Stage 1

Salmon egg and sac fry

In late autumn, the female salmon buries fertilized eggs in stream bottom gravel nests called redds. The eggs hatch into alevin or sac fry in late spring, and the yolk sac is gradually absorbed.

Stage 2

Salmon fry

Three to six weeks after hatching, alevins emerge from the gravel to seek food and are called fry.

Stage 3

Salmon parr

Fry quickly develop into parr with camouflaging vertical stripes. The parr are two inches long. They feed and grow for one to three years in their native stream before becoming smolts.

Stage 4


Salmon smolt

Smolts are silver colored and approximately 6 inches long. In the spring, smolt body chemistry changes; they now weigh about 2 ounces and are ready to enter salt water. They migrate to the ocean where they will develop in about two to three years into mature salmon weighing about 8 to 15 pounds.

Stage 5

Female salmon

After two to three years at sea, adult salmon weighing 8 to 15 pounds return to their native stream to repeat the spawning cycle.

Stage 6

Adult male salmon

Spawned-out salmon, called kelts or black salmon, return to the ocean or overwinter in the river.