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

Shore Anglers Working For Kings

Written By: Dan Bacher,
September 29, 2014

(Sacramento) Salmon fishing has picked up a “little” for shore anglers and waders drift fishing on the American River in the Sailor Bar and Sunrise areas, reported Craig Kamikawa of Fisherman’s Warehouse.

“Most of the fish are from 10 to...

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Big, Bright Chinooks Surge Up the Feather River

Big, Bright Chinooks Surge Up the Feather River

Written By: Dan Bacher,
September 28, 2014

After a hard battle, I finally got the big, silvery salmon right next to the boat in the early morning light. Rob Reimers of Rustic Rob’s Guide Service began the sweep of the net as I lifted the fish’s head towards the surface.  

After...

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Throw Top Water Lures For Stripers

Written By: Dan Bacher,
September 22, 2014

(Sacramento) Until the salmon fishing picks up after water temperatures cool, striped bass offer anglers their best chance of success on the lower American River.

“Anglers are hooking a couple of stripers here and there,” reported Craig...

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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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