I mentioned in today’s fishing report that the unexpected large return of jack salmon bodes well for next year’s chinook run because they are typically the front runners of the adult returns next year. So more jacks this year means there’s likely to be more adults next year.
But Idaho Fish and Game’s chief of fisheries Ed Schriever correctly pointed out that this year’s jacks, although smaller than adults, still provide good fishing opportunity and will be a nice addition to this spring’s adult run.
“Since we don’t need jacks in the hatchery brood stock, they are all available for harvest,” he said. “In rough terms, the Clearwater fishery may end up with two times to four times more jack Chinook available for harvest than adult Chinook available to the sport fishery. In the Lower Salmon/Little Salmon fishery there may be equal to two times the numbers of jacks as adults available for sport fishing harvest.
“Jacks will certainly provide additional harvest opportunity in the 2013 fishery. The 2013 bag limit currently allows the daily harvest of four salmon – of which all could be jacks if no adult fish were in the daily bag. Jacks do not have to be entered on an anglers salmon card and there is no season limit on them.”
For those who don’t know, a jack is a male chinook that returns to rivers after one year in the ocean. A jack is considered any chinook under 24 inches in length. They usually range between 2 and 5 pounds. Maybe not as impressive as an adult, plenty big enough for a barbecue.