Tap to Read ➤

Understanding the Eating Habits of Salmon Fish

Leena Palande
Both farmed and wild salmon are pink because of the food they consume. This story describes what do salmon eat. Information about the plants, fish, and insects that they eat can help you purchase the best bait for salmon.
➺ Salmon flesh is packed with protein because they are carnivores. They prefer eating meat and protein rich food.

➺ After hatching, the salmon fry eat the yolk in the attached sac, and then find their way out, up through the rocks and pebbles, in search of food.
➺ It has been found that young salmon prefer terrestrial and aquatic insects (like mayflies, beetles), tiny invertebrates, larvae, and plankton (organisms drifting in oceans, seas, and freshwater that cannot swim against a current). Plankton include drifting animals, protists, archaea, algae, or bacteria that live in the pelagic zone.
➺ Adults incorporate small fish, squid, eels, krill, and shrimp in their diet. The chinook, also known as 'king salmon' in Alaska, for its large size and flavorful flesh, also eats eelgrass, seaweed, other fish, and krill. Salmon get their favorite food in freshwater as well as in oceans.
➺ Unlike all other salmon, the diet of sockeye salmon (known as red salmon or blueback salmon in the United States) mainly consists of plankton. They get their food in the limnetic zone (the well-lit, open surface waters, away from the shore). They cleverly change their position vertically in the water column, timing, and length of feeding.
➺ Salmon flesh is usually orange or reddish in color. The carotenoid pigments, mainly astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, present in their flesh impart the typical pink color to them. They get these carotenoids from eating seaweeds, krill, and other tiny shellfish.
➺ Chinook salmon, when introduced in Lake Michigan, first ate older alewives in the lake and then started eating younger fish. As a result of this, very few younger alewives were left in the lake.
➺ The Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar usually consume caddisflies, blackflies, mayflies, and stoneflies, when young. Adults eat larger fish and animals, for example, Arctic squid, sand eels, amphipods, Arctic shrimp. They even consume herring.