Scientific Name
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook Salmon
Image Credit
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
30-100 centimetres (12-39 inches)
3.1-6.8 kilograms (7-15 pounds)
  • spend most of the year in the cold waters of the Great Lakes
  • return to tributary streams to spawn
  • elongated, moderately deep-bodied fish
  • blue or green back
  • silvery sides
  • white belly
  • spotted tail
  • black mouth and gums
  • leading ray on anal fin extends ⅓ the length of the fin
  • short, narrow caudal peduncle (where body and tail join)
  • gather at the mouth of rivers in the late summer and early fall before migrating upstream to spawn
Angling Tips
  • strong fighter, popular with anglers for its size
  • extremely light-sensitive, so unlikely to feed on the surface
  • usually stop feeding once they move upstream in fall, but are aggressive and territorial and will hit lures in defense — try rattle baits, spinners and plugs
  • downrigging and trolling work best when fishing in the Great Lakes
  • troll deep with plugs, spoons and live or dead bait
  • still-fish in moderately deep water using live, salted or fresh-cut herring
Common Bait
  • plugs, spoons
  • trolling flies
  • live or dead bait