Name: Big Red
Common name: Sockeye Salmon
Scientific name: Oncorhynchus Nerka
Photo by: David Hall
I would like to meet all these other sockeye in the photo above to party with when it’s time to spawn.
Who and what I would like to avoid:
I would really like to avoid many things before I spawn. Stating the top of the list is people. Yes Humans and their boats with the fishing poles and nets. Another big one I want to avoid is eagles, they tend to try and grab me right out of the water. Bears are also a huge stay away from. They like to chase me down when I’m near shore or swimming up a river. Don’t even get me started on seal, sea lion and killer whales. They swim in the ocean with me and never leave me alone when given the chance. The other thing I like to avoid is fox’s. They like to snatch us up out of rivers also if they are hungry enough.
This includes the school of fish I tend to stick with while swimming around waiting to go up river to spawn. Too many friends to name them all sorry.
General: I love swimming the West coast line with my school of friends, spending time avoiding my enemy’s and trying to survive. Swimming around eating Zooplankton, small crustaceans and small fish is another one of my favorite things to do. Another big one is swimming back up North to Alaska. This is one of my favorite things to do, well besides trying to avoid the humans and there nets.
Videos: There is a great video of a bunch of my friends getting ready to spawn in in McDonald Lake here in Alaska. The link is right below if you would like to see.
Books: There are so many books out there about my species and even some that are fiction, but I don’t have a favorite. If you want to read a book about me, you can go to your local library, or even go to Fish and Game and they even have books and information on me.
Fish to look up to: Although I speak highly of myself and my species, the King salmon is the fish I look up to. They get so much bigger than we do and I feel that this may scare some predators away if I was bigger. They also have the word King in their name. Who wouldn’t want that in their name? Makes anyone sound like a dominant species if you ask me. Although I think us sockeye are a much more beautiful color with our greens, blues, and reds.
Looks like this King salmon is not one I would like to look up to though, seeing how it was caught by this human.
Life so far:
We sockeye salmon are anadromous, living in the ocean but entering fresh water to spawn. We spend one to four years in fresh water and one to three years in the ocean. When it comes to spawning we tend to try and spawn if we are ready during the summer months, between June and July. Even through August we are still roaming around looking for home.
Dating: Looking for any female that is willing to spawn with me. I don’t have a preference just any one would do.
Hometown: My hometown is really the place I was born, seeing how I will one day return there to spawn myself. But while I am in the ocean I tend to swim up and down the West Coast of the United States, since I am an Alaskan Sockeye. I can also be found over near Asia and on the up end of Alaska as well.
Body type: I can measure anywhere from 18 to 31 inches in length and can weigh 4-15 pounds. Well at least after I grow up that is. Us sea going sockeye have iridescent silver flanks, a white belly and a metallic green-blue top, giving us another name to go by, which is “blueback’. As we get ready to spawn we turn brilliant red and our heads get a green coloring to it. This is why we are also called “Red’ salmon. We males develop a humped back and a hooked jaw filled with tiny, sharp, visible teeth. It still confuses me why the females even find us attractive in this stage. As juveniles, we have dark, oval par marks on our sides. These par marks are short-less than the diameter of the eye-and rarely extend below the lateral line.
Family: My parents died before I was born, so I don’t know them. When I am ready to spawn I will go up stream and scout an area that looks great for my future children. The females will be right behind us and will let us males know when they are about to lay their eggs by gliding there anal fin to the gravel. The dominant males will breed with the females by us both releasing our gametes or eggs and sperm above the spot the female dug up. I won’t know my kids or my kid’s mother for very long, but I still consider them family none the less.