A 'jack' salmon is a sexually mature male salmon that returns to spawn one year earlier than his 'normal' year class. A 'jill' is the female equivalent and although not as common as jacks, they do exist. Jacks and Jills are obviously a smaller size than those salmon living out their entire life cycles since they spend one less year feeding in the ocean. The size difference is most notable with coho as returning jacks/jills more resemble small trout than salmon. As we know, cohos put on the bulk of their size in the last 4-5 months of their normal life cycle. Cohos or bluebacks are typically in the 2-4 lb range in May but will reach upwards of 20 pounds by Sep/Oct.
Jacks and Jills occur in all salmon species with the exception of Pinks. Its not entirely known why they don't exist in Pink stocks other than the fact that they already have a very short life cycle (2 years). Jacks/Jills are very common in Sockeye. One of the reasons why we don't really notice them is even an early returning 3 year old fish can easily be 3-5 lbs. The next time you catch a sockeye that seems a bit on the small side, it could very well be a jack/jill.
Early returning Chum salmon (3 year olds) are normally not called Jacks/Jills as 3 year olds make up a fairly significant proportion of normal 4 and 5 year old returns. They could be called jacks/jills though if our definition of such is 'a fish returning one year earlier than the majority of its cohorts'.
The purpose of a jack/jill salmon is, like its big brothers and sisters, to propogate. Although Jills will find ready 'dance partners' with mature males, Jacks aren't so lucky. Jacks are usually chased off by larger males and either prevented from spawning totally or, they find a way to scoot in on the action and deposit their cargo (adding to the genetic mix). In fish stocks that might be heavily exploited commercially, Jack salmon might be the difference between a successful spawning season and an unsuccessful one (if too many mature males are harvested).
Finally, Jacks/Jills do not 'begat' more Jacks and Jills in the future, just because they spawn. Early sexual maturity in salmon is more an act of randomness than anything else. So the next time you catch a Jack, release it with respect and let the lil guy do his thing.
ok I learned a little however i did know most of that. Havent you ever gotten a "Jill" CK i know i have got 1 or 2 so ya not very common but they are out there, i dont think they are as aggressive as their male conterpart however. those "jacks" are good eating though even the little white springs ;D not as oily as the big guys. I have only kept 2jack coho and that was last year at Norrish me2, g/f2 then we left and a friend and his wife took them for dinner because i said i would bring them home salmon. they said they were the best ever.
Is,nt nature a marvelous thing, the immature returning atlantic salmon in Ireland are called "grilse". They usually run the river,s from June through July. Do the "jack,s and jill,s" have a season when they run your river,s?
There are jacks (ie male immature salmon) commonly found in springs, coho and sockeye. They are not by any means only spring salmon. You are right about cohos being called bluebacks. They are called bluebacks when they first enter the recreational fishery (Apr-Jun) of their final year. Once they begin to mature (ie gain weight) and generally starting about Jun, we then commonly refer to them as coho.
The term 'smilies' generally refers to a spring salmon in excess of 30 pounds. They are often called tyees in this upper range of their size also but only by rec fishermen. The term 'smilie' started in the commercial troll fishery when extra large salmon meant more $$ and hence more 'smiles'.
I'm a bit surprised that people haven't heard the term Jills before. While not as common as Jacks, they are not rarities either. Suggest you Google the term (as it relates to salmon and not the girl goin up the hill) and see that I am not pulling your leg.
You are bang on Bill re the comment of cohos being called Bluebacks when feeding on krill (euphasid shrimp). Oh how I long for the days of the spring Blueback fishery from Courtenay to Campbell River..never see that again.
yea I hear Riv. I miss the good old days when around April off Gibsons the blueback would show up while we would be mooching for springs with live bait. I always kept a fly rod on board with bucktail on it for when you would see blueback chase your herring when striped in to check it.
I won't take exception to your commercial definitions Cap Slayer even though I disagree with all of them. I've been around the commercial troll fleet since the 70's and understand the terminology used (although I admit if its changed in the last 8 years or so, then I concede). Its a good discussion though which is what counts and thanks for the input. I do take exception though to your claim of 110 lb plus springs. Do you know how incredibly rare even 80-90 pound springs are? Maybe it was just a typo?
This is exactly right!
It's mother nature's insurance policy just in case, God forbid ,a run of salmon are wiped out somehow. The jacks from the previous year that spawned offspring will return on the exact schedule of the wiped out run.
. Right on time ,on the four year cycle and the run will continue!
Does that make sense?
I'm not sure that pinks have jacks as I believe that's what they are. Early maturing fish of two years. It's the sheer numbers that have been their success in terms of river and ocean survival.
For example........... in four years we can watch and see how many fish return to the Squamish river systems being that this was a very low returning year. I'd bet a good rod that they somehow show up in that time with twice the numbers that are there this year. Maybe even five times the chum.
wow 110lbs spring i beleave it! My uncle worked on a troller on the island and he claims to have caught a spring that weighed in at 107lbs in 1985 so it is possible! I've seen the pictures of this fish and it was as long as he was! I beleave he was 5'6 and this fish was from head to tail as big as him! Lets not call people on there stories in this thread! I've seen where that leads and i don't want this to end up there! I'm retired hahahaha Now back to the topic on hand! :thumbup:
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