The female Red salmon returns to her original spawning ground and lays her eggs in a gravel nest at the bottom of the river, lake or stream. The male Red salmon then covers them with sperm.
In late winter the fertilized eggs will hatch. At this stage, they are called alevin. They will remain hidden in the gravel nest & feed off the yolk sac from their egg for about one month.
At 4 months old the tiny salmon leave their gravel nest and begin to swim and feed for themselves. At this stage, they are called Fry. It’s also at this time that they start their journey downstream. They will spend up to 2 years as a fry.
The salmon are in smolt stage when they start to swim to salt water. The smolts will spend some time in the estuary area of the river or stream while they adjust to the salt water. Only a small percentage of the original salmon will reach the ocean.
Adult salmon spend 2 to 4 years in the ocean swimming and feeding throughout the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Once they reach full maturity, they return to their ‘home stream’ to spawn.
Upon reaching their birth rivers and streams, the adult salmon re-adapt to the fresh water and begin their upstream journey. At this time, they cease to feed and live on the stores of fat within their bodies. Both male and female salmon will die a few weeks after spawning.