Salmon in the Park!

The first few adult Chum salmon of 2015 were spotted in Piper’s Creek on Monday, Oct 26. By Dec 12, no more live fish were spotted by the Salmon Spawning Survey team.

All of us who manage the Imprint Pond System on Venema Creek were thrilled by the return of so many salmon. Though smaller than the 2014 fall return, it was amazing! We have hosted really excited students all the way from Alderwood Middle School to Viewlands Elementary School — all arriving to learn and have their breaths taken away by the spectacle of salmon returning to their home waters.

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2 male Chum salmon competing for the opportunity to spawn with a female (downstream, to the right) over a new nest (redd); Piper’s Creek, 10/26/15
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Female Chum salmon resting after just clearing a weir below the footbridge at the Imprint Pond. Venema Creek, 10/30/15
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Chum salmon surmounting the weir and swift current. Since the water flow is moderately high, the leap in this case is not very difficult. Piper’s Creek, 10/31/15
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Chum salmon resting after surmounting a waterfall. This is no small feat for Chum salmon because they cannot leap as high as other salmonids like Coho, Sockeye, and Chinook. Venema Creek, 10/31/15


In the video below, a female Chum salmon excavates a nest (redd) during courtship with a male salmon in preparation for eggs and sperm to be deposited:

 

In the video below, the dominant male chases off another male after much competition and then returns to the nest (redd). However, the female in the above video gave up on this nest and moved upstream during the nearly half hour that the two males fought. Notice early in the video that the dominant male grabs the caudal peduncle (narrow tail region before the tail fin) of the other male with its hooked jaws that have developed during the transition from adult ocean salmon to an adult spawning salmon.

Click here for other great photos and video!

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