Scientific classification: Pacific salmon belong to the genus Oncorhynchus.

The Chinook salmon is classified as Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, the sockeye salmon as Oncorhynchus nerka, and the Coho salmon as Oncorhynchus kisutch.


The best-known and most valuable species is the Chinook salmon, which is also known as the king salmon, Columbia River salmon, quinnat, chowichee, and takou. Market specimens of this fish average about 9 kg (about 20 lb) in weight, but numerous specimens more than 1.5 m (more than 5 ft) in length and well over 45 kg (more than 100 lb) in weight have been recorded.

The Chinook salmon migrates farther than any other salmon, often traveling 1600 to 3200 km (1000 to 2000 mi) inland to its spawning ground. Its eggs usually hatch within two months, and the young descend to the sea when they are 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 in) long. The sockeye, red, or blue-black salmon is another valuable species, as is the Coho, or silver salmon, which has light pink flesh.

Other salmon in the Pacific Basin are commonly known as the pink salmon, or humpback salmon, and the chum salmon, or dog salmon.