Fish

A school of coho fry take shelter in a refuge stream/USFWS Photo

The Columbia River estuary provides habitat for a large number of freshwater and marine fish species. Scroll down to learn more about some of the refuge’s finned residents…

  • Chinook Salmon

    Chinook salmon are the largest Pacific salmon/USFWS Photo

    The largest of all the Pacific salmon, the Chinook, or king, salmon can grow to weigh over 100 pounds.

    Discover more about this giant…

  • Chum Salmon

    Chum salmon spawn in refuge streams/USFWS Photo

    Also known as dog salmon, the chum is one of the most commonly seen spawning salmon in refuge streams.

    Learn more about why these fish are called “dogs”…

  • Coho Salmon

    Coho salmon smolts linger in refuge streams and Willapa Bay as they grow into adults/USFWS Photo

    These salmon turn a bright red both inside and out as they return to natal streams to spawn.

    Learn more about coho…

  • Cutthroat Trout

    Coastal cutthroat trout need clear, cold streams in which to spawn/Photo Courtesy of Gary Marson

    This trout was named after William Clark. The coastal cutthroat may return to sea several times in its lifespan.

    Uncover more about the unusual life of the cutthroat trout…

  • Eulachon

    Eulachon are also called candlefish/Photo Courtesy of James Crip

    This small fish is also known as Pacific smelt or candlefish. They are an anadromous fish returning to rivers along the Pacific Coast to spawn. In the 1990s populations declined and the eulachon was listed as Federally threatened in 2010.

  • Green Sturgeon

    Green sturgeon are a threatened fish species/Photo Courtesy of CA State Water Resources

    Ranging along the Pacific coast, the green sturgeon was listed as a threatened species in 2006. This ancient, bottom-dwelling fish has a long, pointed snout.

  • Sculpin

    Sculpin are bottom-dwelling fish that inhabit refuge streams/USFWS Photo

    Sculpins are highly camouflaged bottom dwellers.

    Discover more about this highly adapted fish family…

  • Steelhead

    Steelhead Juvenile photo

    Unlike salmon, steelhead survives after spawning and may return to spawn two to three times throughout its life.

  • Western Brook Lamprey

    Western brook lamprey have no teeth/USFWS Photo

    This fish spends most of its life as a blind juvenile and does not feed as an adult.

    Discover more about the western brook lamprey…

  • White Sturgeon

    White sturgeon travel in the Columbia River estuary

    This shark-like fish has a broad, rounded snout. It can grow up to 12.5 ft (3.8 m) and weigh over one ton! 

    Uncover more about this ancient fish…

  • Species List

     View a list of fish found in the Columbia River Estuary...