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Chapter 5 -- Anadromous Salmonids and Their Habitats (continued)

Life History Patterns of Anadromous Salmonids (continued)

Chum Salmon

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) are sporadically present in low numbers in the lower tributaries of the Smith. Chum have been observed spawning in Mill Creek during the first three weeks of December. They were not observed every year (Table 36, Waldvogel 1985, 1988). Behavior of chum salmon in other rivers suggests that they spawn in the lower river and sometimes in the tidal zone. The adult spawners may be two to five years old. Following emergence, chum reside in freshwater only a few weeks and migrate to the ocean at lengths of 35-61 mm (1.4-2.4 inches) (Salo 1991, Meehan and Bjornn 1991). Because the Smith River is on the southern edge of the range of chum salmon, it is likely that this population is sensitive to many variables. Even when habitat conditions are excellent, the population of chum salmon in the Smith River watershed may remain small and highly variable.


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