Sunday, January 20, 2013

Salmon Fishing Scotland Spring Salmon Identification January 2013.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Spring Salmon Identification January 2013.

Spring Atlantic Salmon Identification.

The Spring Salmon fishing season is now well underway on the Tay in Perthshire, Scotland after a very successful Opening Day on Tuesday past.
Atlantic Salmon fishing is never easy at this time of year for the untrained eye so I thought i would remind everyone about the identification of the different salmon that can be caught in the river at the start of a new season.
This is particularly important as we still have a few late run fish due to seasons over lapping from Autumn to spring and identifying them can be difficult. It is clearly important to get it correct despite us returning them all unharmed.
Easy one to start. This is a spring run salmon which is what we are all after at this time of year.

This is a Kelt. Novices take note of the thin eel like look of the fish and the big head in proportion to the body. Once the season gets into late February and March the kelts turn very silver as they prepare to go to sea so identifying them against springers can be more difficult for the inexperienced.

This is a female unspawned salmon which is called a Baggot and can be very silver if not long in the river. The body still has a girth because it has still to spawn.

Lastly this is a male salmon still full of milt and tends to be the fish that causes the most debate. The Kype tends to be well pronounced and you can catch these fish with sea lice at this time of year. This was termed a Kipper by the Ghillies or a Rawner. Possibly this has been a late runner as it is still quite silver and would widely accepted as a good fish in the Autumn.
This was a salmon I caught some years ago thinking it was a springer to be told by a far more experienced angler that it was a rawner or late autumn runner.This fish was caught in early February and as you can see from the picture had sea lice on it. Being an experienced salmon angler I am still willing to learn as I did on that occasion and I feel I still can learn off others as you never know it all.
Having spoken to a lot more experienced anglers and ghillies a true springer that is a Two Sea Winter salmon has hardly any kype to distinguish it from a female salmon. In fact at this time of year you could hardly tell the difference between the sexes of spring salmon. There is no doubt a kype indicates breeding intentions and spawning. The fish with kypes are very late autumn fish.

This however may not be the case in Three Sea Winter or older male salmon which will have a small Kype development but not a large Kype such as an Autumn male. There hopefully will be a run of larger Spring salmon on the Tay this season as happened last year which will be three sea winter fish. This is good news for the Tay as the average weight in the spring continues to rise. In fact this year we are hoping that a 40 pounder will be landed. These special fish are extremely valuable to the system and every effort should be made to conserve them by returning them to the system for the future.
There is no doubt this is a very emotive subject at this time of year.
The salmon runs on the Tay have changed over the last decade as probably on the other big rivers such as the Dee, Spey and Tweed. On the Tay the main spring run starts well into March, the Grilse run is now the end of August and there is fresh run fish way into November and December. I know from listening to the news the general seasons are up in the air with global warming etc. I am sure the salmon do not know whether they are coming or going!
There is no doubt quite a few claimed springers are not the genuine article when you see the pictures. The philosophy of "if it has sea lice there is no doubt" just does not ring true i'm afaid. I would say if there is any doubt at all don't claim it as a spring salmon.

I hope this helps everyone out braving the elements at this time of year. Who said Salmon fishing is easy! Tight lines.

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