USGS - science for a changing world

Western Fisheries Research Center

Home About Us Field Stations Lead Scientists Research Projects Species Studied Publications Research Resources

Director's
Welcome
WFRC
Newsletter
Weekly
Highlights
Outreach Partners Tribal
Relations
Facilities:
Managing
Green

Columbia River Research Laboratory

Station Home | About Us | Scientific and Taxonomic Emphases | Research | Species Studied | Tribal Relations | Publications | Partnerships | Staff | Directions

Species Studied

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook salmon is the largest of the Pacific salmon species and adults can exceed 40 pounds. The species exhibits a variety of juvenile life history types, and young fish can spend anywhere from 3 months to 2 years in a diverse range of freshwater habitats before migrating to the sea to begin their marine existence. Chinook salmon remain at sea for 1 to 6 years (more commonly 2 to 4 years) before returning to fresh water to spawn. Chinook salmon are divided into “runs” (i.e., spring, summer, fall, or winter) depending on the time of year fish return to spawn, and single rivers may support multiple runs. Returning adults are powerful swimmers and some populations swim upstream hundreds of miles to reach their spawning grounds. A female Chinook salmon digs a spawning nest called a redd in which she and a courting male deposit eggs and milt. Chinook salmon are semelparous and die after they spawn. There are numerous Chinook salmon stocks in the Columbia River basin that are currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, but the fall Chinook salmon that spawn in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River is considered one of the few healthy stocks.

Photograph of Chinook Salmon Photograph of Chinook Salmon

Some of the links provided on this page may be presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: https://wfrc.usgs.gov/fieldstations/columbia/chinook.html
Page Contact Information: Debra Becker
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 08-Dec-2016 08:26:56 EST