Chinook Salmon

By: Michael Holzrichter

Also known as

King salmon, tyee salmon, Columbia River salmon, black salmon, chub salmon, hook bill salmon, winter salmon and blackmouth.

Where they are found

Chinook salmon range from Kotzebue Sound, Alaska, to Santa Barbara, California. Spawning and rearing chinook are found in most of the rivers in this region, with significant runs in the Columbia River, Rogue River, and Puget Sound.

Why they are endangered

Salmonid species on the west coast of the U.S. have experienced dramatic declines in abundance during the past several decades as a result of various human-induced and natural factors. There is no single factor solely responsible for this decline, given the complexity of the salmon species life history and the ecosystem in which they reside.

Why it is important Ecologically

The Chinook salmon is an important keystone species of the Pacific Northwest. It is a vital food source for a diversity of wildlife, including orca whales, bears, seals and large birds of prey. Chinook salmon is also prized by people who harvest salmon both commercially and for sport.

Why it is important Economically

Chinook salmon is highly valued by commercial fishermen, despite their scarcity relative to other Pacific salmon along most of the Pacific coast. Chinook salmon is also an important subsistence fish and a valuable recreational resource.