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What Fish Dies After Spawning


Baikal white grayling is a subspecies of Siberian grayling. In the lake, this Baikal fish lives almost near the coast, most often found in the eastern part, where the depth does not exceed thirty meters. For spawning, grayling prefers shallows with a pebble-sandy bottom or rifts. Spawning begins in late April and continues until mid-May. At this time, the water temperature ranges from 7.5 to 14.6 ° C.

fish, dies, spawning

During the mating season, the grayling change color: the body of the males acquires a dark gray color with a metallic sheen. Above the pelvic fins, copper-red spots appear on the dorsal fin. The upper edge of the dorsal fin is decorated with a dark red border. The development of eggs of this species lasts about seventeen days.


Despite the interesting features of all cottoid fish, the golomyanka should be recognized as the most unique of them. This is the largest population in the lake. Its total biomass is almost twice that of all other fish that live in Lake Baikal. It is more than one hundred and fifty thousand tons. This is a viviparous fish that does not spawn: live fry are born to it.

Baikal is home to two species of this fish. large and small. Both of them are found at different depths, right down to the very bottom. Golomyanka, in addition to zooplankton, also eat their offspring. And even despite this, the annual growth of this fish is about one hundred and fifty thousand tons. In other words, within one year, it renews the population completely.

It is impossible to organize industrial catching for golomyanka, since it is dispersed over long distances and is food for the Baikal seal and omul. The largest representatives of the species reach 25 cm in length (females), males. 15 cm.

Weed fish

Well-known in Siberia fish “came” along the big and small rivers: perches and pikes, ides and daces, sorogs and crucians, however, deep Baikal did not accept them, since there are different depths, different food, different temperatures. These fish took root in the litter. on the shallow bays of Baikal, and taimen and lenoks got into the lake along the large tributaries of Lake Baikal and can be found at river mouths.

Inhabitants of the freshwater depths

About twenty million years ago, cottoid fish began to infiltrate rivers, trying to adapt to freshwater life. They got to Baikal along the rivers. First, they settled in shallow water, then in deep-water areas, as well as in the water column. Today, 14 species of cottoid fish live in the rivers and lakes of Eurasia, including the islands of Japan, and there are 33 species of them in Lake Baikal.

Most (84%) cottoid fish of Lake Baikal live on the bottom. Often they just “sit” on the ground. You can even touch them with your hand, and only in this case they “jump back” forty to eighty centimeters and freeze again, sinking to the ground.

Some species of bottom fish prefer to bury themselves in sand or silt so that only round eyes can be seen above the surface of the ground. Often these fish are found under stones (they are often therefore called sculpting), in holes, in crevices. In 1977, researchers from the scientific submarine “Pisis” saw a red broadhead at a depth of 800 m. She dug a hole in the silt, into which she climbed, put only her head forward, and attacked the amphipod crustaceans that swam past her shelter.

Where is sturgeon common?

The sturgeon is most widespread in the delta of the Selenga River, in the bays of Lake Baikal. It lives at depths of up to fifty meters. In autumn, during strong winds, it can go to a depth of 150 meters. Winters at the mouths of large rivers, in holes. In a year, this fish grows on average 5-7 cm. An adult reaches a meter or more in length with a weight of 100 kg. Baikal sturgeon is listed in the Red Data Books of the Russian Federation and Buryatia as a rare species.


Baikal fish omul is represented in the lake by five populations:

  • Ambassador;
  • Selenginskaya;
  • Chivyrkuiskaya;
  • North Baikal;
  • Barguzinskaya.

Even before reaching the lake, you will meet the most famous and delicious representative of the omul. North Baikal. It can be seen in all retail outlets in cities, at railway stations, in small villages. On the way, the locals will offer you dried and salted omul, and when you get to the lake you can see freshly caught omul.

Baikal omul is a fish belonging to the whitefish genus, the Salmon family. Once a huge and extremely popular inhabitant of Lake Baikal, today it has significantly decreased in size, and, unfortunately, is on the verge of extinction. The length of his body today does not exceed fifty centimeters and weighs three kilograms.

Cold smoked omul is the most popular among tourists, as well as among locals. This is truly a real delicacy, not only in our country, but also abroad. This valuable Baikal fish, the meat of which has a very special taste, which cannot be confused with another. It is very tender and greasy. When cooked correctly, it has an unusual flavor, for which it is appreciated. Most tourists who have tasted this perfection for the first time claim that they have never eaten anything more delicious in their lives.

Baikal fish: list, description

The largest freshwater lake on our planet is Baikal. Its depth reaches 1637 meters, and the age of this unique reservoir, according to scientists, is more than twenty-five million years.

Among the researchers of the lake there is a hypothesis that Baikal is the future ocean: it has no signs of aging, its shores are constantly expanding. The only river flowing out of Lake Baikal is the Angara, the length of which. 1779 kilometers. The source of the Angara is the widest (863 m) and largest on Earth.

Baikal fish is known not only in Siberia, its fame has long crossed the borders of our country. There are legends about her taste. Dried or smoked omul is a traditional gift that Siberians bring to their friends in many cities of Russia. Having once tasted Baikal fish dishes, most travelers plan their next trip to Baikal to enjoy the magnificent nature again and feel the taste of smoked whitefish, fried grayling and the aroma of smoked omul and dried golomyanka.

Baikal nature reserve

To preserve the unique nature of Lake Baikal, a biosphere reserve was founded here in 1969, which is located on the eastern shore of the lake. It occupies a huge territory. 167,871 hectares of the Khamar-Daban mountain range. The boundaries of the Baikal reserve are along the Mishikha and Vydrinnaya rivers. The mountains surrounding Lake Baikal are a natural barrier from air currents carrying intense precipitation.

Hundreds of unique species of flora and fauna are preserved in the reserve. The Baikal Reserve is famous for its rare representatives of the underwater world. There are twelve species of fish in it. These are mainly lenok, taimen and grayling. These species enter rivers during spawning, and at the end of summer they return to Baikal, where they winter.

Security measures

This Baikal fish, due to too intensive fishing, dramatically reduces the number of populations. Over the past fifty years, about forty thousand centners of this fish have been caught. For this reason, in 1982, a special program for catching omul was developed and adopted, which made it possible to calculate the stocks, as well as develop methods of rational catching. In recent years, omul is increasingly being incubated. We hope that thanks to conservation activities, this Baikal fish, the photo of which you can see below, will be preserved and its population will increase.

