Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, grow to be the largest salmon. Chinook salmon are considered spring, summer, or fall runs, depending on when the adults leave the ocean.
Spring and summer Chinook spawn in tributary streams to the Clearwater and Salmon rivers during August and September. Young spring and summer Chinook live for a year in Idaho streams before migrating to the ocean in April and May. In the ocean they move northward along the coast to the Gulf of Alaska. Chinook spend 1-5 years at sea, although most only spend 2 or 3 years there.
Fall Chinook spawn in the main stem Clearwater, Salmon and Snake rivers during October and November. Young fall Chinook live in their rivers for a few months to a year before migrating to the ocean. They don’t travel as far in the ocean and live near the coast.