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Salmon and trout

Science, volunteer opportunities, and Endangered Species Act response

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Salmon and trout in King County, Washington and the northwest

Pink salmon
Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

Pink salmon - Oncorhynchus gorbuschaPink salmon, also called "humpies," are the smallest of the Pacific salmon. They are usually found in watersheds closer to the salt water, and not in waterways far inland. We don't find as many chum as other species of salmon in King County streams, but we do find a few in the creeks that feed directly into Puget Sound. But, pink salmon sometimes "stray" and can be seen spawning in creeks that you wouldn't expect! If you see a salmon, here's some tips to use to determine whether or not it's a pink salmon...

Photos from Inland Fishes of Washington by Whitney and Wydoski, © 1979 University of Washington Press. Reprinted by permission of the University of Washington Press.

PinkM
Adult Male Pink Salmon.

PinkF
Adult Female Pink Salmon.

Identification characteristics:

  • Rare in Lake Washington Watershed
  • Oval-shaped black spots on back and caudal fin
  • Males have very large humpback
  • Tail is very forked
  • Range in length from 14 to 30 inches

Spawn timing:

  • August through October only in ODD-numbered years in our area

Now that you know all about identifying salmon in streams, test yourself! Click on the mystery fish page to find out more!