Celebrating B.C. Wild Salmon

May 31, 2024

By: Meghan Rooney

Whether you appreciate wild salmon for their ecological value, their flavour, their epic migrations, or their beauty, we all have reasons we love wild salmon here in B.C.

To celebrate these iconic fish and in recognition of their importance to local culture, ecology and economy, wild salmon have their very own day, June 1. This year marks the fifth anniversary of B.C. Wild Salmon Day and to celebrate, we’re highlighting 10 facts about wild salmon.

spawning sockeye salmon

1. B.C. has five species of Pacific salmon: pink, chum, coho, chinook and sockeye.

2. Wild salmon are anadromous, meaning they spawn in freshwater but live most of their adult lives in saltwater. B.C. is also home to steelhead, which is an anadromous form of rainbow trout. 

An adult salmon navigating a small waterfall

3. Some populations of sockeye salmon have become land-locked, meaning they can no longer migrate to salt water. Sockeye populations that complete their life cycles in freshwater are called kokanee. 

4. Pink salmon are the most abundant species of salmon in B.C. They also have the shortest life span, at just two years compared to chinook salmon, which can live up to seven years. 

5. The largest chinook salmon caught by a sports fisherman was 44 kg (97 lbs) and was caught in Alaska’s Kenai River in 1985.

6. Salmon have small bones in their ears called otoliths, which have rings of growth, like those of a tree. These bones can be studied to learn about a fish’s origins as well as its growth and migration timing.

7. Pink salmon are nicknamed humpies because spawning males develop a large hump on their backs.

8. Pacific salmon are semelparous, meaning they only reproduce once in their lifetimes. Steelhead trout can be iteroparous, meaning they can spawn multiple times.

9. Jack salmon is a term for male salmon that return to spawn a year ahead of other male salmon born in the same year. These jacks are much smaller than other spawning males.

10. B.C.’s largest sockeye run is the Adams River, which has a dominant run every four years. The next dominant year will be 2026.

Do you have a favourite fact about wild salmon? Pop it in the comments below! 

Photo Credit: Tavish Campbell

A juvenile salmon

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Celebrating B.C. Wild Salmon

May 31, 2024

By: Meghan Rooney

Whether you appreciate wild salmon for their ecological value, their flavour, their epic migrations, or their beauty, we all have reasons we love wild salmon here in B.C.

To celebrate these iconic fish and in recognition of their importance to local culture, ecology and economy, wild salmon have their very own day, June 1. This year marks the fifth anniversary of B.C. Wild Salmon Day and to celebrate, we’re highlighting 10 facts about wild salmon.

spawning sockeye salmon

1. B.C. has five species of Pacific salmon: pink, chum, coho, chinook and sockeye.

2. Wild salmon are anadromous, meaning they spawn in freshwater but live most of their adult lives in saltwater. B.C. is also home to steelhead, which is an anadromous form of rainbow trout. 

An adult salmon navigating a small waterfall

3. Some populations of sockeye salmon have become land-locked, meaning they can no longer migrate to salt water. Sockeye populations that complete their life cycles in freshwater are called kokanee. 

4. Pink salmon are the most abundant species of salmon in B.C. They also have the shortest life span, at just two years compared to chinook salmon, which can live up to seven years. 

5. The largest chinook salmon caught by a sports fisherman was 44 kg (97 lbs) and was caught in Alaska’s Kenai River in 1985.

6. Salmon have small bones in their ears called otoliths, which have rings of growth, like those of a tree. These bones can be studied to learn about a fish’s origins as well as its growth and migration timing.

7. Pink salmon are nicknamed humpies because spawning males develop a large hump on their backs.

8. Pacific salmon are semelparous, meaning they only reproduce once in their lifetimes. Steelhead trout can be iteroparous, meaning they can spawn multiple times.

9. Jack salmon is a term for male salmon that return to spawn a year ahead of other male salmon born in the same year. These jacks are much smaller than other spawning males.

10. B.C.’s largest sockeye run is the Adams River, which has a dominant run every four years. The next dominant year will be 2026.

Do you have a favourite fact about wild salmon? Pop it in the comments below! 

Photo Credit: Tavish Campbell

A juvenile salmon

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