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Ronan's report

Wednesday 29 Mai, 2013

Looking at the typical life cycle of an Atlantic salmon, we will find them changing their look all the time. Those having been feeding in the ocean for a year or even longer are usually fat, bright silver colored and simply in perfect conditions. When these fish start to migrate back (for spawning) to the place far upstream their home river, where once they were born, they soon start to change. They start putting on their spawning color coat and since they stop feeding they will start to loose weight slowly, too.

Now when these fish just enter the lower part of their home river in early salmon angling season, they will still be fat and bright silver. Those fish are what we like to call "chromers". Sometimes - when they are just 1-3 days in freshwater - they even may be sea-liced. The sea lice can't live longer than 3 days in freshwater and then will fall of. A perfect fish to most experienced Atlantic salmon anglers is a sea-liced chromer!

During the next weeks they soon will further change their look. Yes, they still will look silver for a while, but it won't be this light shining silver any longer and instead turn into a slightly darker one. The longer the salmons will be in the river, the more of the (dark brown) spawning coat they will have taken on. A brown colored salmon often has lost significant weight already. Maybe it's therefore, that he no longer will be a perfect fish to lots of salmon angling geeks though?

In the end of the year the salmons will be spawning. Several weeks after spawning (in spring time) some salmons will start their journey back to their feeding grounds far out in the ocean, while others will naturally die in the river. Those salmons AFTER spawning on their way back to the ocean are called "kelts". These fish are mostly thin and often have injuries - especially at their tail fins. Depending on how long after spawning one may catch a kelt, they may be in silver color again - usually not as silver as those just entering the river for the first time again, but already far of the dark brown colored spawning coat.

In some rivers like in the famous river Mörrum in Sweden anglers are allowed to (and many do) fish for these kelts. In other rivers like in Norway and in Scotland it is not allowed to fish for kelts. But this is only half of the truth, because depending on when the angling season starts there will always be a few kelts left in the river, while the new spawners are arriving already. So it's fair to say: A salmon river can be like a box of chocolate, you never know what you gonna get!

Tons of discussions have always taken place around catching a kelt and what such a catch may or may not mean to the angler. Some anglers think it is completely wrong to fish for these salmons in non perfect conditions (sometimes even those in the brown colored spawning coat - before spawning - are included here), while others like their tradition to fish for them and (mostly) release them again like in Mörrum. In all these discussions I personally believe that one argument will always hold true: Only the fish we release, may get a chance to spawn again!

No matter when and where one may decide to fish for Atlantic salmon it usually will be a very special moment when it takes the fly. Very special, because most days it simply never happens! It's often been said one will not be a true salmon angler yet, when not having fished a full week without getting a single take first.

Now you cannot say to the sun, "More sun." or to the rain, "Less rain.". To those of us having huge experience in fly fishing for Atlantic salmon not every salmon may offer a perfect catch. They are all different. And yet only very few ones are sea-liced, fat and bright silver. To understand that a beginner with a lot of courage working hard to catch his first salmon would find his prayers being answered even by catching a kelt, can that not be called happiness? After all sharing the happiness based on a catch to me is the most important part of sharing my fly fishing with fellow anglers. It doesn't matter how a fish may look. What matters to me is, that we all are happy within the one second the lines end is starting to be pulled in opposite direction! And who knows it might be YOUR perfect Atlantic salmon. I have caught it myself a few times. I wish all of you the same!

All my best


p.s.: My perfect Atlantic salmon will always be the sea-liced chromer. But it wasn't always like that!

Pic Of Day



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