A lonely chalkstream salmon?

Reg Wyatt

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
924
Speaking to someone today who said salmon have got a long way upstream on the Test this season, mainly because of high flows all year. Plenty of redds have been seen at Wherwell and slightly above at Longparish which is fantastic news and offers superb spawning conditions. Most of the redds have a pair of salmon although the furthest upstream appears to only have a single hen fish, which got me wondering. Do salmon travel upstream already in pairs looking for suitable spawning ground or do they travel alone and hopefully meet up?! Could a fish find itself alone and unable to successfully spawn or would it just go back downstream?

Reg Wyatt
 

PaulD

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
1,787
Location
South Northants
Pairs, or would be pairs do not travel together and not all females are successful spawners. Numbers will return to the sea as 'baggots', well mended kelts that will absorb their eggs.
 

3lbgrayling

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
31,477
Location
Central Scotland
But never forget the ''Precocious parr.that can and regularly nip in'' but I think you need a cock fish to agitate the hen enough to get her to spawn.Before they get in on the act.

Jim

PS The Tay opens for ''Spring fishing'' on Friday.
 

sawyer

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2012
Messages
229
An interesting question about when Salmon pair, I have been fortunate to fish for over 40 years on a small spate river in N.Wales, that, when the water subsides you can often watch the fish in their lies (if you know where to look). I have seen cock fish early in the season (August for our Salmon) "defend" a Hen fish in her lie from other fish parr/brown trout included. As the season progresses this becomes (for obvious reasons) far more apparent often to the point of seeing a good size Hen lying alongside a rock with good number of smaller Cock fish vying for position roundabouts, many bearing the scars of battle! On quite a few occasions I have hooked & played a fish only to be able to see every move of the captive followed by one or more fish, this always results in the caught fish being a Hen. As Aenoon has said it is a fact used by anglers on the river who know where a Hen is lying to either fish a large red fly or cast a simliar spinner to agitate the Cock fish in to attacking. I once had a heart stopping moment as a fish of around 12lb literally tore across a pool in pursuit of a 3" Rapala fished mid water, there was a huge bow wave & a splash & swirl as it struck the Rapala at my feet (I was on a bank a couple of feet above the water). The odd thing about that was, as I could see the whole episode from on high, the fish never opened its mouth to "take" but just seemed hell bent on ramming the plug.
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
7,611

Reg Wyatt

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
924
Very interesting replies thankyou. Seems to be a real promising amount of salmon redds quite a long way up the Test and Itchen this year. Some good news.

Reg Wyatt
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
7,611
Cheers Reg.
Had hoped the removal/mitigation of barriers to migration in the Taff would have changed the fortunes of the river's migratory fish but the barrage at the mouths of the Taff and Ely has done for them despite millions having been spent on stocking hatchery fish and constructing passes.
Similarly the wading birds which once inhabited the estuaries pre-barrage have disappeared rather than relocated, neighbouring populations remained stable rather than expanding, there isn't enough spare habitat to accommodate the displaced.
Fish passes and stocking will never overcome major changes to the nature of a river, some damage is irreparable.
 

Reg Wyatt

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
924
Seems incredible on the chalk streams that not that long ago salmon too far up the river were seen as real pests interfering with trout spawning. There was a 'gentlemens' agreement that the salmon wouldn't be allowed above a certain point on the river! The Test at forty odd miles long is hardly a long slog for a salmon but still it is marvellous to see them this high up and in fantastic spawning habitat.
Not much experience with fish passes but see the efforts at salmon hatchery broodstock programmes on the chalk streams and they've all been a dismal failure.

Reg Wyatt
 

JohnH

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
4,473
Location
Near Southampton
Reg, I believe Dave Steuart installed a Denil fish pass at Abbey Mill, Romsey in the late 1980s, see Charles Bingham's book about the River Test. If plenty of salmon have been seen well upstream of Romsey, it would seem Dave's fish pass is working well ?
 

bobmiddlepoint

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
2,645
Location
Up me own ar5e!
Seems incredible on the chalk streams that not that long ago salmon too far up the river were seen as real pests interfering with trout spawning. There was a 'gentlemens' agreement that the salmon wouldn't be allowed above a certain point on the river!

Reg Wyatt

I knew a man who was (many years ago) invited to the Boxing Day shoot of salmon on the redds on the Avon above Salisbury.

On the subject of when they pair up. I have read somewhere that the cock fish run onto the spawning grounds first to establish a territory. I'm not sure how you would ever prove this in a river where fish spawn along it's length. You wouldn't know if the cock fish you were looking at in the middle reaches came from upstream, downstream or had just been sat there half the season.
FWIW when the drought came to an end here last October I saw fish running the falls on a small trib on the first spate and 90% of them were cock fish. I suspect (hope) the bulk of the hens followed them up a couple of weeks later on a bigger spate.

On the other hand I've also read that the cocks follow the hens so who knows!



Andy
 
Top