Watch this camera to observe pink salmon at the Cordova Ranger District Crooked Creek Information site in beautiful Valdez, Alaska.
The camera is set up in a shallow freshwater stream just downstream from a large waterfall and just upstream from a shallow ocean estuary.
The adult salmon you are watching have an average weight of 4 pounds and are nearly as long as a skateboard.
Watch for the salmon to roll onto their sides and dig at the gravel with their tails. When the fish do this, they are excavating a nest in the gravel, preparing a spot to lay hundreds of eggs.
The stream current washes some of the eggs out of the nest- watch for orange, white, or pink balls rolling along the stream bottom. Spawning occurs at the end of the Pacific salmon’s life and the fish you are watching are no longer eating. After depositing their eggs, these fish will die within a few weeks.
The eggs that these fish deposit in the streambed will remain there all winter long.
The eggs will hatch in the spring and small young salmon will swim out of the gravel and into the stream. When they emerge, the juvenile salmon are only about 1 inches long and they will quickly swim out into the saltwater estuary where they start feeding on abundant food resources.
After two years, these fish will be fully grown and they will migrate back to this stream to spawn, just as their parents did. The annual migration of adult salmon into freshwater streams is an amazing event to witness, but it requires clean streams and oceans.
The Chugach National Forest manages watersheds to ensure there is clean water at salmon spawning sites. You can do your part by properly disposing of your trash. Clean up litter in forests and streams and never dump used motor oil or other chemicals down storm drains.
Brought to you by the Chugach National Forest, U.S. Forest Service.