Chinook Salmon

Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Chinook Salmon - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Other names King Salmon, Quinnat Salmon, Spring Salmon
Size Up to 1.5 m (4.92 ft)
Weight Up to 60 kg (132 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution In Australia, currently stocked in lakes & reservoirs living towards the surface of open waters.
Depth Range 0 - 100 m (300 ft)
Chinook Salmon Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Chinook salmon are a species of anadromous fish that are native to Pacific Northwest region of North America and have been introduced to certain parts of Australia including, Victoria and Tasmania.
  • They are anadromous, which means they are born in freshwater, migrate to the ocean to grow and mature, and then return to freshwater to spawn.
  • Chinook salmon have a distinctive coloration, with a blue-green back and silver sides, and are often marked with small black spots on their back and tail.
  • Chinook salmon are able to navigate back to the exact stream or river where they were born using their sense of smell and other sensory cues.
  • Their diet varies depending on their location, age, and the availability of prey, but some common prey items include herring, sand lance, smelt, anchovy, and krill.
  • Estimates of lifespan are 3 to 7 years with some individuals living up to 9 years or more.
Species Interaction

Recreational & Commercial Fishing

Chinook salmon are an important fish species for both commercial and recreational fishing. Commercial fishing of Chinook salmon is a major industry in several countries, providing a valuable food source and economic activity. Meanwhile, recreational fishing for king salmon is popular in many areas and contributes to local economies through tourism.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Salmoniformes

Family: Salmonidae

Genus: Oncorhynchus

Species: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Conservation Status

The conservation status of Chinook salmon in Australia is not formally assessed as a separate species, but the species is generally considered to be of Least Concern based on its global distribution and abundance. They are managed as an invasive species in Australia, and efforts are being made to reduce their impact on native fish populations and habitats.

Fish Taste Quality

Chinook salmon are known for its mild, buttery flavour and firm, flaky texture. It is commonly served grilled, baked, or smoked, and is often used in sushi and other raw fish dishes.

Taste Rating: 5/5

How to catch
Chinook Salmon

Catch Difficulty: Intermediate

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig, Artificial Rig

Bait: Herring, Lures, Feather jig, Pilchards, Squid, Soft plastics, Live minnow, Flies

Technique: Slowly sink bait towards bottom, Cast bait/jig/lure near schooling fish, Trolling, Cast lures with a fast retrieve

Popularity: Highly Targeted

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