Atlantic Salmon

Scientific name: Salmo salar (Linnaeus, 1758)
Irish name: Bradán
Hybrids: Trout–salmon hybrids sometimes occur but are rare
Irish record angling fish: 25.855kg (1874, River Suir)
Native species: Yes

Description & Distribution

Description & Distribution

The appearance of Atlantic salmon depends on the age, sex and condition of the fish. Juvenile salmon, or parr, look quite like brown trout parr, but they are generally a more uniform silver/grey colour with a dull grey adipose fin. Salmon parr have well-defined dark grey parr marks along their sides, as well as numerous blackish spots above their lateral line but few or none below it.

When parr change into smolts on their way to sea, they lose their spots and parr marks and, they become very silvery in colour. Adult salmon are steel-blue and silver in colour when they are fresh from the sea. At spawning time, the females become dark and dull in colour, whereas the males develop a hook, or kype, in the lower jaw and become mottled with red and orange.

Atlantic salmon are native to the river basins of Europe and eastern North America that drain into the North Atlantic Ocean. Although attempts have been made to introduce the species to western North America, New Zealand and Argentina, they have not resulted in self-sustaining populations in the wild.

Salmon are a widespread fish in Ireland and are found in river systems throughout the country.

juvenile salmon