Coho salmon, chinook salmon

The fish has white scales. Possesses very tasty meat. In the fishery, it is not very popular due to the small number of individuals.

Characteristics of the salmon family

The salmon family consists of individuals with a long body covered with scales. Their head is naked, no mustache. The main distinguishing feature of these fish is the presence of an adipose fin, which has no stripes. There is also a fin on the back. Eyes have light eyelids.

There are several types of salmonids, but they all have one distinguishing feature, they can change their appearance. It depends on the habitat and life span. Males of salmon fish are highly susceptible to changes, they receive a kind of marriage dress. Their color turns from gray to mottled, with areas of dark, scarlet or bright crimson. The skin becomes stiffer due to the fact that the scales grow into it. The jaws become crooked, the teeth grow. A hump appears on the back.

Breeding features

In northern latitudes, fish go to spawn in the second half of September. This phenomenon is observed at temperature marks not lower than zero. Salmon spawn in the southern regions from October to January. The water temperature is in the range of 3-13 degrees Celsius. Caviar is deposited in special depressions at the bottom of the reservoir, which the fish equips on its own. After that, the female sprinkles them with a mixture of sand and pebbles.

The behavior of salmonids changes during spawning: they become more active, they can jump out of the water to an impressive height. However, this behavior is rarely observed immediately before the start of spawning. As soon as it ends, the fish quickly loses weight. Not all individuals survive. They go deep into lakes or sea waters, but can remain in the river until spring.

Salmon do not go too far from the site where they laid eggs. In spring, young individuals appear that resemble pied trout in their appearance. Young animals can spend from 1 to 5 years in the river. During this period, their body length reaches 18 cm. By this time, the characteristic spots disappear, and the color acquires a beautiful silvery hue. Enhanced nutrition with active weight gain in salmon occurs in lakes and seas.

During spawning, they become most active

Appearance and varieties

Salmon body length depends on its species. For example, whitefish grow only a few centimeters, and there are species that grow up to 2 meters. The weight of salmon, chinook salmon and taimen can reach 70 kilograms. Salmon also live in different ways. Some live only a few years, others live up to 15 years.

Almost all salmon have a long body that is laterally compressed. It is covered with easily falling, either round or with a comb-like edge of cycloid scales. Salmon differ from herring in the presence of a lateral line. The pelvic fins are located in the middle of the belly and have more than 6 rays. The pectoral fins have no rays and are low-seated.

The mouth of the fish is bordered by the maxillary and premaxillary bones. Most salmon species have clear eyelids on their eyes. Salmon have an incompletely ossified skeleton: the skull is mostly cartilage. The lateral processes do not grow to the vertebrae. Depending on external conditions, as well as during the spawning period, salmon changes both color and shape of their body.

The entire huge family of salmonids includes the following types of fish:


A very large salmon species. It grows up to 1.5 meters in length and gains more than 40 kilograms in weight. It is considered one of the best delicacies. The people call it the royal fish.

Pink salmon

Pink salmon grows up to 60 centimeters in length and is silvery. Inhabits almost the entire northern part of the globe.


Salmon spends the main part of their life in the sea, where they actively feed. The fish menu includes herring, gerbil, and crustaceans. Leaving for spawning in rivers and lakes, salmon completely cease to feed. Therefore, during the spawning period, the meat loses its taste, turns pale and coarse.

Young individuals, as a rule, eat zooplankton, crustaceans, insects and their larvae, and will not miss insects that have fallen into the water. He also loves to feast on vendace and smelt. To search for accumulations of this delicacy, salmon constantly moves through the reservoir. The salmon menu is directly dependent on the season, which indicates the variability of food priorities. Other types of fish, as prey, salmon are of little interest and, as a rule, this food fades into the background.


Ishkhan is a resident of Lake Sevan. It is considered one of the most valuable gourmet fish. Reaches in weight up to 15 kilograms.

Chum salmon is a Far Eastern salmon. Widely distributed in the Pacific Ocean. It is a popular fishing destination. Has very large caviar over 8 millimeters in diameter.

Classification of varieties

Salmon include a large number of different fish, united by separate characteristics and differing. The family is represented by 3 subspecies:

  • Whitefish. Includes 3 kinds.
  • Actually salmon. Combines 7 genera.
  • Grayling. Includes 1 genus.

In size, all members of the family have a large or medium body. Many are predators, but at the same time, representatives with a mixed type of diet are found. List of names of the main salmonid fish species:

The Whitefish family differs from the salmonids proper in the structural features of the cranium, larger scales, and a small mouth. Grayling has a high dorsal fin with an impressive length. It can be brightly colored and resemble a train in appearance. Grayling is freshwater. Far Eastern salmon, salmon and ishkhan are considered the most valuable varieties.

The species can be distinguished by the fish’s lifestyle

Which fish dies after spawning

Sockeye salmon, or red fish, belongs to the salmon family. Lives in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rivers flowing into it. Sockeye meat is fatty and has excellent taste (especially when smoked). Valuable commercial species.

It is most often found in the rivers of the Kamchatka Peninsula (the Kamchatka River and its tributaries, as well as rivers and streams flowing into the Ozernaya Bay), and on Sakhalin.

Sockeye salmon becomes bright red during the spawning period. Average size of an adult sockeye salmon: body length 60-80 cm, weight 3.5-5 kg. This fish is often confused with other salmonids such as chum salmon. Indeed, these two species are very similar. They are distinguished mainly by the number of stamens on the gill arches (the sockeye have much more of them. than 30).

In the sea it feeds mainly on small but very nutritious calanid crustaceans. In the body of these crustaceans there is an enzyme that colors their body in bright red. Perhaps, thanks to this enzyme, sockeye salmon acquire an intense red color during spawning.

Puberty occurs in the fifth or sixth year of life (less often in the fourth). And schools of fish rise from the seas to the rivers for spawning. Scientists have noticed one interesting feature of the red fish going to spawn. Individuals return to the same place where they were born!

