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Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon
  • Mouth is dark with a black gum line
  • Large, sharp teeth
  • Spots on both lobes of tail
  • Large spots on back

Chinook have a dark mouth and black gums at the base of its teeth.  Immature chinook are known as a blackmouth.

Chinook Head

Both the upper and lower lobes of the tail are covered with spots and silver is prominent.

Chinook Tail

Chinook (King) Salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Other names: king, tyee, blackmouth (immature)
Average size: 
10-15 lbs, up to 135 lbs

Chinook salmon are the largest of the Pacific salmon, with some individuals growing to more than 100 pounds. These huge fish are rare, as most mature chinook are under 50 pounds.

Most chinook spawn in large rivers such as the Columbia and Snake, although they will also use smaller streams with sufficient water flow. They tend to spawn in the mainstem of streams, where the water flow is high. Because of their size they are able to spawn in larger gravel than most other salmon.

Chinook spawn on both sides of the Cascade Range and some fish travel hundreds of miles upstream before they reach their spawning grounds. Because of the distance, these fish enter streams early and comprise the spring and summer runs. Fall runs spawn closer to the ocean and more often use small coastal streams. All chinook reach their spawning grounds by fall, in time to spawn.

Allways (All Ways) Fishing by Expert Fishing Guide Randy Lato provides Salmon and Steelhead
River Guide and Ocean Charter Services for the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.