Fish Facts

About salmon and trout

  • Seven species of Pacific salmon occur in BC: Sockeye, chinook, coho, pink, chum, steelhead trout and cutthroat trout.
  • Pink salmon are the smallest and most abundant species and Chinook salmon are the largest (exceeding 50 kilos) but least abundant species.
  • Pacific salmon undertake anadromous migrations, meaning they reproduce in freshwater streams, but spend the majority of their life in oceans.
  • Pacific salmon are also semelparous, meaning that the most adults die after reproduction and become nutrients and food in the freshwater systems.
  • Adult Pacific salmon ‘home’ to their natal streams to reproduce. This behaviour has allowed the development of extensive genetic diversity within each species, allowing salmon to be highly adaptable.
  • Scientists believe that homing is accomplished by tracing ‘pheromones’ or chemical signatures of the home stream! Salmon have an extremely keen sense of smell - they can smell chemicals down to one part per million.
  • Salmon in their saltwater phase travel an estimated 29 kilometres per day, but often travel 50 kilometres per day on their spawning journey.
  • Salmon can migrate vast distances: More than 3,000 kilometres upstream to spawn in the Yukon River, for instance.
  • Some salmon species can jump up to two metres to cross obstacles in rivers.
  • Females usually lay between 2,000 and 10,000 eggs, however, less than 1% of these survive.

(Courtesy, The Pacific Salmon Foundation)

Local species and lifecycles

West Vancouver is home to four species of salmon – chinook, coho, pink and chum – and to cutthroat trout.

Pacific salmon species vary in terms of their life cycles. Some spend hardly any time in natal streams; some spend years. Some mature at two years of age; other mature at five. Some live for only a couple of years; others live for ten. Learn more