Chinook salmon, or Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, is an exciting species of Pacific salmon with a ton of interesting facts about their lifestyle, breeding practices, and migration. For those interested in salmon fishing, particularly fishing for chinook, there are essential facts to be informed of before your trip.

7 Details to Know About Chinook Salmon

1. Big Fish

Chinook salmon is the largest of the Pacific salmon species. The fish that holds the world record weighed in at a whopping 126 pounds and measured 53 inches in length.

2. Feeding Preference

While they will eat insects, amphipods, and crustaceans during their youth, this particular type of salmon is piscivorous during adulthood, which means they enjoy a meal made of other fish.

3. Early Migration

Chinook prefer to spawn in large rivers anywhere from California to Alaska. Salmon fishing experts call chinook spring salmon because they migrate back to these rivers earlier than other types of salmon on the Pacific Coast.

4. Nicknames

salmon fishingChinook salmon have many nicknames in the salmon fishing world. They are sometimes call king, blackmouth, quinnat, chub, and, for those over 30 pounds, tyee.

5. Fresh Water

This species of salmon gives birth in fresh water, with the young fish remaining up to a year before migrating to the ocean. They will return to fresh water to spawn between two and seven years later and will also spend the remainder of their life there.

6. Color Spectrum

The flesh of adult chinook ranges from white to dark red, with many varieties sporting a pinkish hue. Their body color also changes as they begin to settle in fresh water for reproduction. Usually, their outside darkens, and they develop a reddish tint on their fins and stomach area.

7. Respect

Native Americans along the Pacific Coast revered the chinook salmon. They viewed them as the basis for life and performed special rituals when the fish returned during their migration cycle. Many tribes prayed to the salmon god to ensure a good harvest that year.


Auke Bay, AK’s Big Jim’s Charters offers fishing charters, whale watching expeditions, and other sightseeing charters for those visiting the Juneau area. As the top salmon fishing service since 1998, the company provides exciting trips through local waters, including private charters and cruises for guests to relax and enjoy the view. To learn more about their salmon fishing expeditions, call (866) 244-5467 or visit them online