- Black sea bass have dangerously sharp spines on their dorsal fin that can puncture human skin.
- The all-tackle world record for black sea bass is 9 pounds, 8 ounces.
- When hooked in deep water and brought quickly to the surface, a black sea bass will often regurgitate its stomach contents.
Chinook salmon (King salmon) (Oncorhynchus)
Chinook salmon have thick, strong bodies and are excellent swimmers. They are olive green on the top and metallic silver mixed with green on the sides. Irregular black spots mark the back. The species is very similar to the Coho salmon, but can be distinguished by the appearance of spots on both the lower and upper lobes of its tail, while Coho salmon only have spots on the upper tail lobe. Also, Chinook salmon have black lower gums while Coho Salmon have white lower gums.
Chinook salmon range from Monterey Bay of California to Chukchi Sea of Alaska and from Siberia to Hokkaido, Japan. They have been successfully introduced in New Zealand, Australia, and France.
Chinooks, like most salmon, are anadromous, spending part of their life in the ocean and part in freshwater streams, where they are born and return to spawn. They prefer large rivers with deep water during the freshwater segment of their life cycle. Chinook salmon tend to be more abundant in waters that are 45 to 60 F, with the peak feeding temperature being 54 F.
Chinook salmon often swim long distances to spawn, with some migrating almost 2,000 miles up the Yukon River in northern Canada. Like all Pacific salmon, Chinook salmon die after spawning. Also, like other Pacific salmon, their color changes during spawning, turning anywhere from red to copper to black. They spawn at different times of the year, with the spawning season being from June to November. Females deposit between 3,000 and 14,000 eggs in several gravel nests. The young feed on an attached yolk sac until early spring.
The timetable of when they go to sea is determined by when they are hatched. Fall Chinook salmon head to sea after three to four months, but spring Chinook salmon often stay in fresh water for approximately 18 months.
In the ocean, Chinook salmon feed on herring, sand lance, large zooplankton, and a variety of other fish, such as anchovies. They usually feed in deeper waters, but will feed near the surface to access schooling fish. Juvenile Chinook feed on plankton, then, as they grow, on insects.
Chinook salmon are one of the most prized sport fish due to their size and excellent edibility. They are also very strong fighters. Chinook salmon are sensitive to light, and because of this are almost always found in deeper waters. The best fishing method is trolling, usually with rigged herring. While in fresh water, lures and salmon eggs are effective bait.
- The building of dams on rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest damaged and even caused extinction of different Chinook salmon populations, mainly because the dams prevented the Chinook salmon from reaching their spawning grounds. At present, some runs are listed as endangered by the National Marine Fisheries Service, including the Sacramento River winter run in California and the Snake River spring-summer and fall runs in Idaho.
- Of the six species of Pacific Salmon, the Chinook salmon are the least abundant but most valued commercial fish. During the 1970s and 80s the world catch was more than four million Chinook salmon annually, but this number has dropped as many fisheries have been closed or shortened due to declining populations.