The path to the spawning ground is very long and difficult. Very often they have to overcome shallow places on which they are forced to crawl (often on sharp stones), and not swim, receiving serious injuries. Also, large predators stand in their way. Bears, other animals and birds that eat them in large quantities. After all, catching fish walking in a dense school is not difficult.

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Sockeye salmon enters the rivers approximately in mid-May, while spawning itself lasts 2-3 months. On the spawning ground, females and males are divided into pairs, after which they look for a place to build a nest.

The nest is a circle or oval, deep enough (about 15-20 cm). If the soil allows, then the female tries to make the nest as deep as possible, more than 30 cm.This is necessary so that the eggs are safe.

One female usually lays from 3 to 4 thousand eggs, which, by the way, are also bright red. After the male fertilizes them with milk, the female carefully buries them with sand so that those who like to eat the nutritious caviar of the sockeye could not get to her. Its eggs are eaten by numerous fish, bears, and waterfowl.

After spawning, the red fish dies. And the offspring matures for a very long time. Only after 7-8 months, in February, the first larvae will appear. For the first few years of their lives, they do not leave the river or lake in which they were born. Here they also feed on various benthic organisms and plankton.

Nevertheless, a small percentage of a particularly “desperate” sockeye salmon rolls into the salty waters of the ocean in the first year of its life. They live in the seas for two to four years. Then nature calls them back to where they came from so that the sockeye salmon give offspring.

There are individuals who live their whole lives in rivers and lakes. Residential form of red fish.

Healthy, tasty, aromatic sockeye meat is in great demand. Vitamins of group B, D, A, micro- and macroelements necessary for the vital activity of the body (phosphorus, potassium, iodine, chlorine, iron, etc.). All this is present in sockeye meat! Calorie content of meat. 157 kcal.

The annual commercial catch of red fish in the rivers of the Far East is about 20-30 thousand tons per year. Recreational and sport fishing for sockeye salmon is very popular. To fish this fish, and at the same time to admire the picturesque Kamchatka nature, fishermen come even from remote European regions!

Who prevents salmon from spawning

During spawning, salmon completely stop feeding and live only on the fat reserves that it managed to accumulate while living in the ocean. A hungry diet weakens fish, so salmon are often easy prey for birds, animals, and even humans. By the time the salmon spawning is over and the eggs are already in the ground, a foal enters the river. This is a salmon that spawns with the onset of autumn. At this time, there is a struggle for space in the river, although salmon no longer spawns, but only protect the eggs.

How a fish chooses its place

For reproduction, fish most often come to spawn in those streams where they themselves were born. How she finds a route to get to her place of birth remains a mystery to scientists. Spawning occurs in fast rivers with cool water and rocky bottom. The places where salmon lay eggs are characterized by low water levels. It does not exceed 100 cm, and more often it is much lower. Sometimes fish can be seen spawning when they are barely covered in water. In some places, they even have to run aground and lay their eggs on their sides.

The most suitable for breeding are streams with rapids, where there is a flow of medium strength and the water is enriched with oxygen. The female chooses a section of the bottom that is relatively safe in her opinion, clears it of debris and digs holes with her tail into which she lays eggs. The male fertilizes the clutch. Pebbles in places of laying should be medium-sized so that the fish can move it with its tail. Sometimes natural depressions in the ground or even long pits with a length of several tens of meters are chosen as a spawning ground. Often the masonry is done near the keys erupting from the bottom.

When does salmon spawn start?

This question cannot be answered unequivocally. Spawning can vary in time and depends on the type of fish and temperature conditions. Some fish (for example, sockeye salmon) for spawning need the water to reach a temperature of 5-7 ° С, for other species (chum salmon, pink salmon) it is necessary for the temperature to reach 12-15 ° С. Sockeye salmon go first to spawn, then pink salmon and chum salmon, later. chinook salmon, etc.

Why do fish die after spawning

Salmon do not always die immediately after spawning. There are species that spawn 2-3 times in their lives. These are kunja, malma, Sakhalin taimen. These fish of the salmon family, after laying eggs, return to the sea, continue to feed, and with the arrival of spring they again make a long journey to the upper reaches of the rivers.

But there are also such species that die immediately after spawning. There are several versions about the causes of death. One of them says that parents deplete nutrient reserves during the laying of eggs and they do not have enough strength for their permanent habitats. According to the second version, their life cycle is calculated so that death naturally occurs after the eggs are laid. But the death of the fish is not in vain. Decaying bodies provoke an outbreak in the water of the development of microorganisms that will serve as food for the growing fry.

Which fish dies after spawning

His whole life is one long journey, back and forth. After thousands of kilometers, he carries with him the smell of his native stream. Parasites help him, and his fellows from farms kill him. We’ve collected surprising facts about these seemingly understandable salmon.

If we build a rating of animals for love of their small homeland, salmon would take first place in it. After living for some time in their native stream, the fish set off on a grandiose journey to the sea. Those who get there alive for several years feed and accumulate strength so that one day they can swim back to their place of birth and die there.

When salmon hatch from eggs, they have a huge (relative to their own size) yolk sac.

Most of the salmon are raised on special farms, where up to half a million animals are kept in nets. Farms compensate for the steady decline in the wild salmon population, but meeting a traveler hurrying to the sea with a fellow raised in artificial conditions can be fatal for the former. Not so long ago, scientists found out that it is on farms that the main parasite of fearless fish, the salmon louse, multiplies and goes into the wild. This small sucker-like crustacean feeds on blood. For adult salmon, lice are not very dangerous, but young fish, which, rolling into the sea, pass by farms and pick up the parasite, will not survive with a high probability.

During the journey, salmon are infected with many parasites, but some of them, as it turns out, prolong the youth of the fish, preventing them from dying prematurely. On the way to their native pond, many salmon acquire companions. larvae of pearl mussel bivalve molluscs. They attach to the gills and travel with the fish. One salmon can “dig in” from two to seven thousand mollusks. Until recently, biologists considered pearl mussels to be unconditional parasites that literally suck juices from fish, but in recent years this idea has begun to change thanks to new facts.


Scientists suggest that the salmon family is about 100 million years old. This means that the first salmon could swim in the same waters as dinosaurs, ”says Leonid Zakharov, deputy editor-in-chief of the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, a member of the publication’s Far Eastern expeditions. When you see how salmon, overcoming rapids, goes against the current up the river, it takes your breath away.

