Abstract Changes in the concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in Baltic salmon muscle were studied during the spawning migration from the southern Baltic Sea to rivers flowing into the northern Gulf of Bothnia and during the spawning period. The aim was to obtain information to facilitate the arrangement of salmon fisheries such that the human dioxin intake is taken into account. The EC maximum allowable total toxic equivalent concentration (WHO-TEQPCDD/F+PCB) was exceeded in the muscle of the majority of the migrating salmon, except in the Baltic Proper. The fresh-weight-based concentrations of all toxicant groups in salmon tended to be the lowest in the Baltic Proper and the Northern Quark, and all toxicant concentrations, except PCDDs and PCDFs, were significantly higher in the spawning salmon than in the salmon caught during the spawning run. The fat content of the salmon muscle decreased by 60% during the spawning run, and the lipid-based total toxicant concentrations were consequently 4.2–6.2 times higher during the spawning period than during the spawning migration. However, the toxicants were concentrated just before spawning, and thus there is no essential difference related to whether the salmon are caught in the sea or the recreational river fishery.