish.
Smolts and young adults still consume large zooplakton, herring, pilchard, sandlance and other fishes, squid and crustaceans.
Note: The only time that they don’t feed is when they return to freshwater to spawn.
Chinook Salmon don’t Feed in Freshwater : True or False?
It’s not hard, if you take a moment to think, to see how this myth is entirely false. Many Chinook Salmon live their lives entirely in freshwater such as those living in the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States.
The myth came about because of the reproduction cycle. The element of truth behind this myth has to do with reproduction. Most salmon species don’t eat when they spawn. While some do strike at lures, it’s believed that they strike out of a sense of defending themselves or their territory.
New Zealand is the Largest Exporter of King Salmon
I came across this little fact the other day and it made me think for a while. Everyone knows that there are more sheep than people in New Zealand. In fact any mid-size city in North America has more people in it than the entire country of New Zealand.
While tiny, the country has stunning beauty. You can see this in some of the movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was filmed in the south. Ok, I ramble on .
New Zealand is the worlds largest producer and market supplier of the Chinook salmon, though they call it King Salmon. In 2009, New Zealand managed to export a staggering 5,088 tonnes of Chinook Salmon.
New Zealand accounts for approximately 1/2 of the global production of Chinook Salmon and approximately 1/2 of New Zealand’s production is exported. Japan is New Zealand’s largest export market. This is not surprising really knowing how important fish is in their diet.