OK so you’ve just caught your first Salmon from the Kelvin, It’s a big beast of a thing still alive and thrashing in your landing net. The fisherman in us all will instinctively fumble about looking for that homemade priest and wonder have I got a bin bag big enough for this Leviathan……STOP for a minute and think!
What have I got in my net here? Is it a Cock, a Hen or a Kelt? If you’re unsure then this wee guide might help you identify your catch and make an informed decision as to whether you should really kill this fish:
How to identify a clean Salmon
Maturing Cock and Hen
These are usually less coloured than cocks of similar age and they
never have enlarged jaws. This one will have spent a few weeks in river or
estuary – note the coloured head and lack of true silver flanks.
Cock and Hen In Breeding Dress
The combination of ‘tartan’ colours is typical although shades vary the fully developed kype, used in fighting rivals is the most consistent indicator of maturity.
This is a summer fish – springers are often darker by spawning timewhile late entrants may still be silver flanked. Fully mature hens have soft, swollen bellies and spawning is imminent if they also have protruding vents.
Considering the above:
- It is illegal to deliberately attempt to foul hook fish.
- It is illegal to kill kelts, smolts or parr.
- It is illegal to take unclean or unseasonable fish (anything but a fresh salmon – see pictures above)
- It is illegal to fish with any form of salmon roe.
- It is illegal to fish with a “fixed line.”
It is illegal to kill anything apart from fresh salmon – this is why you are not allowed to fish off bridges – how can you net safely or return an unclean fish – an unclean fish should be netted and returned safely to the water with a minimal amount of fuss.
The hard graft of this article was submitted by Grant