Chinook Salmon Fishing

Chinook Salmon Fishing

The Chinook salmon, also known as the king salmon as well as a number of other names, is the state fish of Alaska. This powerful Pacific Ocean dweller is among the most prized of all salmon because of its large size and excellent flavor. The Chinook is blue-green or purple on the back and top of the head with silvery sides and white ventral surfaces. It has black spots on its tail and the upper half of its body. Its mouth is often dark purple. Adult fish range in size from 33 to 36 in but may be up to 58 inches in length; they average 10 to 50 pounds but may reach 130 pounds.

Chinook Salmon Fishing Locations


The Pacific Ocean and Rivers feeding from the Pacific Ocean provide some of the best Chinook Salmon Fishing in the world. Chinook salmon range from San Francisco Bay in California to north of the Bering Strait in Alaska, and the arctic waters of Canada and Russia. Populations occur in Asia as far south as the islands of Japan. The Columbia River in Oregon And Washington provides some of the largest fisheries for the Chinook Salmon. In Alaska, they are abundant from the southeastern panhandle to the Yukon River. Some Chinooks return to the fresh water one or two years earlier than their counterparts, and are referred to as “Jack” salmon. “Jack” salmon can be half the size of an adult Chinook salmon, and are usually released by sportsmen but kept by commercial fishermen.

Chinook Salmon Fishing Guide

Chinook Salmon Fishing Guide

Chinook Salmon Fishing Seasons

In Oregon and Washington we have many different Salmon fishing seasons for many different types of Salmon. Some these buoy 10 coho and Chinook salmon fishing Guides seasons are the Famous “Buoy 10” Salmon season at the mouth of the Columbia river which offers opportunities to fish for both coho and Chinook salmon on the Coast of Oregon and Washington at Astoria, Oregon and Ilwaco, Washington.The Spring Chinook Salmon season on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, Rogue River and Tillamook Bay. In the Fall we have fishing for big king salmon or fall Chinook as they are known here in the Pacific Northwest on the Oregon Coast and Washington Coast at popular salmon fishing locations such as Tillamook Bay and Portland Oregon.

Fishing for King Salmon

King Salmon Fishing

Alaska is known for its salmon fishing, and king salmon are the largest family, with individual fish weighing in at over 100 pounds. The season for king salmon fishing is in the summer, as the fish swim back from the Pacific Ocean into the rivers to spawn. King salmon season runs from the middle of May each year. It ends on July 31 in all freshwater locations. Charter fishing trips out into the ocean near Seward catch King Salmon during the early summer as they start to migrate inland.

Chinook Salmon Fishing Techniques

Chinook Salmon fishing charters

Chinook Salmon charters

Several methods are used for salmon trolling. Downriggers are a popular method to run tackle with many variations possible. In sunny conditions increase your downrigger leads to 100 feet or more. By running long leads you work water undisturbed by noise and turbulence of the boat. Leadcore is another good choice. A weighted line with a fluorocarbon leader is attached to a planer board. The planer board is run well off to the side of the boat out of the travel path. Leadcore is graduated to allow five feet of depth for every color. Five colors will run lures approximately 25 feet down 10 colors fifty feet and so on. This allows you to fish any depth you want and is a killer for huge kings. Chinook live four and a half years and it makes sense that they will be the biggest at the end of their life cycle. These monsters will be the most aggressive and easiest to get in the months of July through September. I have produced Kings over twenty pounds in April, although this is the exception to the rule.

Lures To Use

Let’s wrap this up with my favorite lures. Magnum spoons are my first choice. Big lures for big fish with a consideration to the size of the baitfish and amount of light in the time period you are fishing. When fishing in very bright conditions or with the presence of small baitfish go to regular or small lures. Magnum spoons are about five inches long, regular four inches and small three inches. For a slow 2.0 M.P.H. or slower presentation I use the Reaper. Above 2.0 speeds the Vulcan is best, it mixes well with most big plugs and flasher flies.

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