Summer Chum Salmon
Chum: With its subtle flavor and low fat content, chum resembles a mild white fish in taste. Chum salmon flesh color varies from red to pink; the fish can be found everywhere from California's Sacramento River to Siberia's Lena River. It's regularly canned and exported. Alternatively called keta.
Length: Ranges from 20 to 35 inches Weight: 8 lb. average Identifying features: When the adult fish are in the ocean , they are silvery. These fish go through the same transformation that the coho salmon undergo when they are ready to spawn. Spawning males are dark olive green and develop reddish purpose vertical bars on their flanks; spawning females are dark olive green and have a reddish purple lateral band. Males' jaws become grotesquely hooked and have large canine teeth.
Life History: The freshwater part of the cycle of chum salmon lasts only a few months before they smolt and migrate downstream to the ocean. They can be found from California to Alaska, remaining in the ocean until they are 3-4 years old. Returning to their streams and rivers of origin, they spawn and die. Chum salmon have been very important to the Japanese fishery and their eggs are considered a delicacy. Native Americans called chum "dog salmon" because of their teeth and valued the meat because it could be preserved for a very long time by smoking it.
Chum are substantial fish, second only to Chinook in terms of size in the Oncorhynchus genus. They generally weigh 12 to 15 lbs, and measure 35 to 45 inches long.
As well as being big, Chum are quite abundant and well distributed throughout the Pacific Coast except for Oregon and California. They are particularly important in Japan, where they are a food staple and a large source of exports. The Japanese have been very successful with Chum enhancement programs.
Chum taste milder and softer than do most other varieties of Pacific salmon. In North America, they are less valued for sportfishing and eating than Chinook, Sockeye, and Coho.
Dog salmon, Calico salmon.
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