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Fish of Kamchatka's rivers

Salmo penshinensis, steelhead

Physiology of steelhead is practically unstudied. It enters many rivers of western Kamchatka – from Bolshaya to Tiguil River. It is still unclear, whether steelhead salmon is a migrating form of the rainbow trout or these two are different (though close) species. Kamchatka steelhead salmon runs up the rivers in autumn; it stays in river holes throughout winter almost without feeding. Spawning takes place in early June. After laying eggs many specimens survive and return to the sea for feeding – steelhead salmon can shed eggs up to 5 times during lifetime. It may grow up to 96 cm6 the weight usually varies between 4 and 10 kg. The main external features include black round spots on the head and body, a strong caudal peduncle. The jaw of a spawned fish outgrows to form a “hook”, while the upper jaw is divided by a notch. A spawning fish is darker, than usual, coming into dark spots; a pink stripe appears on its sides – the rainbow trout has the same mating dress.