River Salmon General Information

The king salmon, or chinook, is the largest of the pacific salmon. Their range is from Monterey California to Point Hope Alaska. They are an anadromous species and most pacific coast rivers that provide adequate flows, temperatures and habitat suitable for ascending, spawning, and rearing young sustain king salmon runs. There may be up to three runs per year; spring, summer, and fall.

The average weight for California strains on chinook is around 18-22 pounds with the record fish weighing in at just over 50 pounds. The largest kings come from Alaska where 50 to 60 pound fish are common.

King salmon return to the river of their birth at ages from 2 to 7 years. While out to sea they have been known to migrate across the north Pacific and trips of over 7,000 miles have been recorded. The longest spawning run is the Yukon River, Alaska in which the fish must swim close to 2,000 miles up river. Salmon use a combination of smell, solar navigation, visual clues, and an awareness of length of days, light intensities, and other factors to navigate.

King salmon spawn I beds of course gravel, 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The female digs out a nest, called a redd, with her tail and body. The female then deposits her eggs while the male simultaneously fertilizes them with jets of milt. The eggs then adhere to the bottom of the nest. The eggs are covered with gravel. The female may build more than one redd over several days. Both male and females die within a few days after spawning. The decaying flesh of the dead parents provide food for organism which the fry feed upon after leaving the nest. The fry stay in the nest for 2 to 3 weeks after hatching and may remain in the river system for up to 18 months before heading out to sea.

The esophagus of the chinook soon closes upon their entry into fresh water. King salmon will not feed during their spawning runs. The only way to hook one is by eliciting an aggressive response. There are a number of lures and methods for accomplishing this. The king salmon like deep holes and channels which are the most likely places to find them. One of the most common methods is to tie anchovy or sardine filets to a large flatfish or kwickfish and drift downstream over deep holes.

Recent River Salmon Articles & Reports

Lower River Adult Salmon Quota Reached

Written By: Dan Bacher,
September 17, 2014

(Klamath) The yearly recreational quota of adult fall-run Chinook salmon has been met in the lower Klamath River and size restrictions went into effect on Sept. 5, 2014.

The 2014 lower river quota of 2,064 adult fall-run Chinook salmon...

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Quality Kings Cooperate

Written By: Cal Kellogg,
September 17, 2014

(Redding) Big, chrome bright Sacramento River salmon are being caught between Redding and Red Bluff. If salmon aren’t your cup of tea, fishing for the river’s wild rainbows is great option too.

“The report hasn’t changed much recently,”...

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Salmon and Steelhead

Salmon and Steelhead

Written By: Al Brown Guide Service,
September 17, 2014

The Salmon are moving upriver fast ,one day it will be limits for everyone and 2 days later you will only hook a couple fish. That is Salmon fishing. I have been drifting Roe or back bouncing Roe with good success and we have also hooked...

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Tips & Tactics for River Salmon
Target Sacramento Salmon From The Bank With Spinners

Target Sacramento Salmon From The Bank With Spinners

Written By: Roland Aspiras

The salmon season will be in full swing when this article appears in The Fish Sniffer. There are two popular ways to fish spinners from...

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Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Salmon, Trout, Lingcod, Kokanee, Halibut And More: Are YOU Using Gulp! And PowerBait?

Written By: Cal Kellogg

I’m of the opinion that in most situations well-presented natural baits will outperform artificials. Following this philosophy, when the...

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Back Bouncing For Salmon

Back Bouncing For Salmon

Written By: Mike McNeilly

To a back bouncer, there is nothing like feeling the rhythmic thump of your sinker as you slowly walk it downstream with the current....

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River Salmon Locations
River Salmon Locations


Recent Reader's Photo

Caught by:

ridenfish

on:
Species: River Salmon

My first salmon was a good one. We had a mini derby among friends with a winner takes all pot. Got our boat the prize of $170! Caught on Silvertron trolling downstream near Steamboat Slough.



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