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Fish of KamchatkaPacific salmon

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye SalmonSockeye salmon’s fin ends are colored almost like the body. The meat is brightly red unlike the rosy meat of other salmons. As for the size and form of the body, sockeye salmon is similar to dog salmon. These species may be distinguished by the number of gill rakers: dog salmon has 19-25 ones, while sockeye salmon – more than 30. There is an easy way to tell these two species: just caught dog salmon can be lifted if taken by the rudder, sockeye salmon has soft fin rays helping it to slip out.  Mating dress of this salmon species is scarlet.
The most numerous stocks of sockeye salmon are observed near western and eastern Kamchatka. A landlocked form developed from the migrating form in the isolated lakes which appeared as a result of volcanic processes. Kamchatka landlocked sockeye salmon concentrates in the Lake Kronotskoye. It may reach the length of 28 cm; the age of life is 6 years. Migrating sockeye salmon runs up the rivers having or used to have lakes in their basins. The smallest populations of sockeye salmon are met in the Kamchatka River, Lake Kurilskoye and Ozernaya River. Its length is up to 84 cm, average length of specimens registered in the Lake Azabachye – 50-71 cm, the weigh – 1.5-4.1 kg, in Paratunskiye Lakes – 49-54 cm, 1.5-1.9 kg. They develop dwarf forms never migrating to the sea which reach pubescence in fresh water and participate in reproduction along with the migrating red fish.
In terms of run and spawning, sockeye salmon is divided into summer and autumn forms. The former spawns in July-August in lake and rive spawning places, the latter – in August-October (in some lakes till January) mainly on lake littorals. The run period lasts from early May till September. Homing instinct is well developed: most of the fish return not only to the same lake but o the same spawning place where they hatched.
Spawning places are located on lake littorals (depth 1-1.5 m), in well springs, sleeves and mainstreams of rivers as well as on reaches with ground water outflow. Females wash out silt and fine sand to build nests on pebble ground.
Roe development period lasts from 50 to 150 days depending on the temperature; larvae wiggle inside until the sac is absorbed. The tiny fish move down the river together with underyearlings and one-year-olds, sometimes even with 3- or 4-year-olds. They spend from 1 to 4 years in the sea. After that they disseminate in the ocean and accumulate to the south of Aleut Isles up to 40º north latitude between winter isotherms 1 and 6ºС.