Species: Atlantic Salmon
Also known as: Bay Salmon, Black Salmon, Caplin-Scull Salmon, Sebago Salmon, Silver Salmon, Fiddler, or Outside Salmon. At different points in their maturation and life cycle, they are known as; Parr, Smolt, Grilse, Grilt, Kelt, Slink, and Spring Salmon.
Latin Name: Salmo salar
Atlantic Salmon are anadromous, which means they can live in both fresh and saltwater. They have a relatively complex life history that begins as eggs in rivers. Here they grow into juveniles before migrating to saltwater.
Here they grow and mature before returning to freshwater as adults to spawn. Unlike Pacific Salmon, Atlantic Salmon try to return to the sea after spawning. They do this to replenish all the weight they have lost through the stressful process.
Not all Salmon will make it back. For many, the stress can be too much. However, the ones that do make the whole journey will be ready to return to spawn again after a couple of years rest. It is these multi spawning fish that tend to be the larger specimens all Salmon anglers wish to target.
Young Salmon that are still in freshwater rivers are Parr; at this stage, the fish have brown to bronze-coloured bodies with dark vertical bars and red and black spots.
Atlantic Salmon in the wild
These markings are designed as camouflage to help protect them from predators. Once the Parr is ready to migrate to the ocean, their appearance changes. Their vertical barring disappears, and they become silvery with nearly black backs and white bellies. When they are adult fish, they are ready to return to freshwater to spawn. They grow very bright silver with black speckled spots.
Once Atlantic Salmon have been in fresh water for some time, they darken to a bronze colour before spawning in the Autumn. After spawning, adult fish (which are now referred to as Kelts) can darken further. They are often referred to as Black Salmon. Once adults return to the ocean, they revert to their counter-shaded colouration dominated by silver.
Atlantic Salmon that return to rivers to spawn will tend to be on average four years old. These fish will have spent two years in the freshwater rivers as Parr. Before spending the last two year out in the ocean feeding and packing on weight.
These fish are often referred to by anglers as sea winter fish. They would be on average around the 8lb to 12 lb range. Juvenile fish that return after just one season out at sea are known as Grilse. By their nature, they will be smaller fish.
Average Size of Atlantic Salmon
The average size of fish is the 2-winter fish that average between 8lb to 12lb. However, it is still possible to catch smaller Salmon around the 4lb upwards mark. Right the way through to that fish of a lifetime. With a weight well over 40lb. Make sure to head over to our YouTube Channel and watch some of our exciting Atlantic Salmon Fly Fishing videos to get a taste of the action.
Where to catch Atlantic Salmon
There are three groups of Atlantic salmon: North American, European, and Baltic. These groups are found in the waters of North America, Iceland, Greenland, Europe, and Russia. Atlantic Salmon spawn in the coastal rivers of northeastern North America, Iceland, Europe, and north-western Russia. These groups of fish always return to their respective rivers. It is here where fly fisherman from all over the world target the King of all Salmon. The bright chrome Atlantic Salmon.
Most travelling anglers from the UK are looking for better fishing. Due to the unfortunate decline in Scottish Salmon numbers. The most popular Atlantic Salmon rivers are located in places such as Norway on the Gaula River, Reisa River and Orkla River. In Eastern Canada, on the east coast, the famous rivers for Atlantic Salmon are Bonaventure and Grand Cascapedia, Petite Cascapedia and Sainte-Anne River.
Fishing holidays in Canada are also renowned for holding the record of the largest Atlantic Salmon ever caught. Your chances of catching a personal best in Canada are solid. In Sweden, there are some tremendous wild rivers. As Sweden is not well known with travelling anglers, the rivers tend to have less pressure. These rivers include Byske River, Sävar River and Ore River.
Fishing Methods for Atlantic Salmon
Fishing for Atlantic Salmon can be conducted with single-handed rods mainly but only on small rivers. The traditional method is Spey casting. This involves the use of a double-handed rod. Which is not there to try and help you cast further, but also to help you control your fly rod line.
Although there are many variants, anglers mainly cast downstream a little from the noon position. They then allow the fly line to swing the fly across the current and river towards the bank. Usually, an angler will start at the head of a poll/beat and fish for Salmon on their way down. Taking two steps after two casts.
When reaching the end of the pool/beat, it’s best to rest and relax on the fishing river before starting the process again.
The variety of flies is enormous, and they all have their place on the right day and right time. The majority of times anglers will use wet flies, that sink below the surface. Some of these flies are fished on both plastic and metal tubes. Allowing the fly to sink quicker and deeper.
Other flies can be used, such as dry flies which stay on the surface like a falling leaf. The fishing rivers in Quebec are famous for this. There is nothing more exciting than watching an Atlantic Salmon rise to take your fly off the surface. In other location such as Iceland and Russia, skated flies or waked flies are used across the surface.
Are you interested in our Atlantic Salmon fishing trips to Canada or Norway? Contact us today on 01603 407596 and our experts will help find your dream Atlantic Salmon fishing trips. Make sure to explore all our Atlantic Salmon Fishing trips here, and request a free brochure.