Chinook Salmon


Threatened (Federal)


The population of Chinook salmon in the Okanagan basin are genetically distinct from every other species of Chinook in Canada. The Chinook is blue-green on the back and top of the head with silvery sides and white abdomen. It has black spots on its tail and the upper half of its body. As they approach fresh water to spawn, the body colour darkens and a reddish hue around the fins and belly
develops. The teeth of adult spawning males become enlarged and the snout develops into a hook. This fish can weigh up to 57 kg.


Chinook salmon are born in fresh water and grow in streams, lakes, estuaries, or the ocean. The Okanagan population spawns in the Okanagan River near the McIntyre Dam, between the dam and Osoyoos Lake. During migration, resident adults may hold in the Okanagan River below the Similkameen confluence or Osoyoos Lake until spawning temperatures are favourable. As young emerge, some remain in Osoyoos Lake or the Okanagan River while other individuals migrate through the Columbia River and into the Pacific Ocean.


Overfishing in the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean
Pollution in the Columbia River
Loss of habitat
Water Quality in spawning habitats
Ecological effects of invasive species in Osoyoos Lake

You Can Help!

Ensure that Chinook spawning grounds are accessible by the fish and left undisturbed
Support river restoration efforts from Okanagan Falls to Osoyoos
Get involved locally in BC Rivers Clean Up Day
Assist with efforts to clean up Osoyoos Lake