Spawning Sockeye Salmon

Salmon spawning is a remarkable phenomenon to behold. Generally, spawning is broken into three types of behavior: redd selection and nest building, courtship and mating, and nest closure. Although individual species differ in certain behaviors, a generalized pattern occurs with all salmon.

Redd selection is the task of the female and is based on a variety of factors. Stream velocity, water depth, and gravel size determine the general suitability of a given site. The ability to claim and defend a redd site and the actual physical strength to excavate the nests vary with each fish.

From the “Adopt-A-Stream Foundation Field Guide to the Pacific Salmon,” by Robert Steelquist. We are grateful to Sasquatch Books for granting us permission to reproduce this description of salmon spawning.