Juvenile salmonids,Oncorhynchus spp., commonly encounter conditions (e.g., during hatchery release and dam passage) that result in damage to the skin, scale, and slime complex. We conducted laboratory experiments to determine if descaling of juvenile chinook salmon,O. tshawytscha, increased their vulnerability to predation, and to assess the physiological stress responses elicited by descaling. Salmon were experimentally descaled on either 10% or 20% of their total body area. When offered equal numbers of control and descaled juvenile chinook salmon, northern squawfish,Ptychocheilus oregonensis, did not consume significantly more of either prey type (48–60% of consumed prey were descaled). Juvenile chinook salmon descaled on 10% of their body area did show significant physiological stress responses, however. Mean concentrations of plasma cortisol peaked 1 h after descaling, and returned to control levels by 12 h. Plasma glucose peaked 3 h post-treatment and remained elevated for 24 h. Plasma lactate increased immediately following treatment and returned to undisturbed control levels by 3 h. The osmoregulatory response of plasma potassium was highly variable, but plasma sodium decreased immediately and remained low for 24 h. The observed physiological responses suggest that descaling of juvenile chinook salmon could result in decreased resistance to disease and other stressors encountered in the field, possibly leading to reduced performance capacity and lowered survival.