Last updated on June 3rd, 2023 at 10:03 pm
The chinook salmon is one of the most highly debated fish today. This discussion has been going on for decades and not coming to any conclusion about whether or not it should be harvested.
The question that needs to be asked when thinking about harvesting this species is how does a fishery need to change in order for sustainability.
In other words, how can we protect the Chinook salmon and still have a fishing industry that provides jobs for many people?
The answer to this question is not an easy one. They cannot just change what they do because of sustainability, it would cause too much harm to their community in the process. However, there are some possible solutions being discussed that could provide a more sustainable fishery for the Chinook salmon.
For example, they could make sure that when a human is fishing in traditional fisheries on the coast of Washington and Oregon, they only fish during certain times – typically November to April or March to September. This would allow enough time for adult salmon to spawn before being harvested at sea, as well as provide protection for the juveniles that would have not spawned yet.
This idea is based on a time-area closure model and it has been effective in protecting other species of fish in this way, but there are many who think that this will cause too many problems with catching enough salmon to make up what they need during these months.
However, if all fishers who are not closely related to the fishing communities in this area were able to fish for Chinook salmon, then they may be able to still make up for what they need.
Chinook salmon scientific name
The scientific name for Chinook salmon is Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. It’s also called king, tyee, springer, or blackmouth in certain regions of the world and can be found from northeastern Russia to southern California in North America.
Chinook salmon facts
The Chinook salmon is also known as the king of fish and can be found in a wide range of water sources. They are usually caught with a hook, but they cannot live out of water for more than 15 minutes. Though it’s not common to catch one without fishing gear, if you do happen to find them on dry land, you can still eat them.
The average size of a chinook salmon ranges from 25-30 pounds and an average life span of up to 12 years. They have a high-fat content and are considered one of the most valuable fish.
Chinook salmon habitat
Chinook salmon are native to the Pacific coast of North America, from Northern California and Baja California in Mexico. Chinook (King) Salmon range as far north as Alaska.
They live primarily in cold mountain rivers and streams including those that empty into Puget Sound, Washington State; Fraser River, British Columbia; Oregon’s Rogue River drainage basin; and California’s Klamath River drainage basin.
The average length of a Chinook salmon is approximately 36 inches and weighs between 12 to 40 lbs, though some can be much larger than this with lengths up to 50 inches and weight above 100lbs has also been documented.
The flesh of the fish ranges in color from dark red to pinkish-red and is very rich in omega-fats, vitamin A and D.
Chinook salmon are anadromous fish which means they migrate from freshwater to the ocean as juveniles then return to freshwater streams and rivers to spawn after reaching maturity.
The spawning ground of Chinook Salmon can vary significantly depending on where they were born but in general, the major spawning areas are from Northern California to Southern Alaska.
Chinook salmon life cycle
Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, are the largest of all Pacific Northwest species. Chinooks typically weigh between five and twenty pounds but can get up to forty-five pounds or more in some cases.
They spawn at sea from December through May each year (depending on location) where they feed on krill and herring.
Once they reach a certain size, they head back up to freshwater.
The adults swim upstream and enter the freshwater stream at its mouth or along the shoreline of a tributary or river. They then spawn (make eggs) in shallow water near large boulders, logs, undercut banks, undercut tree roots – anything that provides a place for the eggs to be deposited.
After 30 days, they die and their carcasses provide food for many other species of fish and wildlife. They spawn upriver in a series of shallow riffles (humps or small waves), depositing about 400-500 eggs each time along with sperm from one male on top of her clutch of eggs.
The female then moves to another spot and lays her eggs before going back to the original site for more spawning. This process can be repeated many times over a period of eight hours or more, with females releasing up to 20 million eggs in total during this time!
The males spawn three or four times on average but some have been known to go as high as 12 times.
The eggs are fertilized during spawning and then fall down into the sand, gravel or cobble below where they’re incubated for about two weeks before hatching. The newly hatched fry (baby fish) usually stay in shallow water close to shore while their parents travel upriver until they make it to the dam or weir.
The fry, now called fingerlings, live in the shallow water of a lake for two to three years before they become adults and head out into deeper waters where they can grow up to 20 pounds or more!
Chinook salmon bait (How to catch Chinook salmon)
The most common bait to catch Chinook salmon is herring. You will need a large, open-topped barrel with weights on the bottom and two or three holes drilled in it for drainage – you can make your own out of metal or wood if you don’t have access to a store bought one.
Put about five gallons of herring in the barrel, and add a handful of anchovies or sardines. The more bait you put into the container, the better your chances are of catching Chinook salmon.
Wear gloves while handling any type of fish because their scales will irritate human skin; if this is not possible, wear an old t-shirt you don’t care about getting herring slime on.
If the barrel has a metal top, put it back in place and set up your rod so that you can pull out of the water without having to bend over or get too close to any sharp objects.
If there are no holes drilled into the lid, then drill some into the rim of the lid so that you can place your rod into one and set it up.
Set bait on top or in front of the barrel, with enough weight to keep herring from floating away. If using ground-up sardines instead of whole ones, use a mixture: 30% small pieces mixed with 70% larger chunks.
Cast outline around four feet, and let the bait sit for about five minutes before pulling it in to see if a fish has taken your bait. The herring should be fresh enough that you can tell within three or four seconds of pulling the rod up to see what type of fish is on the other end.
Chinook salmon Lake Michigan
Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan are getting smaller. They could be going extinct, but it’s too soon to say. They swim up the rivers of upper great lakes and spawn on gravel beds; this has been happening for centuries.
Now, there is less sediment along streams because many acres have been paved over or converted to farmland. The rivers have been straightened and channelized, too.
Chinook salmon need a lot of momentum to reach their spawning grounds upstream in lake Michigan so they can spawn there; if it’s easier for them to get there, that means less variation in size among males when they spawn which could lead to extinction.