Sacramento Valley Salmonids

The life span of Chinook salmon may range from two to seven years, but is generally two to four years for Central Valley salmon. Chinook salmon reside most of their life in the ocean (e.g., one and a half to five years) where they rear before maturing and returning to their natal streams to spawn. Chinook salmon die upon completion of spawning.

Life-cycle stages

Chinook salmon and steelhead trout are anadromous fish, spending the vast majority of their life at sea before returning to fresh water to spawn. The illustration below displays the distinct stages these anadromous fish experience during the course of their life.

Salmon life cycle
The portions of the salmonid life cycle that occur in fresh water are:


The Sacramento Valley is home to four distinct runs of Chinook salmon and one run of steelhead trout:

Recovery Efforts

There are various efforts being undertaken in the Sacramento Valley and state-wide to promote recovery of Chinook salmon and steelhead. The following are efforts particularly influencing recovery in the region and our efforts are assisting with the implementation of the federal Recovery Plan and the state Resiliency Strategy. Descriptions of the recovery efforts underway in the Sacramento Valley are available here.