About once a year, for many years in a row, my colleagues and I go on river trips. We choose some taiga river, usually in the Khabarovsk Territory, and go rafting for a couple of weeks. During the expeditions, a huge amount of photographic materials about the flora and fauna of the Far East were collected. Which we thought to collect in a book. You played a grant from the Russian Geographical Society and set off on another expedition, but with a specific goal: to tell about an amazing fish. We will be happy if our album “Rivers of the Far East. the cradle of the Pacific salmon” (photographs from which adorn this publication) draws attention to the beauty of Russian nature and, possibly, makes someone return tickets to a warm country and go towards Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.

Field experiments with RFIDs show that salmon infected with pearl mussels do not die more often than their healthy counterparts. What’s more, shellfish appear to slow the aging of fish in cold climates. In the north, pearl mussel larvae take a long time to develop, so it is in their best interest to extend the life of the host salmon and prevent it from dying too quickly. Some scientists believe that the Atlantic salmon, unlike the Pacific salmon, do not die after spawning precisely because of the joint evolution with the pearl mussel. How exactly molluscs keep salmon young is not yet clear, but theoretically this can be done, for example, by reducing the activity of adrenal hormones.

Salmon find their way unmistakably in any weather and in any conditions. For a long time, it was unclear how the fish navigate in space even when neither the Sun nor the Moon is visible. Zoologists have long assumed that salmon, like birds, can navigate by the magnetic field, but they have not been able to confirm the hypothesis. The scientists were helped by. the Canadian island of Vancouver. It blocks the mouth of the river, where salmon go to spawn, so the fish have to go around the island along a southern or northern route, which are almost 400 kilometers apart from each other.

Armed with data on migration and magnetic field changes over 58 years, the scientists found that fish prefer a route that looks more like a mouth in terms of magnetic properties two years ago. That is, at the moment when the fish going to spawn left the river. This observation was the first direct evidence that salmon, with the help of special organs, remembers the configuration of the magnetic field and is guided by it.

Salmon find their native backwater by capturing individual molecules with their olfactory organs, carrying a familiar aroma. Fish are only slightly less sensitive to odors than dogs. In the 70s of the last century, American researchers discovered that olfactory memory is at the heart of salmon navigation at the last stage of the journey. Zoologists raised young coho salmon in flavored water and then released into the ocean. When the fish returned to their homes in due time, it turned out that they could be easily knocked out of the way, simply by adding an odorous substance to the water. Instead of the desired reservoir, coho salmon rushed to where its smell came from.

Salmon’s memory for aromas is not formed earlier or later than a certain period. Biologists call this memory olfactory imprinting, because it seems to imprint the features of the environment at a certain point in life. A similar mechanism makes birds consider the object (including inanimate) that they saw in a short, strictly limited period of time as their mother.

During the spawning run, the salmon body undergoes dramatic metamorphoses: the color changes, a hump grows, the scales sink into the skin, a horny beak grows on the muzzle, and some of the internal organs disappear. On the way back to their small homeland, salmon do not eat, so their digestive organs atrophy, and until their death, the fish live on accumulated fat reserves. The same reason why girls wear high-heeled shoes and boys spend long hours in the gym makes a radical change in the appearance of fish. In salmon, the requirements for sexual selection are much stricter: the brighter the individual, the easier it is for it to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Most fish die after spawning, so it makes no sense to save on resources, and salmon put everything on the line.

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Hydroelectric power plants have been built on many rivers where salmon spawn, and the channels are blocked by dams. Hydroelectric power plants were long thought to be extremely dangerous for fish.

Relatively recently, hydroelectric power plants, and especially their turbines, have indeed been a deadly obstacle for salmon. But today, at most stations, special “water ladders” are arranged, along which fish can climb into their native reservoir, bypassing the blades. However, movement to the sea was still considered dangerous for young fish: experts believed that salmon cannot navigate in the water without a current, in addition, in shallow streams, fish become easy prey for predators.

Fortunately, recent experiments with RFIDs have shown that smolts that float on rivers with dams are just as likely to get to the sea as they are in rivers without dams. Research results are encouraging, but most salmon populations are still declining due to human activities.

Salmon travel hundreds of kilometers without interacting with anyone from a huge herd, but in the last days of their life they acquire a second half to do the main thing. Salmon spawn on shallow river banks with a pebble bottom. Females dig a hole up to half a meter deep, where they spawn. After fertilization, the fish dig out pebbles a little upstream so that the stream of water will fill the nest with it. A spawning mound 10–20 centimeters high and several meters in area is formed above the eggs. A muddy or clay bottom is not suitable for caviar. you need a constant current of clean, oxygen-rich water.

The clutch contains from one and a half to five thousand eggs, depending on the type of salmon. The record of about 14,000 eggs belongs to the Chavycha, the largest of the salmonids. Ironically, most of the eggs usually survive. But one of two hundred brothers and sisters manages to make a trip to the sea and to their native places.

FUTURE Bestseller

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that it is safe to eat, but GM salmon is still in bureaucracy. Agreements are endlessly delayed, and the company has every chance of going bankrupt.

In the habits of salmon, one can find enviable patriotism, self-denial for the sake of the future, and incredible determination. all that people value so much. However, the desire of a person to endow the world with meaningfulness says a lot only about a person. And salmon.

“The fish doesn’t think,” sang Iggy Pop. Because the fish knows. Everything”.

Photos: Sergey Gorshkov

The material was published in the magazine “Around the world” No. 9, September 2014

A true ichthyologist from a trivial fishmonger can be easily identified by what he calls salmonids. It’s like a sailor’s compass and compass. Many ichthyologists prefer to speak of salmon rather than salmon, which is more familiar to the ear of ordinary people. All salmon, or salmon, scientists have combined into the order of salmonids. these are bony fish, close in their biology to herring fish and having, like herring, primitive features (of lower-developed fish), but with more progressive characters. By the way, both sturgeons and salmonids used to be called red fish in Russia, and it came from the word “beautiful”. “red”.

