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Kings and Age/Size


f1sh-0n

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I been reading all the discussions this year about mature kings and about the Salmon River floods four years ago.  This was the talk of the town when i was up this weekend.  

 

After landing 8 kings this weekend, I am trying to get a better understanding of age and weight.  That is if there is a correlation which i would assume there is.  We landed 3 matures all around 20lbs and I am thinking these are 3 year olds. We also landed 2 10-12lbers and I am assuming these are 2 year olds.  Also landed a few skippies and thinking these are the 1 year olds.  

 

Along with watching the LOC board and listening to the radio talk there definitely seems to be a shortage of Salmon over the 25lb mark which I believe (let me know if I am wrong) are 4 year olds.  The good news is that there seems to be more of the smaller kings in the salmon river area that I have ever seen.  Out of the 30 or so kings I got last year I dont think I got one under 20lbs.  

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I would say a 4 year old is a+30lb king.

 

Anything from 20 - 29 lbs is likely a 3 year old.

 

Basically I believe a king grows around 6-10 lbs per year, on average.

 

You could be more precise by looking at various government (or fishing association) reports,

which have by investigation determined salmon age in a sample population.

 

The last report, if I recall correctly, indicated about 70% were 3 year olds, about 20% 4 year olds, and a few 2 year olds.

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I was thinking anything over 25lbs was a 4 yr old but I am no pro that is for sure.  Seems like last year one weekend all I got was 20-22lbs and than another weekend were all 25-29lbs.  i guess the bigger ones could be females.  All the ones I got this weekend were male in that 20-22lb range.  And had plenty of bait in them.  

 

So if the floods were 4 years ago that would be this years mature fish at 3.5 years old.    

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Your original post is pretty close to dead on. 1 1/2 yr olds(skippers) can range from 1 1/2 to 3lbs this time of year. The 2 1/2 yr olds are usually around 7lbs ranging from 4 to 10 lbs. 3 1/2 yr olds can be all over in size as not all of them mature. The mature returning 3 1/2 yr olds are usually 16 to 25lbs. Any given year, regardless of the size of the Salmon crop available, 4 1/2 yr olds are a smaller population. The usually weigh 25 to 30lbs. It is my opinion that in recent yrs a large portion of the 4 1/2 yr olds are naturally reproduced fish. The slower start in the wild tends to see them mature in their 4th year.

If you are just trying to "eyeball" the 4 1/2 yr olds, length is a better indicator of age. As adults they will be in the high 30's to low 40's in inches. The longest one we ever boated was 46 inches, but we have landed several in the low 40 inch range that weighed considerably more than that one.

This year, perhaps due to the intense winter or as a correction by mother nature due to the shortage of 3 1/2 yr olds, there seems to be more early maturing fish. Seeing mature 12lbers certainly is not because of any kind of bait shortage, as there are mind boggling amounts of alewife out there this year.    

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Thanks for the reply capt. This gives me a better understanding of age of salmon caught in the summer/fall.

I did notice that probably 80% of my fish last year were wild fish (no fin clip). Unfortunately the hatchery stopped the fin clipping and if I recall correctly this will be the last year of the fin clipped fish and those will have to be 4 1/2 year olds.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Ok just read fin clipping (adipose) was done thru 2011. Was not done in 2012 but I believe was done in 2013.

Reviewing the pictures of 3 matures that I caught this weekend I noticed only one of them were fin clipped which would mean this fish was in fact 3 1/2 years old.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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How can you tell if a fish is mature?  Also, can you tell males from females easily without killing them?  Thanks for helping to educate me.

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Most matures are 31/2 with very few being 41/2.   Look at some of the Lake Ontario Bioligist reports on the DEC website. There is some good info there. There is a very small percentage of kings that make it to 4 years. Just because a fish is in the upper 20's does not mean it is 4 years old. 

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How can you tell if a fish is mature?  Also, can you tell males from females easily without killing them? 

 

I mature will usually be of a darker color.  The skin on a mature is much tougher and it will seldom lose any scales.  A mature will usually begin to develop teeth and if it is a male a kype.   You definitely can't go by size because you can have one year (jacks) that have reached the end of their life cycle.  Not sure what makes some salmon spawn at 4 1/2 and some at 3 1/2 or even 1 1/2.  

 

Sometimes distinguishing a male and female without killing it is pretty much impossible but other times can be done. From my experiences the fatter ones are usually the females because they are carrying the eggs.  But usually the number one difference is the shape of the mouth.  

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