Monday, January 14, 2013

Trivia Question of the Week

This week's trivia question is a little fishy:

How big are Pacific salmon when they spawn?

Hint #1: Trick question, right? There are five species of Pacific salmon that spawn on the west coast of Canada and the US: King, Sockeye, Chum, Pink, and Coho. Different salmon species are different sizes. Kings, for example, typically range from 10-50 lbs (4.5 - 23 kg), whereas Pinks average only 5 lbs (2.3 kg).

Hint #2: Not only are different species different sizes, but older fish are typically (but not always) larger than younger fish.

Hint #3: To make things even trickier, not all salmon are the same age when they spawn. Sockeye can be anywhere from two to six years old when they return from the ocean to freshwater streams for spawning.

Hint #4: With all these variables, perhaps a better question would be, "How large do the largest, oldest Pacific salmon become before spawning?"

Hint #5: King salmon are called "kings" for a reason.

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The largest King salmon on record was a caught by a commercial fishing operation near British Columbia in the late 1970's. This monster weighed in around 126 lbs (57 kg)! Several King carcasses weighing 100 lbs or more have been found on spawning grounds. The fish pictured above was located by biologists of the California Department of Fish and Game during a salmon survey on Battle Creek. Measuring in a 4.5 ft (1.4 m) long and around 85 lbs (38.5 kg), this King was one for the record books in California.

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