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Thread: Jack Salmon question

  1. #1

    Default Jack Salmon question

    Do jacks die like mature spawners they follow or do they return to sea and keep growing?

  2. #2
    Member TYNMON's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Corvallis, Oregon, United States

    Default Jacks are just younger age class's of mature salmon...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    Do jacks die like mature spawners they follow or do they return to sea and keep growing?
    All salmon that come back to freshwater, no matter their size die period... No if and or buts... Steelhead, Dolly, Char, Whitefish, Hooligan, that are also anadromous like salmon, but they can survive to spawn multiple times.

    Jacks are one ocean coho or chinook that may have spent 1-3 years in freshwater before going to the ocean. It's really confusing to ppl and in AK esp there are really multiple age class's of chinook that are slang termed "jacks" that are not actually jacks.. To make things slightly more confusing almost all (95%) of AK chinook spend at least one year in fresh water (predominant chinook life history is on year in fresh water) and in some case's two. Coho also spend at least one year in fresh water and are more predominatly two years (can be 3 though) in fresh water. A less confusing way to look at it is that salmon migration to salt water as smolts is not as much triggered by age, but by size predominantly.

    To simplify Pinks(pinks mature at age two, but spend both years of life in the ocean, Chums (head to the ocean at age 0 and never mature before age 3) and Sockeye (spend 0-4 years typically rearing in fresh water lakes) do not typically have true jacks like chinook and coho, but salmon life histories can be highly variable from one region to the next, so broad based age maturity labels are not really valid across geographic regions, esp in AK.

    The above chart may be a little confusing. It was created to show both the length in (mm) that many conservation agencies use to inches that sprot fisherman use and shows length at age. This is of course age data from the Funny R lower tributary to the Kenai and these fish are considered early run Kenai Kings...

    Also interesting to not that you do not see age 3 chinook females (<5%) and same w/ chum and sockeye too. But, in AK you will see age 3 female coho. Hopefully you get the idea, "jack" is a technical slang name for a one ocean salmon that is often misused. Thus by AK law, jacks chinook are considerd <20" (and of course are 99% male) even though many ppl call the very common 20-30" chinook a jack and is actually an incorrect term, but this age class is also 95% male.

    As for the term Jenny, it is in incorrect term used for a female salmon that is "jack" size but yet her age is at least age 3 and more commonly age 4.

  3. #3


    Thanks for such a detailed and informative answer, TYNMON! Several friends and I were discussing this and we all had pretty vacant looks about us...mine usually is anyway but the other guys are fairly lucid. Learned a lot! You da man! Thanks again!


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