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Old 05-13-2019, 05:08 AM   #1
Lucky21
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Default Small springers

Can't get over how much smaller they are.Every year smaller and smaller.Out of probably 50 ish rods 2 biggest fish around 14/15.The rest 10 lbers give or take.Is it me or you seeing same thing?

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Old 05-13-2019, 05:17 AM   #2
Moosenose
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Default Re: Small springers

Lots of them in the 5-8 pound range. My biggest this year is 15.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Small springers

I noticed a lot of smaller fish during last year's summer run (and fall too for that matter) than in previous years. My suspicion is that the crappy ocean conditions that led to lower survival also led to reduced average sizes. Which would make sense since the good rich food wasn't available.

I should add there's also a longer term issue related to reducing sizes that has a lot to do with commercial fishing and the other H's. The largest fish are typically 5 year old fish which means they're subject to an additional year of commercial fishing in the ocean and a vastly reduced survival rate.
Net size changes on the big C haven't helped either.
Current hatchery methods don't help either (check out some of the work being done at the Chief Joseph Hatchery on this.).
Creation of Grand Coulee and the elimination of the June Hogs.
List of long term issues go on and on...

Last edited by fishnhunt13; 05-13-2019 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:13 AM   #4
jimr0950
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Default Re: Small springers

After several years of small numbers and size for springers on the Rogue, this year is shaping up to be high numbers and large fish. I firmly believe that although ocean conditions may have a role, commercial fishing and poaching are the main culprits. Somewhere, somehow some commercial boats and/or poachers have found the springers in the ocean at a place where they can catch them in large numbers. The only other thing that makes sense is that the lost creek dam blocked off too much natural spawning grounds for the springers.

My opinions are not based upon any scientific studies. Just personal observations. You have to ask yourself how a river like the Rogue can get 400,000 fall fish, less than 12,000 springers, and have ocean conditions and food supply be the main culprits? Aren't they all in the same ocean eating the same food? I'm curious if anyone knows if the springers and fall fish migrate to different places to feed? If they all group together, my theory has no merit unless, since they return to their spawning grounds at different times, they are intercepted in the ocean when they are returning to spawn.

The other thing you have to consider is the hatchery versus native debate. After all, all of the Rogue fall fish are natives and they are doing very well. Is the dam at Lost Creek blocking off too much critical spawning habitat for the spring fish? Is there a system that can be put in place to get native fish around the dam to spawn, and then allow those smolts to return back downstream? We really have two options. If we are going to continue to use hatcheries to make up for lost spawning grounds, we have to keep those hatcheries in top condition. Another idea would be to upgrade hatcheries to make them more like a natural environment. Make feeding for the smolts be more competitive instead of a free for all. Let the weaker smolts die and only release the survivors into the wild. I was at the hatchery on the Rogue yesterday and it is a run down pile of junk. No wonder they killed 1 million smolts again. It's very sad what that hatchery has become versus what it was when I was a kid. Some of the funds from our ever increasing licenses and tags has to go to hatchery repair. The other option is to figure out how to let the fish access their traditional spawning grounds. I'm not saying remove the dam. There's just gotta be a way around it.

I know the original post was about average fish size, but until we get people to let go of some pride and release larger fish they catch, genetics will take over and the average size will decrease. I hear stories from a buddy of mine all the time about a giant strain of chinook that used to be in the Tillamook system that no longer exists because all of the giants that were caught were killed. Although there are some big spring fish on the Rogue this year, I have definitely noticed a decrease in average size over the past 20 years or so. 20 years ago, the average upper Rogue springer was in the 18 pound range, with 40 pound fish not too uncommon. I would say now the average fish is 14-15 pounds and a 40 is pretty rare. I have also noticed a more subtle downward trend in average size of the fall fish. I know that I am only using the Rogue for my examples, with the main reason being the dual salmon runs, but I would bet that my observations about the fish on the Rogue would be comparable to other rivers as well.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Small springers

I know what ya mean! All of the springers I’ve caught this year are so small, you can’t even see them with the naked eye!




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Old 05-13-2019, 09:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roady View Post
I know what ya mean! All of the springers I’ve caught this year are so small, you can’t even see them with the naked eye!
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Same here! I've caught dozens of those invisible springers!
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Old 05-13-2019, 12:19 PM   #7
Quiet Riot
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Default Re: Small springers

Biggest ever boated on my boat, 40" being held by a 6'3" "kid". Had a couple upper teens, actually been thinking they've been larger this year overall.

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Old 05-13-2019, 12:38 PM   #8
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishnhunt13 View Post
I noticed a lot of smaller fish during last year's summer run (and fall too for that matter) than in previous years. My suspicion is that the crappy ocean conditions that led to lower survival also led to reduced average sizes. Which would make sense since the good rich food wasn't available.

