Chum Salmon Reproduction
Most Chum Salmon spawn in small streams and rivers as well as intertidal zones.
Some Chum Salmon travel more than 3,200 km/2,000 miles up the Yukon River and Mackenzie River. However most don’t travel more than about 100 miles/161 km.
Chum Salmon fry migrate out to sea from March through July, about two months after hatching. They spend one to three years traveling very long distances in the open ocean and can be very hard to locate.
Chum Salmon that utilize the lower end of the river tributaries of their watershed. They tend to build nests called redds, which are little more than protected depressions in the gravel, in shallow edges of the watercourse and at the tail end of deep pools.
Japan Chum Salmon Migration
In Japan, Chum Salmon migrate to the sea during their juvenile stage, little more than several months old as they do in every part of their distribution.
Many angler thought that the Japanese Chum Salmon juveniles migrate east along the sub-arctic boundary but recent studies have shown this to be false. The Japanese Chum Salmon juveniles migrate to the Okhotsk Sea.
Alaska Chum Salmon Migration
In Alaska, Chum salmon return to spawn at between 3 and 6 years of age, which is older than those Chum Salmon found in the southern parts of their distribution.
Chum Salmon eggs in interior Alaska hatch while rivers and streams are still ice covered. When spring arrives, the Chum Salmon fry begin migration to the sea, which occurs shortly after they hatch.
The Chum Salmon Fry stay in river estuaries for several months before moving into the open ocean in the fall and winter of their first year.
Most Alaskan Chum Salmon stay at sea for two to five years. As they near spawning age, chum salmon start moving toward their home streams. However, research has shown that they can take up to six years before spawning.
Chum Salmon Eggs
The female Chum Salmon lays eggs in the redd while the male sprays sperm over them. The femal then covers the eggs with gravel. Total egg production can reach 4000 eggs, but most deposits consist of between 2500 and 3000 eggs.