Chum salmon have the widest distribution of all the Pacific salmon, from the Californian coast to Alaska in the eastern Pacific and from Siberia to the Korean peninsula in the western Pacific. They are also found in Arctic waters, from the Beaufort Sea to the Bering Sea. Chum salmon are born in coastal rivers and streams and migrate into saltwater immediately, swimming out quite far into the open sea. Like pink salmon, chum salmon tend to spawn in small streams close to the ocean. The Chum salmon of the Yukon River are exceptional because they swim over 3000 km upriver from the Bering Sea to spawning grounds in Canada's Yukon Territory.
During their marine phase, chum salmon have a silver body flecked with black with a metallic-blue dorsal side. They become whiter on their underside and have a dark, thick stripe running horizontally across its flanks. Their tails are somewhat concave and streaked with silver. As they mature and enter freshwater to spawn, their back will become greenish-brown to nearly black and they will develop purplish streaks on their sides, resembling a calico pattern. They live three to five years and weigh about 4.5 to 6.5 kilograms, but have been known to reach 15 kilograms.
- Date modified: