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Old 11-26-2003, 02:49 PM   #1
SKP
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Default How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

Once salmon spawn, how long does it usually take the eggs to hatch? I'm curious.

Also, what effect does high water have on the salmon eggs? It seems the coastal streams get very high each year, yet fall chinook are in abundance. It would seem to me that the eggs would get washed down into the tidewater areas and have a negative impact on the fertilized eggs.

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Old 11-26-2003, 03:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

It depends...

That being said, Typicaly:
35-45 days from fertilization to "eyed" (when the eye is visible inside the egg)
18-20 days from eyed to hatched (alevin, yolk sack toting, gravel hiding little guys)*
14-21 days later the alevins have used up their yolk sacks and are free feeding fry

So to answer your question...anywhere from 67-86 days...roughly.
edit: this is all based on an ample supply of 6-8 degree C water, some say that the alevin stage can last up to 70 days alone, ours never took that long

The high water carries silt downstream, which can and does bury the little fella's. Yup stuff happens in nature.

*I saw some of these dudes at Fisherman's Marine in Oregon City last weekend.

[ 11-26-2003, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: FrogPond ]
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Old 11-26-2003, 03:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

Frogpond,

I saw those "dudes" at Fisherman's also, that's what got the question in my mind.

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Old 11-26-2003, 03:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

It depends on the temperature units. A temp unit is one degree above freezing per day=water is 40 degrees for a day it has eight temp units. It stays at 40 degrees for ten days there have now been 80 temp units.

Each species requires a different amount of temp units. For fall chinook they usually hatch in February or March.

I think regular high water doesn't affect them much; they've had these conditions since creation.

During the floods the eggs can get moved around or covered over or exposed. The exposed ones will get eaten buy predators but the buried ones will dig out. Fine sediment can suffocate the eggs though.
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Old 11-26-2003, 03:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

SKP,

If those eggs get washed out of their redds, they are gonners- the pogies, smolts, ouzles, crawdads, etc will see to that. As frogpond said, changes in water level change the deposition patterns of sediment in the rivers. If the river dumps a load of mud or other fine sediment on top of the spawning gravels, the eggs suffocate. In any given year we lose more than survive to smolthood. Thats how it's always been, and thats why hens are set up to lay hundreds or thousands of eggs.

Thats why it really sucks when you see someone bonk one, decide the eggs are no good, and chuck it back in the water

EDIT: Ah Dave, ya beat me to it :grin:

[ 11-26-2003, 04:12 PM: Message edited by: Riverkeeper ]
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Old 11-26-2003, 03:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

I was amazed at their setup. It has been a long time since I tank raised salmon, and we had a much more elaborate setup. We also always had ours covered & in the dark. They looked really healthy & I was encouraged to see them on display.
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Old 11-26-2003, 03:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

Yeah, I saw my omission about the temp, see the edit...Temperature Very Important!
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Old 11-26-2003, 05:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

Don't be anxious SKP.
You got a few years before you can catch those little suckers. :grin:

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Old 11-26-2003, 07:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

What I can add to the above:

After hatching, the alevins remain in the gravel until they consume their yolk sacks. Then they emerge and start to feed on their own.

Salmon nests are vulnerable to damage by changing flow levels. Lowering flows can kill the eggs and higher flows can scour them and cause sedimentation to suffocate the eggs. Fish which spawn when the water is low put their nests in harms way when a flood comes--that part of the river will scour the most. If fish spawn on the river fringes during higher flows and the river drops, the nests become exposed and dry out.

Where the land remains relatively undeveloped, such as the OP, there is less damage from the effects of stormwater runoff, although logging also causes runoff to increase above pristine conditions. Many streams in the Puget Sound and other developed areas have been hammered by stormwater. This especially affects coho and steelhead, which tend to spawn in smaller streams.

We are in a real political battle right now over protection of streams and wetlands. The Bush administration is trying to eliminate protection of intermittent streams and "isolated" wetlands from the Clean Water Act. Development interests in Washington State continue to put pressure on politicians to let them have their way over agencies charged with protecting fish habitat.
Last legislative session, there were heavy attacks on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Habitat Program, which implements the only state law intended to directly protect fish habitat. We are likely to see more of that in the upcoming session.
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Old 11-27-2003, 10:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: How long until salmon eggs hatch after spawn?

Born to be Wild,

I'm so anxious, that while at Fisherman's, I found the bobber setup example on the wall, put it on a pole, and tried to get those alevins to bite. I didn't even have a bobber down. Even tried a K-16 Kwikfish with Ultrabite. But when I tried some of my black market Carrot Milk, I was booted out of the store!

:grin: :grin: :grin:

Now at least those little fishies understand what to look for in a few years.

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