The Chinook Salmon
Scientific Classification and Common Names
The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), is a species of anadromous fish. It is also known as 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.
The Biggest Salmon
When it comes to angling, size always matters and always favours the largest fish. And when it comes to the Chinook Salmon, it is the largest of the Salmon species. In fact, the largest Chinook Salmon ever caught was a staggering 126 pounds/57 kilograms.
Coupled with their abundant numbers, it is one of the most important sport fish in the world, just above bass fishing. It is also a very important fish in the commercial fish industry.
The Chinook Salmon is an anadromous species, sea going fish. However, it can easily adapt to freshwater as though it had never been to the ocean, spawning without any issues.
It has become a major player in the sport fish industry of North America with the introduction to the Great Lakes of Canada and the United States.
A Sea Going Fish That Loves Freshwater
Shape and Color
The Chinook Salmon has a compressed body with the larger trophy fishes appearing stockier. The head is a typical cone shaped associated with the Salmonide family of fish.
As is with other Salmon, the Chinook Salmon changes colour for spawning. The mail is more brightly coloured that the female. Color ranges from a gold copper to a bright red.
Chinook salmon do not feed during their freshwater spawning migration. This likely has to do with their turned up jaw, which makes feeding rather difficult. Nevertheless, their condition deteriorates significantly.
Chinook in freshwater feed on plankton, insects, herring, pilchards, sand lance, squid, and crustaceans. Saltwater Chinook Salmon spend much less time on insects focusing more on fish, squid and crustaceans.