General Info: Chinook, or King Salmon are the most iconic fish of Big Y's home waters. They are a symbol of the Pacific Northwest that reaches far beyond anglers. People across the world know about the Chinook salmon of Oregon and Washington. These fish can reach huge sizes and can range from extremely challenging to fairly easy to catch.
In Oregon, we have two runs of Kings. Spring Chinook salmon come in when the water is high and dirty during spring runoff/snowmelt. The fish stay in the deepest, fastest water that they can find. Not ideal for fly anglers, but they can be caught with a lot of patience skill and luck. However, a fall Chinook run brings in much bigger numbers of snappy fish that are more than willing to play in shallower water.
Headed North towards Alaska, their singular Chinook run peaks in July, and the Alaskan Kings are usually a bit easier to catch than our Oregon Spring salmon.
Most folks use a sink tip and heavy flies on an 8wt or larger spey/switch rod, but plenty of folks still use their trusty 9'0" single hand rod. The Great Lakes also host a nice run of Chinook salmon. The Great Lakes salmon are known to snap at smaller flies a little more than their Pacific cousins. The Great Lakes fish tend to deteriorate a bit more before heading upstream vs their pacific brethren, so they are not as prized as the coastal salmon.
Rods: 8-10 wt. rods. Many prefer a 13' or longer two-handed rod, but a 9' rod will suffice. An 8wt is the most popular, but it is as light as one should use to target Chinook. A 9wt is more suitable for a Chinook rod. An 8wt is a great all-arounder if you are going to target steelhead later.