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Tags: chinook | salmon | oregon | fishing | state fish

Chinook Salmon: 9 Facts About Oregon's Official State Fish

By    |   Friday, 29 January 2016 06:44 PM EST

The state of Oregon designated the Chinook or king salmon as its state fish in 1961. The newly minted state of Alaska then followed suit in 1962. Here are nine facts about the Chinook salmon that help to explain why it is so important to fishing in Oregon and elsewhere.

1. The Chinook is the biggest of all of the Pacific salmons, growing as long as 53 inches and weighing as much as 126 pounds, according to State Symbols USA.

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2. Its Pacific Ocean habitat ranges all the way from Southern California to the Canadian Arctic.

3. The king salmon is born in freshwater, migrates to the ocean during the second year of its life, and swims back to freshwater by the age of seven years to spawn and then die.

The scientific term for this behavior pattern is anodromous.

4. In Oregon, the Chinook salmon provides sportfishing both in rivers and the ocean, according to the Oregon Blue Book.

5. The Chinook salmon is also a major part of commercial fishing operations in Oregon.

6. For the coastal Native Americans who originally inhabited Oregon, salmon served as the basis of life. They placed the salmon in very high esteem, holding special rites around the coming of the salmon and the spearing and roasting of the fish.

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Native American tribes, such as the Chehalis and Yakimas, made special prayers of thanksgiving to their god for the salmon as well as for strawberries and other first fruits of the season that were part of annual feasts.

7. Chinook salmon make their spawning migrations during the spring, summer and fall.

In Oregon, the biggest runs happen in the Rogue, Umpqua, and Columbia rivers and the larger coastal streams, the Blue Book says.

While swimming for up to 60 days from the ocean to their home streams, salmon do not feed and their stored body materials gradually dissipate.

Upon reaching home again, the female salmon deposits up to 14,000 eggs in gravel nests, where newly hatched youngsters then live for several weeks.

8. Young salmon consume plankton and later insects while in the streams, before moving on to creatures like herring, squid, pilchard, and crustaceans in the ocean habitat, reported State Symbols USA.

9. Even today, salmon remain an important source of food for humans, who eat the meat fresh, frozen, canned, or smoked, the Oregon Blue Book said.

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The state of Oregon designated the Chinook or king salmon as its state fish in 1961. The newly minted state of Alaska then followed suit in 1962. Here are nine facts about the Chinook salmon that help to explain why it is so important to fishing in Oregon and elsewhere.
chinook, salmon, oregon, fishing, state fish
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2016-44-29
Friday, 29 January 2016 06:44 PM
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