The Chum Salmon, also known as Tiger or Calico Salmon
The Chum Salmon, also known as Tiger or Calico Salmon

The Chum salmon might just as well go down in history as, by far, the most underrated salmon species on the planet. The Chum salmon, or Calico salmon, has had a tough battle with both name recognition and table-fare respect from Alaskans since before the first non-native settlers came into the picture up north. The native Alaskans even considered the salmon species as only worthy for feeding their sled dogs. Just the word "chum" alone draws up pictures of crushed fish parts to many that, having fished the saltwater, used solely to draw the attention of prime eating fish to catch. So yes, an uphill battle for sure with both the name and history of this salmon

Google Map of Bristol Bay Watershed
Bristol Bay on the lower left corner of the map surrounded by the the Bristol Bay Watershed.

The Bristol Bay watershed is the last stronghold of wild Pacific salmon in the world. It has by far the largest runs of salmon that return every year to it's streams than any other region on the planet. The many rivers that flow into Bristol Bay, most notably the Nushagak, Kvichak, Alagnak, and Naknek rivers, are supported by this huge biomass of life giving nutrients every summer. These huge runs of salmon are the basis of the food chain that supports every living thing in the region. These salmon travel far into the mountainous regions to spawn, even further impacting the total area that the salmon nourish. The life cycle of spawn and die of the Pacific salmon is such a critical aspect to how the rivers in such a raw area flourish with life both above and below the water, supporting all kinds of living things.

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