Salmon under 16 inches Question
So I am doing my homework by studying the regulations before I travle to AK and fish the Russian River and surrounding area and I see that the limit is 3 if they are over 16 inches and 10 if they are under (for all salmon except kings with some special restrictions on silvers). So my question is, do you guys often catch reds under 16 inches? I see most reports mentioning people getting their limit of 3 and most picks the fish appear to be ove 16 inches so I assume that a fish under 16 is not a common thing.
Most folks call the small salmon "jacks." About 99% of them are males, and they only spent the summer in the ocean rather than going on the long walk around the Pacific. There appears to be some tie between smolts that are "too large" on entering the ocean and larger numbers of jacks. Doesn't happen all that much in nature, but it's a chronic problem with hatcheries, where the fish are all held till the smallest in a lot are big enough, even as the biggest are too big- all having to do with the difficulty of sorting fry by size in hatcheries.
Nutshell, the only place I've seen a lot of red jacks is hatchery runs. Sure they occur in nature, but at a much lower rate.
Sockeye "jacks" are extremely rare.
In all my years fishing Alaska, I have never personally seen, touched or heard of one.
Coho and chinook jacks are MUCH more common.
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone."
The KeenEye MD
One thing worth noting about wild stock red jacks- Most I've seen arrive after the main run, in contrast to silvers and kings which often arrive early. They aren't even around when most guys are fishing reds. I catch two or three a year when fishing for dollies after the red run, mixed right in with the dollies. Come late October or early November when all the tourists have fled and the Dollies are spawning, you can spot them even without catching them simply because they're this glowing red spot among the dark dollies.
Originally Posted by T. Chris
Like BrownBear, the only time I've seen reds under 16 inches was after the rest of the red run is over. I've caught a couple on the Russian in late August and into September while targeting silvers when fishing for reds is closed. I've seen folks keep them as silvers since they're dime bright and thus easily confused for folks that don't know much about fish identification. This time of year, though, I wouldn't expect to catch any.