Salmo salar

Current British record: 64lb 0oz (1922) Miss G W Ballatine, River Tay, Scotland


This is the king of game fishing, everyone has heard of salmon and most people have eaten one too. Salmon are dotted all over the UK but are known to enjoy the waters of Scotland and Ireland. The salmon is a long and lean silvery fish with a large tail to propel its way upstream when spawning. The average weight of a salmon is around the 6-12lb mark, with the British record standing at a massive 64lb.


Records suggest that the average weight of a Salmon is anywhere between 5 to 12 pounds in weight. The UK's best is a 64lb monster which was caught in Scotland in 1922!


The average length of an adult Salmon is 120 cm with a maximum of around 150cm. These are big fish that pack a punch when caught.


Records suggest that the maximum age for a salmon is around 13 years.


Salmon live in two habitats, Freshwater and Ocean. FRESHWATER - Gravelled areas with cobbles and boulders where they can hide and rest. Salmon thrive in clean, fresh and unpolluted waters. Salmon like to live in rivers which have natural grassy banks with trees near the river edge. This is because lots of insects live in the overhanging grasses and trees and can be easy meals when they fall into the water. Deciduous trees are also useful to shade the edges of riverbanks. This shade provides cover for the fish so that predators find it harder to seek them out. OCEAN - It is unclear what Salmon do when in the sea apart from feeding on the great variety of foods. The British and Norwegian Governments and funding research to find out more.


The Salmon is a powerful schooling fish that will spend a few years of its life in rivers and will then head to the ocean to feed before returning to the same area that it was born to breed. Adult Atlantic salmon are considered much more aggressive than other salmon and are more likely to attack other fish. They are such an invasive threat they attack native salmon, such as Chinook salmon and coho salmon and this has become a great concern.


When living their first few years close where they were born, the Salmon will eat most insects and crustaceans, Salmon are keen on flies and will snap at worms, shrimps and prawns too. The Salmon does not feed when returning to spawn you will have to rely on the species natural instinct to snap at close baits. This will need the perfect presentation to be successful.


It is thought that the average age of sexual maturity is around 5 years of age.


Salmon seek out shallow and clean parts of their river environment between the months of October to January. The Females will use their tails to make a Redd, a bed or nest for their eggs. Their eggs are large and orange in colour. The males will seek out a spot that will allow a high success of breeding, i.e a covered darker area compared to an open area where the eggs maybe eaten by other species. Once fertilised the female will cover the eggs by moving the gravel and debris with its powerful tail. Hatching takes place three to four months later and are called Alevins, these are still within their own yolk sac which provides enough nutrients to continue growing into a Parr (the next step of growth). Parr are around 3 to 4 inches and are known to shoal for protection. Once reached a length of 8 inches by feeding on local foods such as grubs and insects they will lose their brown colour and take on the appearance of an adult with a silver metallic sheen. The fish will swim downstream and may take 3 to 4 years to reach the destination of the sea. When they finally migrate they are named Smolt. They will feast in the sea waters and grow to great weights only to return to their birth place to start the cycle again. Salmon will change their colours throughout their life depending on their spawning/migratory state.


All information is from a variety of sources, if you think we have missed something? Email with your update.

See you on the bank.

The Fishing UK Team!

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