Pink Salmon, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, one of the most prevalent of the five Pacific Salmon species.
Millions of Pink Salmon enter some river systems on an annual basis. The male of this species developes a fairly prominant hump behind the head as it gets ready for spawning and has led to the nickname Humpy. Pinks are an important food source for lots of wildlife. Because of the sheer numbers entering often small streams they make it easy for animals such as bears and eagles to feed on them. They also typically come into the rivers early on in the season when the water levels are the lowest. These small salmon always have a two year life cycle and so therefor some rivers have a run only every second year. If a years run is wiped out for any reason it takes forever for it to reestablish itself. My collection of underwater Pink Salmon photos is vast as they are very plentiful in local rivers, and come in at the best time for photography.
Pink Salmon spawning sequence images.
The following sequences show the actual moment of spawning with egg and milt release, as well as the associated behaviors before and after. These images were often taken over a several hour time period. Quite a long time is spent preparing the redd by the female. This includes “digging” with her tail to clear the fine sand and gravel out between the chosen rocks, probing with her anal fin to determine sufficient depth, and chasing away competing salmon. Once ready, the actual process of spawning is over in several seconds, and can include several males joining in with the dominant male. Then the female covers the eggs that have been laid into the deep interstitial spaces in the nest by swishing her tail upstream and moving fine particles and gravel back into the redd.
The Tsolum River near Courtenay BC has recently been in the news. Over the last few years a concerted effort has been made to clean up and restore this once dead river. This year (2015) saw the first return of wild spawned Pink salmon in decades.
Click HERE to watch a short documentary I filmed two years ago about the Tsolum River Restoration Society and this project.