Hatchery Fish & Precocious Jacks.

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    I caught a really small precocious jack salmon around 2lbs on Sunday and there was another one caught about the same size. It wasn’t fin clipped but a lot of people have been saying the small fish have been hatchery fish.

    In today’s paper it mentions “There have been a number of unclipped smaller salmon landed, which would seem to indicate that they have originated from one of the hatcheries serving the Waimakariri river” If not fin clipped how would they know. Can anyone tell me whether all hatchery fish in the Waimak are fin clipped? The press also mentions that the fish are clipped from the hatchery at peacock springs.

    I also found this research which explains why there is a lot of precocious jacks with the hatchery fish, due to high growth rates in the hatchery environment. Also wonder whether the incubators being used in some of the spawning grounds might contribute.


    Some people I have spoken to have said these precocious jacks do a lot of damage to the redds, while others have said they help finish of the fertilization of any unfertilized eggs. Looking at the research up to 25% of the returning hatchery stock can be precocious jacks whereas in the wild it is more likely to be 2.5% -1%.


    research overseas has shown that precocious jacks are not detrimental to salmon fisheries , it natures way of ensuring survival. some precocious jacks in the northern hemisphere never go to sea and are about 200mm in size but their progeny size is not restricted because of this. some almost of f&g releases are finned clipped silverstream do release their surplus stock that are generally smaller when released so have a lower survival rate. f&g are releasing smolt from both silverstream and peacock springs and have for the last 3 years and doubled the amount of releases and therefore double in theory the returns. the small size is because they are 2year fish there should be large ones next year as a 10lb 2year should double in size as a 3 year depending on food. have wondered if the quakes 3yrs ago have had an effect on the spawning wild fish and is causing a lack of 3 year fish this year. the other thing is I personally think that precocious jacks are the best eating salmon. another thing surplus stock from silverstream are 95% female as that’s what fish farms want.


    Thanks for the info Larry. Had caught another one in the Hurunui a week before around 3-4 lbs. Felt just like a kahawai except it didn’t jump. Hauled it up on to the rocks as it didn’t take any line even when I slackened the drag off. Will treat all fish with more care now.

    Fitted diagonally in the hot smoker whole. Didn’t brine it or put any brown sugar on it. Scored it four times. Best salmon I have tasted.

    Hopefully I will catch something over 10lbs this season.


    nice stat and work… :)

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