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What are the different kinds of salmon?




There are six primary types of fish that are commonly referred to as salmon. Five are native to the Pacific, and one, the Atlantic salmon, is native to the Atlantic. Salmon are closely related to trout and are in the family Salmonide. They all have small cycloid scales and an adipose fin. Their pelvic fins are abdominal, with a V-shaped skin flap at the base. They donít have any fin spines, and they have a prominent lateral line.

Pink Salmon range from Japan to Southern California. During the spawning phase, males develop a large humped back and hooked upper jaw. They get up to 12 pounds, but are usually between 3-5 pounds. They are a good eating fish, but have a poor shelf life, resulting in many of them being canned. The common nickname for Pink Salmon is humpy or humpies.

Chum Salmon range from Japan to San Diego and are found in the ocean and in coastal streams. When chum salmon go up river to spawn, they get blackish or dark olive above and develop reddish splotchy bars on a green background on their sides. They get up to 33 pounds, but are usually 10-15 pounds. Their common nickname is Dog Salmon.

Coho Salmon range from Korea to Baja. They are commonly called Silvers. They get up to 31 pounds, but are typically 6-12 pounds. They are very good eating. When spawning, the males turn bright red. They mature in 2-4 years, but most silvers mature at 3 years old. They are a very popular sport fish.

Sockeye Salmon are also called Reds. They get up to 15 pounds, but are usually 5-8 pounds. They range from the north part of Japan to Los Angeles. They are rare in streams south of Washington. They usually only spawn in streams that have lakes in their course. The young spend 1-3 years in the lake and adults spend 1-4 years at sea.

Chinook Salmon are also called Kings. It is the largest species of salmon, typically ranging from 10-20 pounds. They range from Japan to San Diego. Some fish in Alaska get over 100 pounds. Prior to the damming of the Elwah river in Washington state, it had a run of King salmon with fish over 100 pounds as well. They are the most valuable salmon per pound, and generally considered the best eating.

Atlantic Salmon live in the North Atlantic, and are more trout-like than other salmon. They do not die when they spawn. They are very popular as farmed salmon. Some Atlantic Salmon now live in the Pacific as a result of escaping from Canadian fish farms. They range in size from 8-12 pounds, and are sometimes as large as 30 pounds.




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