River Salmon Information
River Salmon
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

Upper River Will Reopen May 1

Written By: Dan Bacher,
April 15, 2014

The American River from Nimbus Dam to the SMUD power line crossing at the southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park will reopen to fishing on May 1. The purpose of the closure by the Fish and Game Commission is to protect salmon and...

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Flows Increased Briefly To Help Salmon

Written By: Dan Bacher,
March 17, 2014

The Bureau of Reclamation s raised flows on the American River below Nimbus Dam from 500 cfs to 1000 cfs for one day to assistance juvenile salmon in migrating down to salt water.

The fish pulse flows went up to 1,000 cfs on March 5 and...

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Upper River Closes To Fishing Thru April 30

Written By: Dan Bacher,
March 5, 2014

The American River from Nimbus Dam to the SMUD power line crossing at the southwest boundary of Ancil Hoffman Park is now closed to all fishing until April 30 to protect steelhead and salmon populations impacted by the record drought.

The...

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Tips & Tactics for River Salmon
Anchovy, I Love You!

Anchovy, I Love You!

Written By: Cal Kellogg

Just the other day I found myself setting on a deer stand on a ridge high in the Tahoe National Forest. The hunting was great except for...

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Kayak Review: Jackson Big Tuna

Kayak Review: Jackson Big Tuna

Written By: Headwaters Fishing Team

What I experienced today was akin to courting a girl for months and upon meeting her family - oh my goodness; hot for sister! Big sister...

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For Sale Fish Sniffer 2013 Willie Raptor

For Sale Fish Sniffer 2013 Willie Raptor

Written By: FishSniffer Staff

Once again, the Fish Sniffer is prowling the waters of Northern California in a beautiful 21’ Willie Raptor.  The Raptor is an...

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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.

River Salmon Videos

Presented by Angler West TV

Columbia River Fall Chinook & Shasta Lake Trout

Presented by Angler West TV

Feather River Salmon 2013


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