The salmon (Salmo salar) is a highly prized, hard-fighting fish. Read more, including the best way to catch one.
Locating salmon that are returning to their spawning grounds can be difficult, but not as difficult as tempting them to your hook.Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager
Appearance: they are a long, muscular fish with a silvery, steel appearance with some red-brown spotty colouration. As with all salmonid species they have a small rounded fin between the dorsal fin and tail fin known as the adipose fin. During spawning, the male salmon becomes darker than the female, the mouth becomes elongated and the lower jaw typically becomes hooked in shape. The mouth also has a row of small teeth. The mouth does not extend further than the eye (in trout the mouth extends beyond the eye).
British record: 64lb (British record committee 2015)
Lateral line scale count: 109-130 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fish's body)
Lifespan: up to 13 years
We like salmon because: they are a highly prized, hard-fighting fish.
How to catch a salmon
During their return to freshwater from the sea to spawn, salmon do not feed. They are however particularly aggressive and will bite and lash out at most things they perceive as a threat to spawning.
Locating salmon that are returning to their spawning grounds can be difficult, but not as difficult as tempting them to your hook. Remember that returning salmon are often exhausted, so they rest up in pools created by large rocks or depressions in the river bed. They can also get held up at weirs, trying to get over them or waiting for enough flow to allow them to proceed.
The traditional angler will use a large feathered hook known as a fly. The salmon probably interpret the fly as a rival to spawning or simply just as an annoying fish. More modern approaches use large silver spoons or artificial lures. Again the salmon most likely sees them as a threat to spawning, and therefore lashes out and bites.
Where to catch a salmon
Rivers such as the River Severn, Tees and Usk have good salmon populations.
Last date edited: 24 December 2020