The stage right after the egg stage iscalled alevin. The alevin can't swim but only swish their tail tomove around slightly in the gravel. When the alevin are born they areonly about one and a half inches long. They have an egg sack.
When the alevin use up they food in theiregg sac they look like very small salmon. They are then in the frystage. The length they stay in the fry stage can be very differentamong various species. Chinook or King salmon immediately startheading for salt water. Coho or silver salmon will remain in theirhome stream for over a year before starting to swim down stream tofind their way to the ocean. Some salmon will remain up to 3 years inthe fresh water before heading to the ocean.
The salmon are in the smolt stage whenthey start to swim to salt water. Some are two years old and over 5inches long. They have a shiny, silver back. The smolts will spendsome time in the estuary area of the river or stream while theyadjust to the salt water. Estuaries are very important for this andthey also have lots of important foods for the small salmon. Only asmall percentage of the original salmon actually reach the ocean.There are many predators and problems the salmon must face from theegg stage until they reach the ocean.
When the salmon reach the ocean they areconsidered to be adult salmon. They will stay in the ocean from sixmonths to five years. They will feed mostly on shrimp, squid, andsmall fish. Adult salmon may travel thousands of miles from thestream they were born in. When they are fully mature they return totheir home stream to spawn. Many scientists believe they migrateusing the magnetic field of the earth. They find their home stream byits particular smell.