Contrary to earlier beliefs, many salmon from North American
rivers roam far at sea in the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.
The oceanic distribution of the salmon is dependent upon the species
and point of origin. Sockeye and chinook salmon from northwest Alaska,
for example, may migrate across the Bering Sea to areas close to
Kamchatka, U.S.S.R., and south of the Aleutian Islands into the North
Pacific Ocean; the sockeye also migrate eastward to the Gulf of
Alaska. Salmon such as the pink, chum, and coho from central and
southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State, migrate out
into the northeastern Pacific and Gulf of Alaska. Many steelhead trout
from Washington and Oregon are known to migrate far at sea to areas off
the Alaskan Peninsula. Some salmon migrate several thousand miles from
the time they leave the rivers as juveniles until they return as
adults. A chinook salmon tagged in the central Aleutian Islands and
recovered a year later in the Salmon River, Idaho, had traveled about
3,500 miles; a steelhead trout tagged south of Kiska Island (western
Aleutians) was recovered about six months and 2,200 miles later in the
Wynoochee River, Washington.
Where do salmon go in the ocean?
What is a kokanee, or silver trout?
It is the landlocked subspecies of a sockeye salmon. The
kokanee spends its entire life in fresh water and usually does not
attain the size of its sea-migrating cousin.
Do landlocked Pacific salmon die after spawning?
Yes. This phase of their life history is the same as their
How large do salmon get?
Weights of 100 pounds and slightly over have
been reported from European countries for the Atlantic salmon; the
record for the largest of the Pacific species, chinook, is 126 pounds
for a fish caught on commercial gear in Alaskan waters.|
What is the oldest known age of salmon and steelhead
(in completed years)?
- Pacific salmon: 7
- chinook: 7
- sockeye 7
- silver 4
- chum 6
- pink 2
- Atlantic salmon: 8
- Steelhead trout: 8
The steelhead is a rainbow trout that migrates to sea as a
juvenile and returns to fresh water as an adult to spawn. Unlike the
Pacific salmon, the steelhead trout does not always die following
spawning and may spawn more than once and return to the sea after each
Is a steelhead a salmon or a trout?
How old are salmon when they migrate from fresh water to the ocean?
That depends on species: |
- fall chinook, 3-4 months
- spring chinook, 12-16 months;
- Coho--12-24 months;
- Chum--a week to a month;
- Sockeye--12 months to 36 months;
week to a month.
Salmon images courtesy of "Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia, Office of Seafood and Office of Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug