Wild Sockeye Salmon

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Alaska Sockeye Salmon


Sockeye Salmon

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus Nerka

Market Names: Salmon, Sockeye, Red, Blueback

Vernacular Names: Red fish, Spring-run Salmon, Summer Sockeye

Description: Sockeye salmon have dark blue-black backs, silvery sides and white bellies. The average size is 6-9 pounds and are 4-5 years of age. The Sockeye's flesh is ruby red in color and is the most sought after salmon in Alaska due to it's wonderful flavor and color. The Sockeye salmon accounts is second to the Pink salmon in total run size.

Life Cycle: There are several stages to the life cycle of Sockeye salmon, eggs-alevins-fry-smolt-adult-spawning adult. An adult salmon deposits her eggs in gravel beds (also called redds) in freshwater streams and rivers. Once the eggs have been fertilized by the male salmon the embryos will incubate over the winter months and then hatch into alevins in late winter. In the alevins phase of life the salmon take on a strange appearance having large eyes, a ballooning orange sack and pencil like body. Approximately 4 months after becoming an alevin the young salmon changes into a fry. A salmon fry averages 1 inch in length, has an elongated body and is free swimming. A sockeye fry will spend up to two years living in fresh water before migrating to sea. A fry blossoms into a smolt when it is ready to head to the ocean were it will stay until it matures into an adult salmon. An adult Sockeye salmon will feed and continue to grow until it reaches maturity at four to five years of age. The mature female salmon will begin its journey back to its place of origin were it will deposit its bounty of eggs and then die, continuing the salmon life cycle.

Run Times: Sockeye salmon runs are typically seen in south central Alaska starting in late May and ending in the early part of August.

Record weight sport caught sockeye salmon: 16 lbs. caught by Chuck Leach in 1974 while fishing on the Kenai River.

Nutritional Information: One ½ lb. fillet of Sockeye Salmon has 332.6 calories, 42.1 grams of protein, 16.9 grams of fat, 2.9 grams of saturated fat and 93 milligrams of sodium.

Seafood Nutrition Table

Click on the link below to learn about other wild salmon species.


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