National Geographic : 1968 Aug
Humpback, or pink salmon, right, undergo one of the most striking changes of all salmon before breeding, when a bulge of carti lage forms behind the male's head. Unlike other salmon, humpies always return to spawn at the same age-their second year. In Washington and southern British Columbia, pink salmon runs occur in the odd years. So far, attempts encouraged by commercial fishermen to estab lish runs in even years have failed. Pinks often spawn in late summer, usually not far upstream. The short-lived pinks grow fastest of all salmon and average three to five pounds at maturity. They sometimes take flies and other fishing lures, but lack the fight of game fish. Named for their paler meat, pinks are a bo nanza for commercial fishermen in both North America and Asia. The number of pinks caught each year exceeds that of any other salmon. Oncorhynchus gorbuscha Chum salmon, left, especially the males, spawn in a motley of reds and dusky purples, with distinct vertical bars, winning them the nickname of calico salmon. An other name, dog salmon, may stem from early belief that the meat was good only for dogs. Commercially, chum salmon makes the poorest canned product. Chum frequently spawn in intertidal zones. Finger lings swim directly to the estuary, where they may feed for some time before continuing into the open ocean. Mature at about four years, chum average 13 pounds. Some of them spawn in midwinter, later in the year than other salmon. Oncorhynchus keta Chinook, or king salmon, shown in spawning red and steely sea colors at right, win a royal salute for flavor, fighting spirit, and size. Lewis and Clark staved off starvation by eating upriver chinook as their party trekked toward the Pacific 160 years ago. When they found salmon in streams draining to the west, the explorers were convinced they had crossed the Continental Divide. Many Canadians know chinook as spring salm on, for their early spawning runs in some rivers. A female produces about 5,000 eggs. The young linger from a week to a year in fresh water, then swim to sea for three or four years of voracious eating and rapid growth. Mature fish average about 20 pounds. To sportsmen, the giant chinook caught off Vancouver Island are tyees. The largest chinook ever taken on rod and reel weighed 92 pounds. The biggest on record, trapped in Alaska: 1261/2 pounds. Pacific coast sport fishermen catch ap proximately half a million yearly. Oncorhynchus tshawytscha © N.G.S .