North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

Spawn: A Perilous Journey

1. A Rocky Beginning

Although an adult female may deposit as many as 1,200 eggs a day in the gravel nest she digs, only a small percentage of these survive to hatchling stage. Some are swept away by the current, and others are eaten by predatory fish such as sculpin, resident trout, and Dolly Varden char.

Those salmon that survive the embryonic stage emerge from their eggs as tiny, inch-long hatchlings called alevins. For several weeks or months the alevins remain in the gravel, still attached to their yolk sacs which provide nutrients and oxygen. Once the hatchlings emerge from the gravel and lose their yolk sacs, they are called fry.

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