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Now, for a long time, we have called salmon fish, as many believe, for the meat painted in red colors. Today, there are great difficulties with the taxonomy of these fish. for example, someone brings grayling into a separate family, someone classifies them as salmon. It’s the same with whitefish. There is a lot of systematic confusion with the biological name “trout”, whoever is not called this beautiful word. And so on. In many salmon species, it is possible, by searching, to find discrepancies and diametrically opposite information about both taxonomy and biology. We will try to help you and will try to teach you how to navigate this wonderful family of some of the most interesting and delicious fish in the world.!

Of the primitive features in the order of salmon, the following can be noted: the location of the pelvic fins in the middle part of the belly; the fact that the pectoral fins are low and there are no spiny rays in the fins; the swim bladder is connected to the esophagus (open bladder); cycloid scales; the mouth is bordered by two pairs of bones; in many salmon, the skeleton is not completely ossified and the cranium is mostly cartilaginous; in some salmon, the chord is preserved even in adulthood; as well as other more primitive features. From more progressive features. the presence of a lateral line, adipose fin, from ecology. complex-composed migration behavior, and so on. The order of salmon-like fish, which are often found by underwater hunters, includes the following suborders: salmon, smelt, pike and five more suborders of less popular fish.

Today we will look at the salmonid family (salmonidae). This family includes fish with one true dorsal fin and one adipose. There are numerous pyloric appendages in the intestine (this is due to their varied diet). The beautiful eyes of salmonids are equipped with transparent eyelids. Salmon are anadromous and freshwater fish of the Northern Hemisphere; they live in Europe; North Asia (south to the upper reaches of the Yangtze); in mountain streams in North Africa and North America. In the Southern Hemisphere, salmonids, except for those acclimatized by man, have not yet been found.

It is not without reason that salmon fish are so loved and popular: they have a unique ecology in their own way, they easily change their lifestyle and appearance. That is, well, just universal fish! The meat of all salmon fish tastes excellent. For us, from the entire salmon family, 4 genera are of primary importance: the genus of Pacific (Far Eastern) salmon Oncorhynchus, the genus of real (noble) salmon. Salmo, as well as the genus Salvelinus and the genus of taimen Hucho.

Pacific, or Far Eastern salmon, as the name implies, inhabit the Pacific Ocean basin. These are anadromous fish that spawn in the fresh waters of Asia and North America and feed in the sea. There are 6 well-distinguished species of Far Eastern salmon: chum salmon, pink salmon, chinook salmon, red (sockeye salmon), sima, and coho salmon. A characteristic feature of all these species is large red caviar, extremely rich in nutrients and vitamins, and the fact that they spawn once in a lifetime, dying after the first spawning. (For other salmonids, things are not so hopeless.) During the marine period, these salmon feed throughout the northern part of the Pacific Ocean up to the front of the warm Kuroshio Current, including the Sea of ​​Japan, Okhotsk and Bering Sea. At this time, they do not form large clusters and remain in the upper layers (usually to a depth of 10 m). Their food is varied: most often fish and their fry, crustaceans; pelagic pteropods; young squid; worms and even jellyfish and comb jellies! So it is clear where the salmonids come from such wonderful tasty red meat. with such an abundant and varied diet, there can be no other. There has been a lot of discussion lately about the color of the red meat of salmonids. that perhaps it is the krill diet that causes such an intense red color. Opponents of this theory believe that the wonderful red color of the meat is due to the fact that salmon fish are good swimmers and their muscles are abundantly supplied with oxygen through blood vessels, which are very abundant in the muscle fibers of these fish.

During sea feeding, the body of salmon is covered with silvery, easily falling scales, they are toothless and defenseless. They spend winter in the “south” of their habitat, but in spring, as the water temperature rises, salmon begin to move for their food from the front of the Kuroshio Current to the north and northeast. Moving for food, Pacific salmon reach the mouths of rivers in the North Pacific coast of the USA, Canada, Alaska and the entire Far East coast of Asia to South Korea and Japan. Here, their herds are separated. those who are not yet ready for spawning by age, after fattening, with the onset of the autumn cooling of the water, begin their return migration to the south. Sexually matures begin their spawning migration. a journey of no return. rushing into the rivers where they were born and where they are destined to die after laying eggs. The ability of these salmon to find their native river for spawning, where they were born, is called homing by scientists, and this is a separate huge and poorly studied topic. Apparently, during their journey, salmon are guided by the sun, by the moon and by the chemical smell of “native” water, which was captured even at the time of salmon hatching from eggs.

Outwardly, the Far Eastern salmon entering the rivers also vary greatly. They have a “marriage dress”: the body is flattened, strong hooked teeth appear. The jaws themselves bend, a hump grows on the back, the skin becomes thick and rough, scales grow into it. Instead of being silvery, the leather is colored black, crimson or purple-red. The reasons for the appearance of the “marriage dress” have not yet been fully studied. It is believed that this is for attracting females, and, as an option, a return to the appearance of the ancestors, or it is possible that this is just a side effect of a strong hormonal shock. During spawning migration, salmon do not feed and are extremely depleted until they reach the spawning grounds. So, climbing almost 1500 km (!) Along the Amur, Ussuri and other rivers, chum salmon loses more than 80% of the energy accumulated in the sea. Earlier, back in the middle of the 20th century, the spawning migration of salmon was an unforgettable sight. there were so many fish that the water came out of the river beds.!

Now the number of Pacific salmon has greatly decreased, and such a picture can be found only in the narrowest rivers.

Far Eastern salmon spawn on rivers with a rocky pebble bottom, since it is in such rocky pits that they burrow their eggs and build a mound from the pebbles above the masonry. During spawning, males are constantly fighting. And after spawning, mass death of salmon begins. The most emaciated die already in the spawning grounds, while others flow towards the mouth and perish there. All Far Eastern animals are going to feed on dead salmon. from crows and gulls to bears. After resorption of the yolk sac, the fry emerge from the hillock and swim downstream. An important point is that some of the males reach maturity in the river, being very small in size; such dwarf males can take part in spawning. And some species, even in the process of evolution, have adapted to form real living forms that do not go out to sea. Similar forms are generally common in the salmon family.

We will not describe in detail here the biology of all six species of Far Eastern salmon, but will only talk about the main distinguishing features of each species and how this species can be especially attractive for an underwater hunter.

