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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the topic suggests, why are the fall beasts bigger than the springers? Do they spend more time in the ocean? Are ocean conditions better when the fall chinook are out there? Have the fall kings adapted to be more muscular to fight the faster water flows? What's going on here? Rarely do you ever hear of a springer that is bigger than 30 pounds, yet that is about average for the fall fish, even upwards of 50-60 pounds not uncommon.
 

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Supposedly the fall fish spend those extra months gorging themselves on baitfish before going to spawn. those extra few months of eating put on the extra weight and give a little extra time for growth.
 

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Interesting question but if look at the big picture over time (thousands of years) it really becomes an issue of adaptation. Ocean conditions are probably not the issue because the fish, depending on run, actually share many of the same ocean environments.

Look at the flow of a typical northwest river during each fish's spawning run. Springers arrive late spring, ripen during the low flows of summer and spawn early fall. Because of those low flows, an oversized springer probably doesn't lend itself to a very good chance of survival because it would be more exposed to predators or have trouble navigating thin water. Over time, nature would select out these large fish from the gene pool.

Fall fish on the other hand, may arrive in low flows of early fall but often encounter much higher flows as fall storms arrive. Since they are mainstem spawners (generally) a bigger size is an advantage as more strength is desirable to migrate and spawn in these heavier flows. Again, nature will select for fall fish of a larger size and weed out the 'runts". This same selection usually causes the fall fish to spend an extra one, sometimes two years in the ocean, thus reaching a larger size.

Of course, none of this is set in stone and nature will always leave room for exceptions to the rule but it does provide a general guidline.

Hope that helps!
 

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The same reason some species of elk are larger than others. Because they are!

Mark and the dog.
 

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FYI,

Spring chinook in the Columbia River systems are considered river phase chinook due to the fact that they spend an extra year in the estuaries. That is why they don't allow jacks below the Astoria bridge and have the closure zone at the mouth of the Columbia. That is where the spring 2nd year fish are found.

Fall fish are considered ocean phase chinook due to the fact that they don't spend that extra year in the estuaries. That extra year in the ocean is the cause for the larger sized fish.

Hope this helps.

Clam
 

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Arm chair biology, got some? :wink: :wink:
 

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Eric,

Good points, however most inland fish, Willamette,Cowletz,Lewis, Kalama, Columbia have a smaller sized fish and their rivers have lots of water in the spring. In the coastal rivers(IE) Trask, Nest, Wilson, Siletz, the water flows are at minimal levels and some at summer lows of 100-300cfs, and these rivers have nice big springers to 40lbs and 25 is average. Explain that theory? It is evident where fish travel long distances, they tend to be more streamlined, and in rivers like the coast where they may only travel 10-20 miles, they seem to be big. I know if I was to swim to the Snake River I would have trouble making it if I were overweight, But in Trask if I only had 10 miles to go to the hachery I could be a pig and still make it. Same theory applies in the fall. The fall fish don't have far to go b4 they spawn at the coast, But an Uppper river bright has a long journey ahead and will be very streamlined in shape. Most fish are built to swim where needed.
Another thing that I believe has a big effect on the size of the fish is choice of spawnig adults. If all fish were big that were spawned in a hachery, you could make a nicer run. Look at the brood programs success for Steelhead. If we did some of that to the Willamette/Clack/Cloumia we would have more big fish.


just my .02
 

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I think reeldick was right.

Both Springers and Fall fish spawn at about the same time of the year.

After the smolts grow up the Springers enter the river before the fall fish so the Springers don't have as much time in the salt to keep eating and get bigger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Killer Dave,
Who is the picture of??? Gregor Mendel??? Scary, but your answer actually makes sense to me. That must mean I am a science geek.

[ 05-15-2003, 11:50 AM: Message edited by: Dakotan ]
 

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Because springers are smaller than Fall chinook!!!

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Sorry, couldn't resist!

SKP
 

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does anyone know why, when geese are flying in a V shaped formation, one side of the V is always longer than the other?
 

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yea ifishsum, one side of flying v is longer because there are more birds on that side...
:grin:
 

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The average fish size on the Kenai is declining, most likely because of the "target" fishery where most fisherman release smaller fish and keep the bigger ones. Fish on the Nushagak average about 20-25 lbs and it's a 200 mile long river. I've seen old pictures of netted Columbia River fish from 80-100 years ago and the fish were huge. Don't know if they were fall fish or springers or where they were heading, but it could be we've just messed around with the fisheries so much that's just the way it is. Or maybe God just made 'em that way. Anyway, pound for pound, springers fight better than fall fish, and taste lot's better.
 

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Back to the geese. The longer side of the flying formation are the larger 'fall geese' and their smaller yet better tasting cousins in the shorter side of the 'vee' are the 'spring geese'. _ And that's the truth !
 
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