Introduction to Chinook (King) Salmon
When it comes to angling size always matters and always favors the largest fish. And when it comes to the Chinook or King Salmon, it’s the largest of the Salmon species. In fact the largest King Salmon ever caught was a staggering 126 pounds/57 kilograms.
Coupled with their abundant numbers, this is one of the most important sport fish in the world, placed just above bass fishing. It’s also a very important fish to the commercial fishing industry.
The Chinook Salmon is an anadromous* sea going fish. It can easily adapt to freshwater as though it had never been to the ocean, spawning without any issues in freshwater rivers.
It’s a major player in the sport fish industry of North America with it’s introduction to the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States.
Shape and Color
The Chinook Salmon has a compressed body with the larger trophy fish appearing stockier. The head is a typical cone shaped associated with the Salmonide family of fish.
As is the case with other Salmon, the Chinook Salmon changes color for spawning. The male is more brightly colored than the female with color ranging from a gold copper to a bright red.
Chinook salmon don’t feed during their freshwater spawning migration. This is most likely due to their turned up jaw, which makes feeding rather difficult. Nevertheless, their condition deteriorates significantly. Click here to find out more about the salmon spawning process
- Chinook in freshwater feed on plankton, insects, herring, pilchards, sand lance, squid, and crustaceans
- Saltwater Chinook Salmon spend much less time on insects and focus more on fish, squid and crustaceans
This is a sea going fish that loves freshwater.
Now for the names
Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), is a species of anadromous* fish. Other names it’s known by include the King salmon, Tyee salmon, Columbia River salmon, Black salmon, Chub salmon, Hook bill salmon, Winter salmon, Spring Salmon, Quinnat Salmon and Blackmouth.
Chinook Salmon are typically divided into races with spring chinook, summer chinook and fall chinook being most common. Races are determined by the timing of adult entry into fresh water. A winter chinook run is recognized in the Sacramento River.
*anadromous is a fish that migrates from the saltwater oceans and seas to spawn in freshwater rivers and streams