Oncorhynchus keta

Identification Tips:

• Lack distinct black spots on back and tail
• Male spawners have large, irregular, vertical purple markings on flanks
• Female spawners have dark horizontal band on sides (see video)

• Small, usually <50 mm in fresh water • Par marks only on top half of body (above lateral line) • Usually have greenish tinge • Appear long and skinny

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Not at Risk (Yellow List)Not AssessedNoneG5, S5

Information Source: BC Conservation Data Centre: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/eswp/

Life History:

• Most spawn within 200 km of sea
• Spawn September to early January in Fraser Valley; earlier further north
• Often separate early and late runs in the same stream
• Fry migrate to sea soon after emergence (March - May in Fraser Valley)
• Migrating fry typically swim in schools of several hundred close edge of river
• Rear in estuary for several weeks
• At sea for 1 to to 5 winters (most runs 2-3)

• Fry feed on small aquatic invertebrates
• At sea maturing fish eat mostly invertebrates but some fish.


• Spawners strongly attracted to groundwater upwelling
• Adults occur throughout the north Pacific Ocean.
• Fry rear in upper estuary for several weeks, then into deeper water.
• Juveniles Swim northwards in narrow inshore band ito Alaska then return south off-shore; repeating route annually while at sea


British Columbia
• Coastal streams including Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii

• Korea to arctic circle
• Southern California to northern Alaska
East along Arctic Coast to Mackenzie River, North West Territories


• >1600 stocks in BC
• 32 have been lost (extirpated), 17 of these in Metro Vancouver
• 141 at risk of extirpation

Primary Information Source:
McPhail, J.D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta.