The salmon eggs hatch in about two to eight months. The baby salmon are called fry. The fry live in the gravel for up to three months. Most fry stay in the fresh water streams for a year or more before they travel downstream to the ocean.
Adult salmon live in the ocean for up to seven years. Then they begin the journey back to their home stream to spawn. It is a very difficult trip. They must swim upstream, against strong currents to find their home.
The trip is also very dangerous. Many creatures try to catch the salmon for dinner. Bears gather at streams to catch them. Eagles swoop down to catch them. People like to catch them also.
We have seen many people fishing for salmon on our trip to Alaska. People use many ways to catch the salmon. Some fish for them with big nets from boats in the ocean. Some use fishing poles. Some people use fish wheels. Some people use dip nets.
The salmon try very hard to make it back to their home streams to spawn. They stop eating and use all their energy to swim. When the female salmon arrive at their home stream, they build nests in the gravel. The female salmon lay their eggs in the nest. Male salmon swim over the eggs and release milt to fertilize them.
Most salmon die soon after they spawn. When the eggs hatch, the cycle of the salmon begins again.
For some fun activities about salmon, visit the following sites: