Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon
Fish image provided under agreement from Windsor Nature Discovery, LLC. Fish image created by Ron Pittard. Click here if you would like to purchase a print of this fish.
Chinook Salmon
Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha
Salmonidae
king salmon, spring salmon, tyee, quinnat, tule, blackmouth, Sacramento River salmon, Columbia River salmon; French: saumon chinook, saumon royal; Japanese: masunosuke
Adults are iridescent green to blue-green on the back and top of head. The sides are silvery, turning to white on the belly. They have black spots (at least a few) on the upper half of their body and on all fins. Chinook differ from Coho salmon and other Great Lakes salmonids by having grey or black mouth coloration with teeth set in the black gums, a squared tail with spots on both halves, and 15-19 rays in the anal fin.
Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon
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Native to the Pacific Coast from southern California, to northern Alaska and on the Asian shore to Japan. Although introduced into the Great Lakes intermittently since 1877, they were not firmly established until massive plantings began in 1967. They are now found in all of the Great Lakes. In the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, they are abundant from Kenosha, to Washington Island, and into Green Bay.
Chinook salmon generally spawn near riffles in large rivers or large tributaries. They tend to spawn in deeper water and on larger gravel than other Pacific salmon. Fresh- water populations may spawn in rivers flowing into a lake, or on gravel shoals in the lake. The males and females are aggressive on the spawning grounds.

State Chinook Salmon Records:

  • Illinois State Record:
    37 lbs 0 ozs caught by Marge Landeen caught on Lake Michigan on August 7, 1976.
  • Indiana State Record:
    38 lbs 0 ozs caught by Rich Baker caught on Trail Creek on January 1, 1980.
  • Michigan State Record:
    46 lbs 0 ozs caught by Ray Essex caught on Grand River on January 1, 1978.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    33 lbs 4 ozs caught on Poplar River on September 23, 1989.
  • Minnesota State Record:
    33 lbs 4 ozs caught on Lake Superior on October 12, 1989.
  • Wisconsin State Record:
    44 lbs 15 ozs caught on Lake Michigan on July 19, 1994.