I should add there's also a longer term issue related to reducing sizes that has a lot to do with commercial fishing and the other H's. The largest fish are typically 5 year old fish which means they're subject to an additional year of commercial fishing in the ocean and a vastly reduced survival rate.
Net size changes on the big C haven't helped either.
Current hatchery methods don't help either (check out some of the work being done at the Chief Joseph Hatchery on this.).
Creation of Grand Coulee and the elimination of the June Hogs.
List of long term issues go on and on...
Commercial fishing has something to do with smaller size springers caught by sports? There is a novel idea. I wonder if it has anything to do with the disappearance of the bigger chinook in the fall Tillamook fishery. Ain't no 35 to 40 pounders anymore like there used to be.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksalmon View Post
Commercial fishing has something to do with smaller size springers caught by sports? There is a novel idea. I wonder if it has anything to do with the disappearance of the bigger chinook in the fall Tillamook fishery. Ain't no 35 to 40 pounders anymore like there used to be.
By virtue of these stocks being exploited commercially for over 100 years it makes one ask why is exploitation now creating smaller fish?
A better guess might be lack of food in the ocean.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Small springers

Most of the small hatchery springers are headed for the Deschutes. The average size is about 7-8 pounds. We don't get many bigger than that...
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Small springers

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Originally Posted by wapiteaser View Post
Most of the small hatchery springers are headed for the Deschutes. The average size is about 7-8 pounds. We don't get many bigger than that...
I find that hard to believe considered I know someone who fished the CR well above the Deschutes, and everything they caught was 7-8lbs.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:37 PM   #12
Lucky21
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Default

Ya i'm talking snake and if it don't fit through a net we probably won't see it up here (slight exaggeration ).All these little fellers headed to the spawning grounds.Not the best brood stock me thinks.
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by freespool View Post
By virtue of these stocks being exploited commercially for over 100 years it makes one ask why is exploitation now creating smaller fish?
A better guess might be lack of food in the ocean.
I do respect the possibility of lack of feed in the ocean as an explanation. Or, there might be better rates of exploitation by the commercials of the bigger fish the longer they are in the ocean. Those fish can't stay uncaught for four or five years with all the trollers and netters around.
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Old 05-13-2019, 06:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: Small springers

May be a dumb question , but wouldn’t commercial gill net mesh size have something to do with the size of fish being harvested ¿¿
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:24 PM   #15
Lucky21
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Bam, bells and whistles!
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:11 PM   #16
Kickin Back
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Default Re: Small springers

Hey all,

Don't forget the Japanese nuclear disaster that put all that toxic waste into the Japanese current. I firmly feel that it has affected the food chain our salmon feed on.
It seems like the small fish started appearing about the same time?

I also think it's interesting that you don't hear about this from any agencies?

Your thoughts?
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:45 PM   #17
freespool
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickin Back View Post
Hey all,

Don't forget the Japanese nuclear disaster that put all that toxic waste into the Japanese current. I firmly feel that it has affected the food chain our salmon feed on.
It seems like the small fish started appearing about the same time?

I also think it's interesting that you don't hear about this from any agencies?

Your thoughts?

I think the biggest reason you don't hear about it is because it's only a big problem on the internet.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:54 PM   #18
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by wapiteaser View Post
Most of the small hatchery springers are headed for the Deschutes. The average size is about 7-8 pounds. We don't get many bigger than that...
very true, A 10lber was a good fish. I used to crack up hearing about 15lbers from people.

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Old 05-14-2019, 04:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickin Back View Post
Hey all,

Don't forget the Japanese nuclear disaster that put all that toxic waste into the Japanese current. I firmly feel that it has affected the food chain our salmon feed on.
It seems like the small fish started appearing about the same time?

I also think it's interesting that you don't hear about this from any agencies?

Your thoughts?
Quote:
Originally Posted by freespool View Post
I think the biggest reason you don't hear about it is because it's only a big problem on the internet.
^^^Beat me to it.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:01 PM   #20
nwnick
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Default Re: Small springers

"I wonder if it has anything to do with the disappearance of the bigger chinook in the fall Tillamook fishery. Ain't no 35 to 40 pounders anymore like there used to be."

Isn't that the truth. I remember the 30 lb fish were ho hum in Tillamook. A 50 pounder would get your picture in the newspaper down there.
Makes one wonder what happened to the gene pool that spawned those fish
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Old 05-14-2019, 05:54 PM   #21
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Default Re: Small springers

With few exceptions, most springers these days are basically MAXI-jacks.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:11 AM   #22
Spinitrode
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Default Re: Small springers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickin Back View Post
Hey all,

Don't forget the Japanese nuclear disaster that put all that toxic waste into the Japanese current. I firmly feel that it has affected the food chain our salmon feed on.
It seems like the small fish started appearing about the same time?

I also think it's interesting that you don't hear about this from any agencies?

Your thoughts?
In a word, No.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:46 PM   #23
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Default Re: Small springers

When you take the largest salmon out of the gene pool, smallies are what you get.

Check out what has happened on the Kenai the last three years.

Check out the Chinese trawlers catching salmon off of Alaska, and for sale in Fred Meyers.

The next person who says "June hogs" should be slapped. It just shows how limited people's memories are.

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