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Chinook Salmon Fishing Holidays Also known as King Salmon

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All Hail The 'King'

The Chinook Salmon, or ‘Kings’ as their known, are the largest of the five Pacific Salmon species; they are an anadromous fish native to the North Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America. They have also been introduced to other parts of the world, including New Zealand, thriving in Lake Michigan, Great Lakes of North America and Michigan’s western rivers, and Patagonia.

Chinooks may spend one to eight years in the ocean, averaging between three to four, before returning to their home rivers to spawn. The Yukon River in Canada has the longest freshwater migration route globally, at over 3,000 kilometres. The fish average between 10lb and 20lb in size, while fish over 30lb are not uncommon and fish to over 40lb are regularly caught by fly anglers. The largest ever recorded was a massive fish of over 100lb. Their diet generally consists of insects, amphipods, and other crustaceans while young, and primarily other fish when older. Young salmon will feed in streambeds for a short period until they are strong enough to journey out into the ocean and acquire more food.

The Chinook Salmon are famous for their immense power and can be very aggressive, giving the freshwater fly fishing angler a good run for their money. When targeting them, a whole host of methods work, from float fishing to drift fishing and lure fishing to fly fishing. However, the traditional way of catching them and the favoured way is on the fly; a large Chinook Salmon caught on the fly is a very sought after catch.

Below are the top destinations in the world for Chinook Salmon Fishing.

Hosted Goodnews River Lodge Alaska

This exclusive Sportquest-hosted trip ventures into the Alaskan wilderness, to the famous Goodnews River Lodge. This exciting freshwater fly fishing adventure offers travelling rods the opportunity to target and catch all five Pacific Salmon species, as well as Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char and even Dolly Varden.


If you are looking for a Fishing Lodge that puts you and the fishing first, then look no further. Goodnews River Lodge is the ONLY full-service lodge on the entire river system. Experience the solitude and peaceful beauty of Alaska; it’s just you and the fish. No crowds, no flying to the “best” river. It’s all here on the Goodnews River.

King Salmon Caterina River Argentina

In this lonely place of the Andes the King Salmon have developed a healthy population that continues to grow every year due to low fishing pressure and not having many predators. We have developed this fishing as an extension to our Sea Trout fishing packages, it can also be added to our Golden Dorado.

Nicholas Dean Chinook Salmon Canada

The Chinook Salmon, or King Salmon, are the biggest and most aggressive of all the Pacific Salmon species and the Skeena watershed in British Columbia, Canada, is one of the best places to catch them. So if you’re a fly fishing angler looking for one of the ultimate freshwater experiences, then our Nicholas Dean Chinook Salmon package is perfect for you.

Kalum River Lodge Canada

If you are looking for an incredible fly fishing holiday for Steelhead, Salmon or Trout with the comfort of having your own single room with private en suite bathroom our lodge on the banks of the Skeena River is the perfect destination. Our guided Steelhead and Salmon trips offer spectacular fishing for all levels of anglers.

Nicholas Dean Steelhead Fishing Canada

Our famed Nicholas Dean Steelhead fishing packages cover the whole of the Steelhead season in Canada, fishing on the mighty Skeena River and all of its watershed. These ultra-chrome rockets on the Skeena average between 8lb and 20lb; however, there’s always the chance of a more significant specimen and each season fish to over 20lb and even 30lb grace anglers nets.


Bristol Bay Lodge is a fishing paradise for Salmon fishing, each year 40-50 million Sockeye Salmon enter the waters. If you want to experience this spectacular sport, we have the perfect location for you. Bristol Bay Lodge is a fly-out lodge giving you access to many remote unreachable rivers and unbelievable fishing.

Fraser River Lodge Canada

Fraser River Lodge, nestled on the shore of the mighty Fraser River in British Columbia, is the perfect location to spend a relaxing week's holiday while being surrounded by some of the world's best scenery and wildlife. Choose between Sturgeon, Salmon, or Wilderness Fishing. We can customise your fishing trip around your favourite style of fishing.

Alaska trophy adventures lodge

Alaska Trophy Adventures Lodge is the perfect wilderness fishing retreat. Boasting a world-famous run of all five species of Pacific Salmon, plus a host of resident fish, such as Leopard Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char and Grayling. No set itineraries fish with your guides each day for the species of your choice.


No-See-Um Lodge is ranked among the finest Alaskan fly-out fly-fishing operations for over 30 years. The Holman family has a well-earned reputation for pampering its guests. John and his team have many years of experience in fishing and guiding in Alaska. They know the best fishing spots and how to get you there safely.


Located on the Kanektok River, only 5.5 miles from its mouth is by all standards a remarkably diverse fishery. Perfectly suited to both single-hand and spey anglers, offering one of Alaska’s best opportunities to catch Salmon where high catch-rates and easy wading is the norm.


At Mission Lodge, you are never fixed to a set itinerary. Each night the head guide will sit down with you to discuss what you wish to fish for and how they will then explain all the different options. With over 40 boats stashed within fly distance from the lodge, one thing for certain is you will not be short of places to fish.


Rapids Camp sits right on the bank of the famous Naknek River and offers everyone their own private room. This is the most diverse and flexible lodge in Alaska, where you the customer, decide what to fish for in your itinerary each day. All five species of Salmon plus huge Rainbows make this lodge very popular.