KETA is the most widespread and widespread species of Far Eastern salmon. There are two forms of chum salmon. Summer chum salmon (up to 80 cm long), entering rivers from early July to mid and late August, prevails in the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean. Autumn chum salmon (up to 1 meter, larger and more valuable) prevails in the southern parts of the range. Both forms go to the Amur, the rivers of the Sayano-Okhotsk region and Sakhalin.

Chum salmon eggs are the largest. up to 9 mm. Chum salmon do not have forms that grow and feed in rivers. Attempts have been made to acclimatize chum salmon in the Caspian Sea.

HUMANE. differs in the smallest scales, on the caudal fin there are many small dark specks (when it lives in the sea), and in the river dark specks cover the back, sides and head. This small salmon. the length of 68 cm, but very massive and widespread. It grows and ripens very quickly, and a year and a half after going into the sea, it returns to the rivers to lay eggs and die. Pink salmon catches fluctuate greatly. It has been established that pink salmon goes to the rivers of Primorye in large quantities in odd years, and in even years its progress is insignificant. And in the Amur and on the western coast of Kamchatka, the opposite picture is observed. most of all pink salmon are caught in even years. This periodicity is well explained by the two-year life cycle.

They have repeatedly tried to acclimatize pink salmon in other parts of the world, but the successes were insignificant.

RED or sockeye salmon is the third species of this genus in our country, although it is not as widespread as pink salmon and chum salmon. It can be easily distinguished from other species by its very numerous (30–40) densely set stamens. The meat is bright red, just due to the krill diet. This large fish reaches 90 cm in length and goes strictly to those rivers that flow from large lakes. And she spawns in these same lakes. Sockeye salmon can form a habitable form that matures in fresh water. True, they are widespread only in the lakes of America. And we have residential red only in several lakes of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

CHAVYCHA is the largest and most valuable Far Eastern salmon. There are individuals up to one and a half meters long and weighing up to 50 kg! The Americans call this fish king-salmon, and the Japanese call it “the prince of salmon”. The back, dorsal and caudal fins are covered with even black round spots. The mating outfit is less pronounced than that of congeners. Like sockeye salmon, chinook salmon gravitates towards America in its distribution. But here it can also be found in the rivers of Kamchatka, it goes to spawn before everyone else. from mid-May.

KIZHUCH resembles a chinook salmon in geography. It is distinguished from its congeners by the bright silver color of its scales. Average size 60 cm. The most thermophilic species.

The last type is SIMA, or Mazu. The only species found only along the Asian coast.

Our next remarkable salmon are the genus of true salmon (Salmo), which differs from the previous one in a shorter anal fin, skull structure and many other features, but the main difference is in the ecology of these two genera. Real salmon don’t die after the first spawning! These salmon are very widespread. These are anadromous and resident fish of the northern parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, they are found in the Baltic, Black, Caspian and Aral seas. Residential forms in America and Eurasia are very widespread, reaching in the south to the Mediterranean and the upper reaches of the Euphrates, they are absent only throughout Siberia. The main key species of this genus is the noble salmon, or salmon. This large and beautiful fish reaches a length of one and a half meters and a weight of 40 kg. The body of the salmon is covered with small silvery scales; there are no spots below the lateral line. Salmon in the sea feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Entering rivers for spawning, he loses weight and stops eating. Marriage attire is expressed in darkening of the body and the appearance of red and orange spots on the sides of the body and on the head. Also, the jaws are curved, and hook-shaped outgrowths appear on them. The feeding grounds are the North Atlantic Ocean. Hence it comes to spawn in the rivers of Europe from Portugal in the south to the White sea region. Kara in the north. There are several species of the genus Salmo in the Pacific Basin, but they are few in number. Previously, salmon was extremely abundant in all rivers of Europe, where there were suitable spawning grounds, but from the middle of the 20th century, its numbers began to decline greatly due to overfishing, pollution, hydroelectric power plants, etc.

The passage of salmon into rivers is rather difficult. in our rivers flowing into the Barents and White Seas, from August until freezing there is a large autumn salmon. Her reproductive products are very poorly developed. The course is interrupted only with the onset of winter. Part of the autumn salmon, which did not manage to enter the rivers, winters in the estuarine spaces and enters the river immediately after the ice drift (mid. end of May). Such a salmon is called “ice”. It is also called winter, since in the river it spends a year without feeding and only the next autumn comes to spawning grounds.

Further, after the autumn form of salmon in June, the salmon “cut” enters the rivers, mainly large females with already significantly developed sexual products. In July, it is replaced by summer salmon, or “low water”, in which caviar and milk are well developed. These are spring forms. Together with the low-water period, the rivers include “tinda”. small fish up to 50 cm and 2 kg. Males that matured at sea in one year. Many male salmon do not go out to sea at all. Salmon spawn in autumn in the north and in winter in more southern regions. Spawning salmon swim downstream, emaciated from a long hunger strike, wounded, with frayed fins. Some of them, especially males, die of exhaustion, but those who reach the sea restore their bodies, although they are unlikely to spawn again. A young salmon is called a parr, before it was even singled out as a separate species. so much it does not look like an adult salmon. Those parr that did not slide into the sea form sedentary dwarf forms (males). Salmon grows very quickly in the sea, unlike freshwater forms. At the same time, salmon is a fast and strong fish, can take very long journeys and can swim at speeds up to 50 km / h.

In large lakes (for example, in our Ladoga, Onega, etc.) there is a lacustrine form. This form does not go to sea, but feeds in the lake and spawns in the rivers flowing into the lake. Landlocked salmon are smaller anadromous and more spotted. Most of the residential forms are represented by brown trout. This is also a species of the genus of noble salmon. Trout differs from salmon in color. its body is covered with specks in the form of the letter “x”, its body is much higher. It is an extremely volatile species. Trout is also a trout and this is a big separate topic. what is trout and what species (genus) of salmon fish they belong to.

