Chum Salmon

Oncorhynchus keta
The vivid green and purple of the spawning chum salmon decorate refuge streams in fall/USFWS Photo

Chum salmon are an important part of the Willapa Bay ecosystem. As the spawned-out carcasses of the adults decompose, they seep valuable nutrients into the streams and forests where these fish are found. Later, their young swim out to the estuary as tiny fry, providing a critical food source for other salmonids, such as sub-adult Coho Salmon, who are putting on weight before heading out to sea.


Spawning season occurs from late October to early November. Visit your favorite creek during that time to watch this colorful fish surge up in groups during high tide and after heavy rains.

Facts About Chum Salmon

Largest range of all the Pacific salmon

Spawn in coastal rivers and the lower reaches of streams

Spawning colors are green with vertical purple stripes

Also known as “dog salmon” because they are used as food for sled dogs