Why Do Salmon Swim Upstream To Lay Their Eggs? The Upstream Journey

Have you ever seen a salmon run or salmon spawning upstream and wondered, why do salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs?

Salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs because the upstream water is shallow which means that the eggs will be safe from any big fish that would eat them and from strong currents that would sweep the salmon eggs away. But there are more interesting things to why salmon swim upstream and how they do it.

Throughout this article talk I about how they swim upstream through the strong currents and how far they have to travel to get there. Also how fast salmon travel and even on what month they swim upstream.

By the end of this article, you will learn why salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs and many more things about salmon and their spawning journey.

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Why Do Salmon Swim Upstream To Lay Their Eggs?

Salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs because that’s where the shallow water of rivers and streams is which gives the salmon eggs protection from bigger-sized fish predators and a higher chance for them to survive.

Also, the upstream shallow water keeps the eggs safe from heavy currents that would normally wash them away into dangerous areas that have fish that will eat the salmon eggs.

Upstream waters are the perfect habitat for salmon eggs the currents are quite weak and not as strong compared to the deeper water areas so theirs little chance for a heavy current to sweep them away.

They lay their eggs in a river bed on a gravel nest called a red and cover them with gravel where the eggs will remain during the winter while they develop for six to twenty weeks depending on the type of salmon it is.

How Do Salmon Swim Upstream?

Salmon swim upstream by jumping over obstacles and swimming with all the energy they have. Once they make it upstream to spawn their eggs most of them die after a couple of days of spawning because they use up all their energy from swimming thousands to even hundreds of miles.

How Long Does It Take for Salmon to Swim Upstream?

It can take salmon anywhere between two to three weeks to swim upstream to their destination which is the salmons spawning location. The river system that the salmon is swimming in is going to be the main determining factor of how fast it will travel upstream.

How Far Do Salmon Travel To Spawn And How Far Do Salmon Swim Upstream?

Salmon travel over one thousand miles from the ocean back to freshwater and then more than two hundred miles to an upstream river to spawn.

How Fast Do Salmon Swim Upstream?

Salmon can swim as fast as 1.4 to 1.8 miles per hour upstream depending on the river their swimming and the current. When salmon sprint they can swim five times faster increasing their speed to 7 to 9 miles per hour.

Do Male Salmon Swim Upstream?

Yes, male salmon swim upstream just like female salmon to breed at the same location where it was born.

What Month Do Salmon Swim Upstream?

Salmon swim upstream from September to October.

When Do Salmon Spawn?

Salmon spawn during the early winter and depending on the type of salmon it is, the time that they spawn in can change for example pink salmon will spawn from August and October. Sockeye salmon can be found spawning during June and July. Chum salmon spawn around march to later in the summer so the time varies on the type of salmon.

Why Do Salmon Spawn In Freshwater?

The main reason that salmon spawn in freshwater is because of their reproductive life cycle. They swim upstream of the river and lay their eggs for the highest possible chance of the salmon eggs safety from fish predators.

How High Can Salmon Jump?

Salmon can jump as high as eleven to twelve feet high which is incredibly high depending on how deep the water is will determine how high they can jump.

How Many Eggs Do Salmon Lay?

A salmon female can lay one thousand to seventeen thousand eggs which is a crazy amount but only a small amount of them will live to grow to an adult salmon.

Why Do Salmon Die After Spawning?

Salmon die after spawning because they will stop eating completely once they enter freshwater and use up all of their energy fighting heavy strong river currents towards the upstream to spawn causing the salmon’s body to degrade and then die from the lack of feeding and energy.

While the salmon are swimming upstream they only have one thing in mind over everything and that’s to breed and spawn their eggs on upstream shallow water for the salmon egg’s safety.

Different Types of Salmon

Do you know about the different types of salmon and what they’re called? Find out about six different salmon types and what makes them unique.

Coho Salmon

Picture of a Coho Salmon

A coho salmon looks similar to a king salmon but its mouth gums are white and the king salmon has black gums along with that coho salmon are smaller in size. They grow eight to thirteen pounds and can get as long as twenty-five to thirty inches in length.

Sockeye Salmon

Picture of a Sockeye Salmon

The sockeye salmon have a red-colored body with sometimes growing a humpback and a beak-like mouth. They can grow in size from five to even fifteen pounds and at a length long of up to two and a half feet.

King Salmon

Picture of a King Salmon

The king salmon is a silver-looking fish with black spots on the upper section of its body. Its also known as a chinook salmon and can grow pretty big with an average size of up to thirty pounds and a length of over thirty-five inches long.

Pink Salmon

Picture of a Pink Salmon

Pink salmon have a red body with some brown on its upper part and black spots. They have similar jaws like sockeye salmon which are beak-like and also a humpback. These fish are one of the smaller-sized salmon compared to the other types and can grow three to five pounds in weight with a length size of twenty-five inches.

Chum Salmon

Picture of a Chum Salmon

Chum salmon have brownish bodies with red stripes and black stripes. Its jaws are a bit curved too and they can grow up to thirty-five pounds in weight and about three and a half feet in length.

Atlantic salmon

Picture of a Atlantic salmon

Atlantic salmon looks like a coho salmon except it’s a bit less black and has more black spots on its back with a silver body. Most of these salmon get eight to twelve pounds in weight on average and are around thirty inches long.

Fishing For Salmon

If you’re looking to fish for salmon then I highly recommend the best salmon hoochie lures, their the best type of lure for catching salmon and are incredible for attracting them. I can catch salmon constantly with them and are overall the best type of lure for this fishing application.

A great salmon trolling rod will get the job done and when you pair it with a hoochie lure salmon will bite over and over making it a fun lure to fish with.

When your fishing for salmon in a river the main thing to look out for is a free-flowing rapid dropping down to an area with a nice amount of current and structure that’s where you always want to check first for salmon.

Since salmon are a jumpy type of fish they really like to show that they are there so always stop and look for a bit for any signs of a jumping salmon. Casting too far can get you snagged so always cast at least ninety degrees into the river while jerking your lure to a forty-five-degree angle at a half crank per each jig.

This will allow for the jig to go up and down in front of the salmon’s face so that they can go for the bite.

Salmon Facts And Frequently Asked Questions:

When Do Salmon Swim Upstream In Alaska?

Salmon swim upstream in Alaska around early May to September.

Do Salmon Swim Against The Current?

Yes, salmon swim against the current during the salmon run they will swim upstream against the current with all the energy they have and even jump to get to their upstream destination where the water is shallow and safer for salmon to spawn their eggs.

Why Do Salmon Migrate And Where Do Salmon Migrate?

Salmon migrate from freshwater to the ocean so that they can eat and grow as an adult and then they will migrate back to the freshwater where they were born to the upstream rivers where they will spawn their eggs.

When Do Salmon Migrate?

Salmon will migrate around fall from September to November.

Why Do Salmon Jump Out Of The Water?

Salmon jump out of the water for a couple of reasons during the salmon run they will jump obstacles to get upstream so that they can breed and spawn. Also, the salmon will jump to remove the sea lice that are on their bodies by jumping and shaking them off.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, salmon will swim upstream to lay their eggs for many reasons but it all comes down to protecting their eggs by putting them on a gravel nest in a shallow water area where the current is minimal and weak, and safe from a strong current that could put the salmon eggs in danger by pushing them into fish that eat them.

Along with that since you won’t find any big fish in a shallow water area the eggs will be safe from them and when they hatch into young salmon they will have a greater chance to live and grow to be an adult salmon.

Now that you have learned why salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs and how they do so go fish some salmon with a hoochie lure and see how incredibly fun it is!