Chum Salmon


Oncorhynchus keta

ALSO KNOWN AS Keta, Dog Salmon, Chub

Chum salmon has a relatively mild flavour and a meaty, firm texture due to its lower oil content. Raw chum is orange, pink, or red and is paler than sockeye, coho, and king. The location of a fish when caught influences its colouring: their flesh becomes paler as it migrates upstream to spawn. Chums also have watermarks that make them very easy to identify – the vertical bars/bands grow darker as the fish ages. In saltwater, chum salmon are metallic greenish-blue along the back with black speckles, similar to both sockeye and coho. As they enter freshwater, their appearance changes dramatically: both sexes develop a “tiger stripe” pattern of bold red and black stripes.

Chums are among the largest of Pacific salmon, second only to king salmon in size. They can grow up to be 3.6 feet and 30 to 35 pounds, but on average weigh 8 to 15 pounds. As males mature, they grow enormous canine-like fangs and develop a striking calico pattern. Mature females are less distinctly coloured and lack fangs. Chums spawn and die between the ages of 3 and 6.

This salmon species is the most widely distributed of all the Pacific salmon, extending father along the shores of the Arctic Ocean than the others. They are found as far north as the McKenzie river on the arctic coast of Canada and throughout the coastal regions of North America, including as far south as Tillamook Bay on the northern Oregon coast.

Chum salmon are caught by gillnet fisheries, but purse seine fisheries take the greatest number. They are also caught incidentally by trollers fishing for king and coho salmon. Fishing gear used to harvest salmon does not contact the ocean floor so it doesn’t impact habitat.

Coldfish’s chum salmon are available for purchase fresh or frozen, dressed head on/head off, and in fillets, steaks, or portions.