This is an old webpage carried forward to our new site. Please note that some of the information might be out of date and we probably have newer footage.


There are 5 species of salmon along the Pacific Coast of North America; the chinook (aka king), the sockeye (aka red), the humpback (aka pink), the coho (aka silver), and the chum (aka dog). In the Atlantic Ocean there is the Atlantic salmon. Salmon are characterized by change so its not surprising that they often have several names. For example, the sockeye turns a brilliant red color as it reaches its spawning streams.

Salmon are of course famous for their anadromous lifestyle. They begin their life as eggs in freshwater streams high in oxygen. They spend their early years as fry and fingerlings in the stream. Eventually they swim downstream to the ocean where they will spend the next 3-4 years. At that point they swim back to the same stream where they were born. If they survive the gauntlet of bears, eagles, fishermen, seals, etc. they reach the shallow waters of the stream where they spawn, perpetuating the cycle of life. Like the buffalo and the Plains indians, the salmon and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest are inextricably linked.

Filming Salmon Stock Footage

Filming salmon is primarily a matter of being in the right place at the right time. In North America that means the Pacific Coast from the summer through winter (there use to be abundant salmon runs in the Atlantic but they are all but gone). Run dates do vary greatly by location and species. Although the general season a particular run will occur is predictable, the fish often wait out in the ocean until just the right flow is coming out of the river, this usually means a high flow due to rains. So its best to check with a state wildlife agency as they can tell you where the fish are running. Many states and provinces have special facilities for viewing salmon such as platforms near falls where the salmon leap out of the water and viewing windows by fish ladders located by dams. Cameras with flash memory cards are preferred over tape as you can keep the camera running until the fish jump out of the water. Some cameras also have a 6-10 second pre-recorded cache that also works well for salmon. If you are filming salmon from above the water a polarizer filter can help reduce the glare of the water’s surface. Of course filming salmon is only part of the story; if you can get to a place where the bears, eagles, and other critters are feeding on the bounty that adds even more to the story.