Hosted Kalum River Lodge Canada

Designed for complete beginners and experienced fly fishers alike, this hosted Kalum River Lodge trip with our Sportquest Holidays host is perfect for either single anglers or small groups of friends. Enjoy the benefit of having a fully qualified host with you at all times, as well as enjoying privacy and comfort with private single rooms.

Sturgeon Fishing Canada

Our British Columbia Sturgeon fishing tour provides travelling anglers the chance to fish for the mighty White Sturgeon on the Fraser River. These prehistoric river dinosaurs can grow to over 10ft in length and half a tonne in weight, and provide one of the most exciting freshwater fishing challenges on the planet.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Name: Chinook Salmon

Also Know as:  King Salmon, Quinnat Salmon, Spring Salmon, Chrome Hog, and Tyee Salmon

Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha


Chinook salmon, also known as King Salmon, are distinguished by their size and colouration, setting them apart from other Salmon species. They have a blue-green, silver, or deep purple colouration on their back and sides, transitioning to a silvery-white on the belly. Their distinctive black spots on the tail and the upper half of their body, along with their gum line, which is black, are key identification markers. As they return to freshwater to spawn, their colouration shifts dramatically to deep reds and maroons, especially in males, who also develop pronounced hooked jaws called ‘kypes’. This transformation highlights their readiness for the spawning phase of their lifecycle.

Like many other Salmon species, Chinooks can live in both freshwater and saltwater environments throughout their lives. Once they’ve hatched, they’ll spend one to eight years in the ocean, averaging between three and four, before returning to their home rivers to spawn. They require clean, oxygenated water and healthy ocean habitats, and they feast on a diet of small crustaceans and insects while young, primarily other fish, when they age. 


Chinook Salmon can be found in the cold, clear waters of the North Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Monterey Bay in California up to the Chukchi Sea of Alaska and across to the northern parts of Japan and Russia. They are highly sought after in the fishing communities of the Pacific Northwest, particularly in rivers and coastal areas of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

Canada and Alaska are two of the best destinations for travelling rods looking to target them. Each country offers a range of lodges where you can catch them. Goodnews River Lodge, Bristol Bay Lodge, and ATA Lodge in Alaska, along with Kalum River Lodge and Yellow Cedar Lodge (Nicholas Dean) in Canada, are some of the most famous.

In addition to the Pacific Northwest, fish populations were also introduced into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to control the Alewife, an invasive species of nuisance fish from the Atlantic Ocean and the Patagonian waters of South America, where they have established spawning runs. Chinooks have been found spawning in headwater reaches of the Rio Santa Cruz in Argentina, apparently having migrated over one thousand kilometres from the ocean. This fish population is believed to have been derived from a single stocking of juveniles in the lower river around 1930.

The timing for fishing for these popular Salmon species varies by location. However, prime fishing tends to happen in late spring, through to early fall, aligning with their migration patterns back to freshwater rivers and streams for spawning. 

Our top five Chinook Salmon Fishing tours:
Goodnews River Lodge Alaska
King Salmon Caterina River Argentina
Kalum River Lodge Canada
Nicholas Dean Chinook Salmon Canada
Bristol Bay Lodge Alaska


Catching Chinook Salmon, revered for their size and fighting prowess, demands a blend of strategy, patience, and the correct tackle. Many methods work when targeting them, from float fishing to drift fishing and lure fishing to fly fishing. However, the traditional and favoured way is on the fly; a specimen caught in this way is very sought-after.

One of the most popular ways to fly fish for them is a technique called ‘Swinging Flies’. This traditionally uses a double-handed rod and a spey line to cover as much water as possible. The flies swing across the river as the current pulls the line around and presents them close to the bottom, the depth of which will depend on factors like fly line and sink rate tips. Chinooks prefer darker, deeper waters and are usually found below other types of Salmon in holding pools.

If you enjoy swinging flies, we also have a blog dedicated to fishing the Broadside presentation: Swinging Flies For Chinook Salmon.

The large, bulky, vibrant-coloured flies used in this technique aim not to imitate the fish’s food but to provoke them into striking the fly. In clear water and on brighter days, when the Chinooks tend to be less active and more challenging to catch, using a small, lightly dressed fly can be more effective.

If you’re wondering what Chinook Salmon flies you should pack in your fly box; we have a helpful blog dedicated to exactly that: Chinook Flies (King Salmon)—Our Top Patterns & Colours. 

As well as swinging flies, nymphing, and indicator fishing, using a dead drift or slack line presentation, much like you might do for Trout, is also a technique that works. In this instance the focus is on holding water where fish are resting or parked. Depending on the waterway you are fishing, stripping flies using a heavy sink tip and a big fly will also catch you a share of the fish.

If you’re travelling to fish for Pacific Salmon, you may find this blog helpful: King Salmon Fishing Tips & Techniques. 


Chinook Salmon vary significantly in size. A fish between 10lb and 30lb would be considered average, while anything between 30lb and 60lb would be classed as a specimen. However, fish over 100lb have been landed and recorded. Smaller fish under 10lb, called ‘Jacks,’ tend to be immature male fish that have followed the returning shoals of adult fish to spawn in their home rivers.

The official IGFA all-tackle record for a Chinook is 97lb 4oz or 44.11kg, landed from the Kenai River in Alaska in 1985.

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