That’s one big salmon found in Battle Creek

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This is not a year when you would expect to find a monster chinook salmon in California waters. The salmon runs have been so bad that the commercial and recreational chinook catch was canceled off the California and Oregon coast last spring.

But when state Department of Fish and Game biologists conducted their survey of fall-run chinook last month, they came across the carcass of one of the largest chinook ever recorded in California. The fish, which had died of natural causes as part of the natural spawning cycle, was found in lower Battle Creek near Red Bluff in Northern California.

Based on its measurements (51 inches long), biologists estimated the fish’s live weight could have surpassed the state record, an 88-pound chinook caught in the Sacramento River.

The salmon counted in the fall surveys typically weigh 20 to 30 pounds.


Fishery biologists are keeping their fingers crossed that the giant, thought to be about 6 years old, was a successful spawner.

-- Bettina Boxall