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Unfortunately, for all fish hunters of different directions, including dirty tricks, trout is a kind of collective image. And under this name they have several species of salmon (and the joy is that only salmon) fish. From the point of view of ichthyologists, the word “trout” can be used unmistakably in relation to three (!) Of all eight genera of the salmon family. It is clear that you can get confused. The “main” trout is brown trout. precisely, several of its subspecies. Trout is an extremely plastic species, which almost immediately forms another form and thus contribute not only to the survival, but also to the development of its species. Those forms of brown trout that lead an anadromous lifestyle are called brown trout. And sedentary freshwater forms of brown trout are already trout! There, in fact, everything is quite complicated for scientists, because the brown trout is so plastic that its forms (subspecies, morphs, etc.) not only differ greatly in appearance from each other, but also manifest special features in morphology and physiology, and even about ecology and habitats, and there is nothing to say, it is not for nothing that the trout forms were repeatedly distinguished into separate species. The habitat is very wide even in our country. these are the basins of the Barents, White, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas; widespread on the Kola Peninsula, Karelia, Luga and in the Gulf of Finland. In general, brown trout can be found in the North Atlantic Ocean. Plus successful acclimatization, including in Central and North America, where she has already managed to produce many different residential forms. At the same time, American ichthyologists, having no experience of communicating with this genetically plastic fish, identified almost 30 new species of salmonids and applied for the Nobel Prize! But there, the commission already attracted Russian (Soviet) scientists, who stopped all this orgy and reduced this ichthyodiversity to several basic forms, highlighting only two independent species of the genus Salmo. In general, today scientists distinguish 6 subspecies of trout, Malma, of which 4 anadromous subspecies and 1 sedentary (lake), which can be found in our country (that is, on the territory of the former Soviet Union).

What kind of trout can we meet??

Common brown trout Salmo trutta trutta. Here the Latin name consists of a generic name. specific. subspecies. And it is this subspecies that forms two main forms. anadromous (trout) and freshwater sedentary (trout).

Caspian brown trout Salmo trutta caspius Kessler. Inhabits the basin of the Caspian Sea, spawns in the Kura and there, in the Kura, forms a residential form. trout. Now it is already a purely exotic subspecies for us.

Ciscaucasian trout Salmo trutta ciscaucasicus Dorofeeva. Like the Caspian trout, it lives in the basin of the Caspian Sea, goes to spawn in any rivers (only from the western part of the Caspian Sea), but it ignores the Kura River (apparently, so as not to meet with the hostile Caspian trout).

Black Sea trout Salmo trutta labrax Pallas. Inhabits the basins of the Black and Azov Seas and also forms several freshwater forms of trout. Eisenam trout Salmo trutta ezenami Berg is the same resident freshwater trout representative of our fish fauna from the Dagestan lake Eisenam.

Aral salmon. One of the intraspecific forms of brown trout, a rare poorly studied fish that is under threat of extinction.

In the Red Book of the Russian Federation it is found as a fish of the 1st category, that is, the most serious category in terms of rarity. Distributed in the Aral Sea.

Further, an equally difficult question arises. what are lake and brook trout? Even Linnaeus, the kingdom of heaven to him, singled out these fish into separate species, but he was mistaken. Further experiments with these fish showed a completely different picture. So, even in that century, juveniles and adults of brook trout (resident trout) were launched into the rivers of New Zealand. After some time, some of this trout rolled down the rivers, then into the sea, and already in the sea it was caught as natural brown trout! Marks placed on the fish will not let you lie and highlight a separate species. So, anadromous trout, brook and lake trout transform into each other. A sort of transforming fish! In Europe, too, brook trout slide down rivers for a considerable mileage (up to 800 km), enter the estuarine areas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas and try to turn into an anadromous form. The same is in the Baltic Sea. when young trout are released, they acquire a silvery (sea) color and return to spawning as anadromous trout.

The life of scientists and fish lovers is complicated by the fact that these salmon have a very plastic and changeable appearance. the shape of the body, the size, and the number of scales, rays in the fins and other basic systematic indicators on which the determinants are based, “jump” and change. fish. You can come across both light and chased trout, and it, only black, short and round! And a very interesting fact, completely unique from the point of view of ecology: if one residential form (trout) from one reservoir is transferred to another reservoir, then after some time it will become indistinguishable from the aboriginal residential forms of brown trout. Due to what this happens, scientists have not fully figured out. That is, in the case of brown trout, you can paraphrase the saying “It’s not a place that paints a person, but a person is a place,” and we get: “The reservoir forms the future fish, and not the fish chooses the reservoir”!

You can find brook trout in a wide variety of freshwater rivers. with very different water cycles, flow rates and other hydrological indicators. They keep in the thickets of everything in the upper reaches of the rivers. The bottom is like pebble or coarse sand, like other salmonids. after all, such a bottom is suitable for their spawning. Brook trout can spawn simultaneously with brown trout and salmon (salmon), and juveniles of brown trout and salmon are often mistaken externally for underyearlings of brook trout.

Lake trout (or lake trout) sounds very beautiful in Latin. Salmo trutta morpha lacustra. Lacustra. in Latin “lake”. This is a very large fish. up to 45 kg! It can be found in lakes with cool and clean water well supplied with oxygen. But for spawning it needs a current, a stream, a rocky or coarse sandy bottom, and all this is sedentary, but. salmon! During feeding, the color of this trout is very similar to the color of its native anadromous sister. brown trout. But the “breeding” outfit of the lake trout, one of the brightest among other salmon, is a real “gouge out”. Lacustrine forms form trout in the lakes of the north-west of our country, and beyond its borders there are in the lakes of Finland, Sweden, Norway. In addition, the above-described subspecies of trout. Black Sea and Caspian. also, under certain conditions, form their own lake forms and from them lake trout are also obtained! The largest lake trout are formed from anadromous trout in the Alpine lakes and the Balkans. Scientists often accepted (and even described) them as separate subspecies and even species.

You can also hear about pied trout. Not to be confused with parr salmon! Pied trout is a form of lake trout, which, by the will of the hydrological features of the water bodies inhabited, was not in the lake, but in the river. This is a very colorful and bright externally specimen of trout.

Many of the above-described trout. both anadromous and sedentary trout. are protected by the state and are listed in the Red Data Books in the category of “declining populations”. These are anadromous trout from the Gulf of Finland and the Kaliningrad region, and lake trout from Ladoga, Onega and some lakes of Karelia (Imandra, etc.), as well as river trout from small rivers and streams of Karelia, Leningrad, Pskov, Novgorod, Vologda, Tver and Kaliningrad regions.

