Thaleichthys pacificus

Identification Tips:

• Body length 15-20 cm
• Coloration is brown to blue on back and top of the head, the sides lighter to silvery and the belly white.
• Sides turn reddish during spawning.
• Dorsal fin: 10 - 13 rays
• Anal fin: 18 - 23 rays
• Adipose fin sickle-shaped
• During spawning, males have a distinctly raised ridge along the middle of the body and a rough texture

Conservation Status:

British ColumbiaCanadaNatureserve
COSEWICSpecies at Risk Act
Blue ListEndangeredNoneG5, S2S3

Information Source: BC Conservation Data Centre:

Life History:

• Feeds on plankton, but only at sea.
• Spawns in April and May during spring freshets
• Eggs hatch in two or three weeks, and larvae are carried downriver to estuaries,
• Return to spawn in 3rd or 4th year, some live 5 years
• Most die after spawning


• Spends most of its life in the sea, near shore.
• Spawns in over sand or small gravel in large rivers that drain mountainous areas with large snowpacks or glaciers.
• Usually spawn close to sea, but up to 160 km inland in Fraser River.


British Columbia
• Spawning runs occur in up to 33 major rivers along the B.C. coast.

• Aleutian Islands (Alaska) to Monterey Bay, California.


• A highly valued food fish in Indigenous communities
• High in natural oils
•Recent signs of some recovery in Fraser River population

• Fraser River population listed as Endangered
• Skeena population listed as Threatened

Primary Information Source:
McPhail, J.D. 2007. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press. Edmonton, Alberta.