|Looking for salmon swimming upstream|
First of all, this link will give you plenty of details about the seven stages of the salmon's life cycle. But mostly, it's good to know that salmon are born in freshwater before heading to the sea, where they spend the majority of their lives. Salmon live for different numbers of years, depending on the species, and then they head back to the freshwater where they were born to spawn. Spawning is when they begin to make dramatic physical changes and begin the process again. From that link:
Interestingly, salmon in the spawner stage will migrate back to almost the same exact spot where they were born. Species like the Chum salmon will migrate up to 2000 miles to spawn! The distance they go depends on the species and the river. Upon reaching the gravel beds, the females will lay their eggs in the gravel while the males fertilize them with something called “milt.” This spawning “run” occurs during the summer months and provides the best fishing opportunities.We saw two adults resting in the water, still alive, but on their way out, having done what they set out to do: return to the spot where they were first born. I learned that these salmon are not good to eat (by humans, at least), but they provide nutrients for other creatures.
Living here in the Pacific Northwest, I've learned to appreciate the varying flavors of several different species of salmon, but my favorite is Sockeye, and I learned that they live the longest before returning home to spawn.