spawning salmon at katmai national park


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  • Location: Katmai Natinal Park, Alaska
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  • Info: Live streaming salmon webcam at Brookes River in Alaska. Sockeye salmon, also known as red salmon, return to Katmai National Park to spawn, having spent two to three years at sea. This underwater webcam gives a live up-close view of the salmon on their journey.

More info: Navigating first across the ocean and then up rivers, streams and lakes, the salmon reach the headwater gravel beds of their birth, to deposit their own young, before dying.

The salmon run begins in Katmai in late June and by the end of July a million fish may have moved from Bristol Bay into the Naknek system of lakes and rivers. The salmon spawn during the months of August, September, and October.

As salmon approach their spawning site, their appearance changes dramatically. The red pigments in their flesh are transferred to the skin. Their bones soften, a large hump develops on their back, and their jaws and teeth elongate. Salmon stop feeding once they re-enter fresh water. The salmon absorb their scales and most of their body fat to provide nutrition. Each female salmon swells with around 4000 eggs.

After they spawn in late summer and fall, Katmai’s sockeye salmon begin to die and thereby provide a valuable source of food to bears gulls and other creatures. The dead salmon also provide nitrogen and phosphorous that fertilize nutrient poor freshwater lakes and streams.