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River Origins of Big Kings?

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River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Sobie2 » Thu May 07, 2015 1:40 pm

So when you catch a monster king out of Sailsbury Sound, or any other place, what are the origins of those really big kings? The 7 year old slugs? Has ADF&G ever done any DNA work?

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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Sobie2 » Mon May 11, 2015 8:41 am

175 views with no comments = a boat load of tight lipped fishermen I guess...

This is an excerpt from a Juneau Empire article from a few years ago about Taku River King salmon. Ed Jones works for ADF&G doing in-river stock assessment work on the Taku.

"The biggest king I have seen in the Juneau area is ... maybe 55 pounds," Jones said. "Not very big, actually, for kings. I handle lots of king salmon on the Taku every year, probably over a 1,000. It is rare to see one that might be 60 pounds. I might see one or two each year that are 50, but a big king on the Taku is 40-45 (pounds)."
The big salmon in the Taku are 6-year old fish, making up 15 percent of the run so far. Taku River Chinooks spend the first two years in fresh water before leaving for the ocean. About 85 percent of the adults returning are about 5 years old, with the rest being six.

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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby JKD » Mon May 11, 2015 9:35 am

Based on my experience of fishing out of Juneau since the early 60s - I would agree with Ed Jones' assessment of the Taku River King salmon size. In my conversations with older Juneau and Hoonah trollers (most of whom are now long-gone but were reminising about fishing back in the 40s and early 50s), apparently it was relatively "uncommon" to catch Kings in the local area that were over 40 pounds. Naturally there were always a few bigger than 40 landed, but not as many as were caught fishing in areas where Stikine River fish were migrating through. The large Kings that would show up in the catches in lower Chatham Strait and Sumner Strait back during the hey-days of [for example] the Port Alexander trolling fleet were thought to be fish returning to the Stikine River (and Columbia River).

For what its worth - over the years that I have both sport and commercial-fished for local Juneau-area Kings, I suspect the Taku King salmon average size has dropped. The Spring T&H King Derby (which should reflect Taku River spawners migrating through the area in May) had a 50+ (dressed-weight) winner in 2004 and a number of winners in the 40-pound class if weighed in the round.
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby carojae » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:17 am

Sorry, personally I didn't comment because I don't know the answer to origins except to say the big rivers produce big kings.

I wonder why our king salmon seem to be shrinking over the last few years. If a King Salmon's life is based on life cycles (4-7 year), could it be that Kings are living shorter lives for some reason? If so, why?
I've always thought of a big king as a well fed king. Feed is out there and there's plenty for all salmon (at least from what I've seen). We've seen enough evidence that the big fish eat first (*see Dennis Montgomery underwater salmon feeding video) so I wonder how much credence can be given to other fish starving out the mighty king. The food chain still rules.
This mystery (in my mind) needs a sound answer. What has changed?
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby yak2you2 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:17 pm

I have an opinion on this. It will be one of two things, or both that is responsible for king salmon size decline. First, is your dad tall? Cause it has most everything to do with whether or not you will be. Genetics plays a big role in size. Eating good has a significant role, but genetics is at least as important, if not more so. So, when every single hook and line user group they encounter for their entire lives is targeting the big ones, and letting the smaller ones go to spawn, it stands to reason over time we'll see smaller fish.
That is theory one. Theory two is, yes, we see plenty of feed available along the coasts where we are harvesting, but what about the deep ocean? We know almost nothing about that. When you consider that millions of metric tons of pollok are harvested there, you have to wonder if doesn't have an effect on everything that depends on the most abundant fish in the ocean for food. Both happen to fit the time frame for who dunnit. There was no large scale factory trawling back in the day, sport harvest minimal by comparison, and commercial wasn't size discriminant, or nearly as effective as today either. I believe both have contributed.
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Salty » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:11 am

image.jpg
Salisbury slugs 2015
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Salty » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:12 am

image.jpg
Derby winner from Salisbury 2015
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Salty » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:16 am

There were some nice ones around in 2015. Fishing all of our kings the first week of July and allowing 6 lines on the East Bank, home of small kings contributes to the problem. Lots of monsters off the coast this year in August I heard.
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby lone eagle » Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:35 pm

Makes me think of the crab fishery, where few survive the harvest to grow to hog-size. We now have 'reserves ' set up so rockfish can grow old and be spawners and help the populations....maybe we're too efficient and take out those 4 year fish (hogs) when they're feeder 2 year olds
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby Kelper » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:15 pm

Lots of bigger kings in the ocean this year.
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby John Murray » Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:39 am

Sobie you'll find some answers to your ''origin '' question by contacting ADFG IN Sitka or Douglas.There have been numerous studies on where are salmon come from.
There have been two articles on the topic of smaller salmon and halibut in ADN recently.They were both interesting reading.They offered little answers mostly observation.
I haven't seen many larger kings in a long time and my average size is down for a while now.I used to catch a few large kings every season but that's been a while ago.It seems lately with big years on the Columbia and the large amounts of small fish many with no adipose fin (mass marking) hatchery fish,salmon derby averages lower,catch and release issues etc that there's been a downward trend in size.Who knows where the big guys are? There has been some large fish in second king salmon open in the region.Oregon coastals is what I've heard some of them are.
Good luck on digging up some answers on the big fish question.If you find something interesting post it.
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Re: River Origins of Big Kings?

Postby lone eagle » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:19 am

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