Salmo salar - The Atlantic Salmon

Salmo salar - The Atlantic Salmon

"King of Fish"

I figured we'd start this post with a little biology lesson - that fancy Salmo salar name is binomial nomenclature, a.k.a. the scientific name, for the Atlantic salmon. When we read or hear the word "salmon," we may visualize a shiny fish hurling it’s body out of the water right into a grizzly's mouth. Their species name, Salar, means "leaper" and they can jump almost 12 feet. However, they generally go airborne when being hooked, which in turn coined "The Leaper" nickname, rather than intentionally jumping into a bear's mouth. But nonetheless, fun facts!

Although there are differences between Atlantic and Pacific salmon, most salmon species start their migrations in the spring or early summer, and spawn in the fall. (September - November). This migration is called the salmon run. So considering it's fall now, and we're personally located on the Atlantic coast, we thought it would be appropriate to cover none other than....the Atlantic salmon!

However, prior to continuing with this post, if you want to fish for these guys we must amend our scientific name to: Salmo salar sebago, which means "landlocked salmon."  Here's why:

Wild Atlantic salmon are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2000, and both the commercial and recreational fisheries are closed. Although Atlantic salmon were once native to almost every coastal river northeast of the Hudson River in New York, populations dropped dramatically, and have not recovered yet. The last wild U.S. populations are found in Maine.

The reasons for their decline include habitat destruction, particularly dams that block access to historic spawning habitat, as well as water pollution, bycatch in other fisheries, and overfishing.

You can find them in fish-able numbers in Eastern Canada, including Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and to a degree on Prince Edward Island. Additionally, they are dispersed throughout Northern Europe, including Ireland, Scotland, Norway, and Iceland. The biggest numbers of salmon today are found in Russian rivers. (Please note: This location information was obtained from the Orvis Salmon Resource Center).

If you are fishing for landlocked salmon, once water temperatures reach the mid-50s, Atlantics move offshore and into deeper portions of the lake. Fall fishing focuses on spawning fish moving near and into rivers and streams. Since spawning salmon greatly reduce their food intake, the fish must often be enticed to strike bait, lures, or flies. Patience and perseverance are often the key to hooking a big adult Atlantic salmon in the fall (dec, ny).

There are many ways to fish for Atlantics. These include drift fishing, jigging, trolling, fly fishing, and still fishing. You can use cured fish roe, flies, plugs, spoons, cut bait, freshwater live bait, and spinner baits.  However, sea run Atlantic salmon are not generally angled for in lakes nor are they fished for with cut bait or live bait.

"In every species of fish I've angled for, it is the ones that have got away that thrill me the most, the ones that keep fresh in my memory. So I say it is good to lose fish. If we didn't, much of the thrill of angling would be gone." - Ray Bergman

And lastly, a huge thanks to the NOAA for reviewing this post and ensuring factually accuracy!  Check out their agency here.

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