The Atlantic salmon

The Atlantic salmon
Difficulty

Period

All year

Minimum size

50 cm

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The Atlantic salmon belongs to the Salmonidae family. Atlantic salmon can measure up to 1.50 m in length and weigh up to 36 kg. The average longevity of Atlantic salmon is estimated at 10 years. It breeds from October to November. The female lays 1500 to 1800 eggs per kg of weight. It can be fished all year round.
Atlantic salmon have an elongated and slender body. The anal fin has eight to eleven rays. The caudal is large, concave in adults and forked in young people. The head is small and flattened on top. The mouth is large (split to the posterior edge of the eye) and has strong teeth on the jaws, tongue and palate. The scales are large and visible. The lateral line is straight. Large black dots on a light background form X on the head, back and dorsal fin. The color varies from blue to blue-grey on the back, it is silvery on the sides. It varies during the spawning season, with adults turning bronze to dark brown. They lose their silvery livery when they enter fresh water. Males are marked with red dots on the sides. The young are marked with seven to eleven vertical fingerprints that they will lose when they enter the sea. As spawning approaches, the male's head will change: it will elongate, the lower jaw will develop and bend to form a hook (male "becard").

The Atlantic salmon lifestyle

At sea its food is mainly composed of small fish such as Atlantic herring, rainbow smelt, capelin and sand lance but also small crustaceans (amphipods and decapods). When it returns to its river, it stops feeding. Young parr feed mainly on terrestrial and aquatic insects such as phrygans or mayflies. Larvae of these same insects are also part of its diet.
It is a species that lives at sea and breeds in fresh water in gravel beds where the water is fresh and oxygenated. They move up the river and find spawning grounds upstream of rivers and streams. Spawning takes place in October and November and the female can lay 1800 eggs per kilogram. The salmon prepare the nests and then the eggs hatch in spring in the streams. Once spawning is complete, the salmon return to the sea.

The Atlantic Salmon habitat

Young salmon are found in rivers with gravelly bottoms and moderately fast currents. They then move to the large lakes or in salt water (coastal waters and high seas). As adults they return to the river to spawn. After spawning, adults overwinter in the deepest parts of the river before returning to sea the following spring. It is at this time that they are nicknamed "black salmon".
Atlantic salmon are found in the North Atlantic, Northeast America and Northwest Europe.

The Atlantic Salmon angling

Where fishing is permitted, Atlantic salmon can be fished with a metal lure, a natural lure, but they are mainly fished by fly.
Some salmon fishermen or traditional salmon fishermen use two-handed rods that allow you to throw at 25 or even 30 meters, you can also use modern one-handed rods such as those at Carbonne which are quite light. For the choice of the fly, it is necessary to take into account its silhouette, three or four models in two different sizes are sufficient. It is also necessary to take into account the water temperature, which is why fishermen have thermometers with them.
So, for your information, the ideal temperature for fly fishing for Atlantic salmon is about 6°C. You have to fish very close to the surface and on the contrary you have to fish towards the bottom when the temperature is colder.

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