Also known as: Dog, Keta, Fall, Calico, Qualla (salmon)

Chum salmon have a bit of a bad rep because they’re apparently worse eating than Sockeye or Chinook. But should an animals’ taste really determine their worth…? Chum are gorgeous salmon with very unique colouration. They can appear a bit messy as the spawning colours develop, but a fully coloured up male is very handsome with his complex red-and-black calico pattern. Also notice the striking yellow line surrounding their huge lower teeth, which is unique to this species. Chums are one of the few salmon that don’t spend a lot of time in fresh water: within days or weeks they head to sea. Here they are a bright, plain silver with a few shimmering streaks on their tail. The white tips to the pelvic and anal fins – so noticeable on spawning animals – are already present in the ocean phase. After 3 to 4 years they will return to freshwater to spawn. Chum are quite big, reaching up to 44 inch (112 cm) and 42 pounds (19 kg), but 20-30 inch (50-75 cm) is more usual.

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) – spawning phase