How Do Salmon Mate and Reproduce?

Source: Flickr / USFWS

Female salmon lay eggs in riverbed depressions that they create using their tails; the male comes along behind her and fertilizes the eggs. After fertilization, the female covers the depression. Females may make up to seven depressions, and they wait for males to fertilize each before moving on to the next depression.

All Pacific salmon and as many as half of all other salmon species die within just a few weeks of spawning. Those species that don’t die after spawning can spawn for up to three more times. Most salmon species are born in freshwater and migrate to saltwater to live, but then return to rivers and streams for spawning.