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Old 09-05-2004, 10:45 PM   #1
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Default Questions About Jack Salmon

Okay, caught a nice bright jack on the Sandy - so it got me thinking. (Of course, my digital camera is on the blink - so won't have a picture for a year .)

1) This fish was chrome, spunky, and hatchery. Took a spinner. Looked like a chinook. Shaped like a little football (a pointed snout with a bit of a hump in the shoulders). Big spots on back, spots on both lobes of the tail. Mouth gumline was black on the lower (teeth were white); completely white and white roof on the upper. White between gumline and tonque. Tail was forked, ribbed at the base. Cut out a pale pink with white in tail. I called it a Coho - mainly because of time of year, brightness and upper gumline white. But, it looked so chinook-like. Comments?

2) Coho salmon must be 15-20" to be jacks (Chinooks, 15-24"). However, when reading the trout regulations - any Coho, regardless of size, is considered a salmon. (In contrast, Chinook under 15" are considered trout for the purposes of the regulations). But hypothetically - is a 14.99" coho jack a "salmon" or a "jack" for tagging purposes. (I tagged this fish as a jack). Or, should any jack under 15" required to be released - hatchery or not (the Sandy is catch and release for all trout).

3) A corollary answer to 2 is - any steelhead under 20" must be released on the Sandy - hatchery or not - since this would be considered a trout (most commonly, this applies to releasing those 10-12" hatchery juveniles that just stay in the river for some reason).

Now, keep in mind I read all this stuff after I bonked my hatchery jack - which went 15", okay (thank goodness for the stretch - tip of snout to squeezed tail length rule). But had the fish been 14" - would it have been legal to keep? (Clearly, if it was a Chinook and under 15" - it would have to be released if all trout were catch and release only).

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Old 09-06-2004, 01:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

this is exactly why I release them. ...
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Chinoho? Steennok?
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Interesting, a thought or two. The Sandy's hatchery is not releasing chinook, rather coho. There can be a number of native chinook jacks in there especially below Oxbow Park. So, if it was a chinook hatchery jack was it "lost"? How far up were you fishing?
I would think in the future you would want to release any jack under 15" because of the C&R rule with trout.
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Old 09-06-2004, 08:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Big spots on back, spots on both lobes of tail, black lower gumline ... you called it a coho? :whazzup:
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Old 09-06-2004, 09:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Here is my take on this...I'm confident I'll be corrected if I'm mistaken. Keep in mind that I'm not a OSP F&W Trooper, nor an ODFW employee, but I've wanted to play one on TV!

In the Sandy River (Willamette Zone)...
It was a Jack Salmon (at least 15")...
Legal to keep (fin clipped)...
But you did not have to record it on your tag (only adults are tagged; refer to Regulations page 9, Tags, 6th "bullet". Also says 'Adult' on your Harvest Tag).

Between 15" - 20", it does not matter if it was a Coho, Chinook or other species of Salmon, they are all Jacks. Coho over 20" are tagged. Other Salmon species over 24" are tagged. So, once you determine the fish is a Salmon, and not a trout, size matters, as does the adipose fin (preferably lack thereof).

To distinguish between a Chinook and Coho, the BEST feature is whether or not the LOWER gumline (around and between the LOWER teeth) is white or black. White (even though otherwise surrounded by black) is Coho; All Black is Chinook.

Re the Trout Regulations - keep in mind the regulations on page 45 are for both Lakes and Streams, and over the entire area of the Willamette Zone, not just a particular stream. In your example of the Sandy River, you could not keep a 14.99" Coho because (1) Coho are always considered a Salmon, and (2) NO Salmon can not be retrained until it reaches 15".

Re your "Corollary" - If you are asking why the difference for Steelhead, Trout and Salmon, I'll try this... Many of us can not tell the whether an 8-inch fish is a Trout, Steelhead, Coho or Chinook, so they all are protected. An 18-inch 'Trout', for example could be (1) a Steelhead that may return to the ocean and back to the Sandy, or (2) it could be a resident Trout that stays in the Sandy all year.
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Old 09-06-2004, 02:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Not to be sounding overly critical but you caught a Chinook and called it a Coho...........big spots on back, spots on both ends of tail and black lower gumline.....Chinook.

Quote:
is a 14.99" coho jack a "salmon" or a "jack" for tagging purposes. (I tagged this fish as a jack). Or, should any jack under 15" required to be released - hatchery or not (the Sandy is catch and release for all trout).

Theres a few things wrong with that statement, first off if its 14.99" then its neither a salmon or jack, it would be categorized as a trout regardless of what it is......since its not the min 15" jack size of either species. Second, you shouldnt have tagged it since its a jack, not an adult salmon (you only have to tag adults). And third any jack under 15" wouldnt be a jack by definition....and thus should be released.
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Old 09-06-2004, 04:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Questions About Jack Salmon

Thanks everyone. Kchookem - you got the part :smile:. That's awesome! You should start a regulations hotline so when we land that fish - we can opt to call a friend!

I tagged the fish because there is a code for jack salmon (what's with that?), didn't have a clue as to whether you should or not (oh, that is why they call it an adult harvest tag .... I'm learning) and I have plenty of room on my tag .

The fish made 15" when field dressed and measured according to the regs - I figured 14" when I landed it and indeed it was 14" fork length. The point is well taken - had I known the regs at the time, I would have released it because it was really too close to bonk. I was just lucky in that regard and still sleep well at night.

When I landed it, I didn't think much about it since the river is open for salmon and it was fin-clipped, bright and I knew you could keep up to 5 jack salmon. Not until I checked the regs at the campsite did my curiousity go up .

Obviously, I do not catch a lot of salmon, let alone jacks. Run timing, river and fin-clipped to me suggested it was a coho. The lower gum line was black but the teeth were white - base of the teeth white or black - I couldn't really tell. I take it the upper gum line means nothing - the entire upper mouth was as white as a Christmas snow. So, having looked at a lot of pictures since yesterday and per people's responses - it must have been a chinook.

I cleaned it within an hour after bleeding it immediately - was surprised it did not cut out bright orange like a coho. The fish was sexually mature.

Spring chinook jack that was a late arrival or just holding its brightness? Stray Columbia Chinook jack? (At Oxbow?) I dunno Life is meant to have mystery - so I will leave it at that.

All I know, I am much more aware of the regs and hopefully now others are too. It really does pay to read them every time out.
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