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Buy Alaska King Salmon - Chinook

(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

The largest species of salmon, and least abundant is known as the King Salmon or Chinook. It's a great tasting fish and can weigh more than 40 pounds. The most common flesh color is red but it's possible to find white king salmon as well. When deciding which variety of salmon to purchase consider that the king salmon has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids at 1.7 grams per serving.

Fast fact: The king salmon is Alaska's state fish. The largest Alaskan king ever caught was a 126-pounder in 1949 in a fish trap.

*Get an Alaska fish processing job during the summer and see king salmon up close and personal!

You can distinguish an adult chinook salmon from other species by the irregular black spots on the fish's dorsal fins, back, and on both lobs of the tail. Look closely and you'll also notice black coloration along the gum line, which is the reason you sometimes hear the term "blackmouth" in reference to chinook. More...

  • While in saltwater Chinook salmon are muscular, deep-bodied fish with a blue-green coloration on the back, which gives way to a silverish color on the sides and a white underside.
  • While in fresh water and spawning the colors range from red to almost copper to nearly black, depending on geographic location and the level of maturation.
  • Male king salmon are more deeply colored than females and also are distinguished by a ridged back and a hooked nose or upper jaw.
  • Juvenile chinook in fresh water streams and rivers can be identified by well-developed parr marks, which are bisected by the lateral line.

King salmon, like all other species, are anadromous. What does that mean?

  • They hatch in fresh water,
  • spend some of their life in the ocean, and
  • then spawn in fresh water.

All king or chinook salmon die quickly after spawning. Chinook salmon typically become sexually mature between their second and seventh year, and therefore the size of spawning fish varies greatly. An adult 3-year-old fish will likely weigh less than 4 pounds, while a 7-year-old may weigh in at over 50 pounds. Female kings typically take longer to mature, and in most spawning runs the males will outnumber females in all but the 6- and 7-year age age groupings. A 'jack' is a small king salmon that matured after only one winter in the ocean.

The months of May, June, and July are the hottest for king salmon fishing in Alaska's streams.


Learn about: Wild Alaska Coho Salmon >>>

Wild Alaska salmon, halibut, blackcod, & king crab legs

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