Before the dams, Chinook salmon occupied the Elwha River to nearly the headwaters. They also spawned in several of the larger tributaries, including Little River, Goldie River, and Hayes River. This stock is part of the Puget Sound Chinook, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Very few, if any, spring-run Chinook remain in the Elwha. There are more summer/fall-run stocks that still exist by means of hatchery assistance, but they too are included in the federally threatened listing.
—The red line represents the historic range of the summer/fall-run Chinook in the Elwha River.
—The orange line represents the furthest extent of the spring-run chinook's historic range in the Elwha River.