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Questions on Salmon biology

950 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  UG Miner
I'm confused on a couple of things that hopefully someone can clear up for me.

First I've heard that when salmon enter the rivers from the ocean, at some point they develop "lock jaw", and are no longer feeding. Does that always happen? When does it happen? If this is true, why would they still take roe or other bait?

Second question, I've head that salmon die after spawing, however, after visiting some hatcheries and looking at the small size of some of the returning fish, I have to believe that they either don't spawn and return back to the ocean, they spawn and are able to return without dying, or not all fish return from the ocean every year, and some stay out for a couple of years, get really big, then return.

Just trying to understand more about the sport.... ;)

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All pacific salmon die after spawning. This includes the small ones which were likely "jacks" which are younger males that return to spawn with the rest of the adult fish. The fish generally stop eating as soon as they enter fresh water. They do bite, however, because they are territorial and aggressive.

Steelhead and atlantic salmon, on the other hand, can recover and head back to the ocean after spawning. You may have heard of the term "kelt" which is used to describe a recovering steelhead following spawning.

Here's a link where you can get a little more info on salmon (and other BC game fish) biology:


Enjoy the resource!
Thanks for the education and the link! :D
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