The Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is a
popular and famous game fish in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and
Quebec and on the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and
The body of the Fish is elongated and
moderately compressed laterally. The mouth is large, the
maxillary extending to a point just behind the eye. There are
strong teeth on the jaws and tongue, weak and little-developed
teeth on the vomer, and few deciduous teeth on the shaft of the
vomer. There are large x-shaped black spots on the head and on
the upper sides of the body; few or none on the tail fin. At two
or three months, salmon parr are brown or grey on the back, with
seven to eleven dark vertical bars on the sides, red or
vermilion spots between the bars, black spots mostly on the
back, and a fairly well-forked tail.
Salmon smolt have a silvery coat which covers
the bars and red spots, though some of the black spots are still
visible; the tail is well forked. Adult salmon are brownish, or
bluish, grey above, becoming silvery on the sides.
For comparison in the brown trout, the
maxillary extends well beyond the eye; the scales are smaller
than those of the Atlantic salmon (120 in the lateral line); and
the black spots on the sides have a light halo. In the rainbow
trout, the maxillary extends far beyond the eye, and there are
numerous black spots on the body, particularly on
the caudal tin; red spots are absent.
Atlantic Salmon have a maximum age of around
The Atlantic salmon occurs in the north Atlantic ocean; in
Europe, south to Portugal; and inthe west, from southern
Greenland, eastern Ungava Bay and Labrador, south to Maine. It
is landlocked in lakes of Quebec, the Maritime Provinces and
Maine. Similar landlocked forms occur in Europe. The
classification of these forms as sub-species so far has no
justification on a genetic basis.
Introductions of Atlantic salmon in certain
New York and New England lakes have been successful. A permanent
freshwater population has been established in Trout Lake,
Nipissing District, Ontario. Currently there are
ongoing projects to help restore
the Atlantic Salmon to Lake Ontario
Salmon spend most of their time in the sea but travel up
freshwater streams to spawn. Their progeny may remain in the
stream from one to three years (and as many as eight years in
North Labrador) before becoming smolts and descending to
the sea where they grow to maturity.
The mouth of the stream should be wide and
deep to ensure free passage. Salmon prefer cool, clear water
with little sediment in the riffles, and with suitable cover
such as rocks, behind and under which the young salmon may find
shelter. Height of water during the summer is of great
importance because it determines the extent of the habitat
available for young salmon. The extent of predation may be
determined by the amount of shelter available to the fry.
Salmon are most active and presumably in best
condition at 55°F . Temperatures above this point become less
and less favourable, with death occurring at 84°F. to
93°F.,depending on the size and acclimation of the fish. A high
summer temperature may be a significant factor in the
non-survival of young salmon.