THIS FISH

Sockeye Salmon

Fish_Species

Sockeye Salmon

Oncorhynchus nerka

Sockeye salmon are distinguished by their bright red and rich fillets, which is also what makes them prized by sushi chefs. These salmon hatch in fresh water, spend part of their life feeding in the ocean and then “run” back to their natal rivers to spawn and die. They range from British Columbia’s Fraser River to Alaska and the Russian Far East, often migrating thousands of miles in the North Pacific.

Sockeye have a bright blue or bluish green back and silver belly. Upon returning to fresh water, their skin turns bright red with light green heads. They average in size from 5 to 8 pounds (2.3 to 3.6 kg). They are a muscular fish with large glistening scales. The sockeye’s oily richness and firm flesh make it perfect for barbequing. 

Sockeye Salmon

One of the amazing sights of the world, the annual Sockeye run happens each summer when, drawn by natural forces, the salmon return to the rivers which gave them birth. They fight their way upstream against powerful currents, waterfalls and rapids, determined to spawn. Sockeye typically stick to rivers with a tributary to a lake. Once home, sockeye lay thousands of fertilized eggs in the gravel and promptly die, their carcasses providing food for bears, otters and eagles and returning nutrients to the rivers and rainforests for the next generation of salmon. Over months, a salmon embryo develops an eye, hatches into an alevin, which carries a yolk sack for food, and then becomes a free-swimming fry. Sockeye remain in lakes for one to two years, feeding and learning survival skills, before heading to the ocean. They spend one to four years feeding in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, and then mysteriously find their way home to spawn and continue the cycle of life.

Fishing Methods

Sockeye Salmon Food Info