The reasons for the decline in numbers are the same. hydroelectric power plants, overfishing, reduction in the area of ​​water bodies, poor ecology, etc. Salvation is seen in artificial breeding and release of juveniles into water bodies, since it is with these fish that this number is successful. The only bad thing is that, in addition to releasing juveniles, it is also necessary to create (restore) spawning grounds for salmon, since the release will simply support the population, but up to a certain limit. Now scientists are even freezing the gene material of the original salmonids, which are considered the standard of the species. And this cryogenetics is our future!

Another species of the genus Salmo. ishkhan, or “prince” in Armenian, lives in Lake Sevan, where it also forms several forms. His anadromous form Gegharkuni was successfully acclimatized in Issyk-Kul. Despite good acclimatization, this fish is listed in the Red Data Book, with 1 category, that is, a species endangered.

There is only one representative of noble salmon in Kamchatka. mykiss. This species has a very complex internal structure. Local populations of anadromous form consist of a number of intrapopulation groups: typically anadromous, leaving for feeding far into the sea; checkpoint coastal (not making long-range movements) and river (mostly males). In different areas of different groups, the ratio fluctuates very strongly. Anadromous form of Kamchatka mykizhi. Kamchatka salmon. is a Red Book fish, but of 3 categories. This is a very rare form of Kamchatka noble salmon. Occurs on the western coast of Kamchatka in rivers from Penzhina to Bolshaya, occasionally on the eastern coast of Kamchatka, and singly in the rivers of the Okhotsk coast and in the Amur estuary.

There is also an absolutely wonderful fish of the genus of real salmon. steelhead salmon, or rainbow trout. Very large salmon, up to 120 cm long. Its habitable form was named “rainbow trout” for its bright color. It feeds in the waters of the Pacific Ocean and then goes to rivers from California to Alaska. This fish, by analogy with our Gegharkuni and Issyk-Kul, was acclimated to the South American Lake Titicaca. And so he took root there remarkably, which in size even exceeds the parental initial population. Another American species of this genus. Clark’s salmon, like our salmon and trout, is more freshwater than steelhead, but otherwise very much resembles it in its ecology.

Our next salmon fish are char. They are biologically close to the genus of real salmon. It is a very widespread and diverse fish in structure and lifestyle. The main central species is the Arctic char. The area of ​​its anadromous form is the entire Arctic Circle! Anadromous chars go for spawning in the rivers of Iceland, Norway, Murman, across Siberia to the Ob, Yenisei, Pyasina, etc. And the residential forms of chars go much further south. This is Baikal, and alpine lakes, and rivers of the Peter the Great Bay. Anadromous chars are large. up to 90 cm long and weighing up to 18 kg. Spawning and so on. resemble salmon and its congeners. Lochs are often called char. Palii live both in Ladoga and Onega, and there are several forms of them: red, and gray, and deeper-water, and coastal. On Lake Baikal and other lakes of Transbaikalia, there is a special form of it. davatchan. This is a rare fish of the 2nd category of rarity according to the Red Book, that is, its number is now declining. This is a lake. river fish that lives in the lake, and spawns in the rivers flowing into this lake. Various forms of chars live in the lakes of Kamchatka.

The remaining representatives of the salmon family, which are interesting from the point of view of spearfishing for the citizens of the Russian Federation, are representatives of the taimen (Hucho) genus. Taimen are similar to char, but differ from them in the structure of the jaws, the head flattened from the sides, and on the body there are x-shaped black specks. Taimen, reaching large sizes, are inhabitants of the rivers of Eurasia. Only 4 taimen are known. There is a Danube taimen (it lives, of course, in the Danube and Prut basins and never appears in the sea). The common taimen is a large fish up to 1.5 meters long and weighing up to 70 kg. It is very widespread, you can catch it in all Siberian rivers up to the Indigirka, it is also in the Amur basin, and in large lakes (Teletskoye, Baikal, etc.). It reaches the middle Volga and Pechora. He also never goes out to sea, prefers fast mountain and taiga rivers and clean cold-water lakes. The only passable taimen is Sakhalin (or chevitsa). It has very large scales. Inhabits the Sea of ​​Japan, from where in the spring and summer it goes to the rivers Hokkaido, Sakhalin and our Primorye.

The last representative of the salmon family is already outwardly and in lifestyle more like representatives of the next family. whitefishes. This fish is lenok. Its mouth is small, like a whitefish. Eggs are small. Small (by the standards of salmonids) fish. 2–3 kg (at 12 years of age). Lenok does not go to sea. It lives in the Siberian rivers from the Ob to the Kolyma, is in the Far East, in the Amur and in all rivers flowing into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and Japan. There are sharp-nosed and blunt-nosed lenoks (these are two forms), they often live together. Predatory fish, feeds on small fish, frogs, mice and in general everything that comes along.

On these fish, according to our taxonomy, the review of the salmon family is complete. The next two remarkable families of the salmon suborder are whitefishes and grayling. These are completely unique fish, attractive from all sides both for spearfishing and for other methods of catching fish, but they no longer fit into the scope of this article. you cannot grasp the immensity!

We will definitely talk about them next time. As always, good luck with your spearfishing and meet more of the above salmonids.!

How fry appear and survive

Red fish roe matures slowly. Only after a month, the shell of the eggs of the fry is torn, breaking out. Sometimes the process of caviar ripening is delayed for a longer period. Females guard the clutch all this time. After hatching, the fry begin to feed in the river and live in it for 2 years. Only then do they leave their location and head out to sea. At first, the fry eat microscopic algae, then move on to the larvae of beetles. In summer, they deftly catch insects from the surface of the water.

The value of salmon caviar

Large bright eggs of rich orange color have a large supply of nutrients. Some fish species even specially arrange for the hunt for salmon caviar. Eggs contain a large amount of protein, valuable fats, useful acids and trace elements. Due to this composition and high calorie content, this product is recommended to increase immunity and restore vitality in people weakened by the disease.

It is recommended to use salmon caviar on an ongoing basis and for healthy people. This product is a familiar delicacy to many. But a one-time intake of salmon caviar should not exceed 5 tsp.