Landlocked Salmon by xiw67167


									Landlocked Salmon
Salmo salar

       The landlocked salmon (Salmo salar)is one of the most
prized game fish in the Northeast. First found in Maine and
                southeastern Canada, it may be native to Lake Champlain and has since been distributed
                throughout North America and Europe. There are no physical differences between the
                landlocked salmon, which spends its entire life in fresh water, and the sea-run Atlantic
                salmon, which spends most of its adult life in salt water. Both are leapers and keep the
                angler's adrenaline flowing.

                              Vermont Wildlife Fact Sheet

Physical Description                  averages six to 12 inches in             salmon, whereas in trout it
                                      length, its skin is silvery with no      extends to behind the eye.
         There are several            parr marks on the side but some                   Yearling salmon can
developmental stages of the           spots on its back, and the tail is       grow four to six inches in a
landlocked salmon. The first          less forked in shape. The adult is       couple of months. In Vermont,
stage is in the form of an egg.       the final stage Size can vary            landlocked salmon generally
Hundreds of round orange eggs,        considerably, ranging from eight         reach ten inches after their first
about 1/4 of an inch in diameter,     to 24 inches in length. Its body         year, 12 inches by two years of
are laid by the female clustered      is silver with darker coloring on        age, 15 inches after three to four
together in what is known as a        its back and tail. Its tail is a solid   years of age, and 17 inches by
redd. After hatching, the small,      black and is square in shape, but        their fifth year. In some waters
one inch sized fish is referred to    is usually notched at the middle         where smelt abundant, two and
as an alevin. The alevin has a        of the trailing edge.                    three-year old salmon have been
yolk sac attached to its belly,                 Young salmon and trout         caught weighing one and half to
which serves as a food source for     look very similar. The adipose           three pounds and measuring 15
the developing young salmon.          fin, which is the tab-fin on the         to 20 inches in length. The
At the next stage, known as the       back of the fish just ahead of its       Vermont record (1994) was
fry, the young salmon is about        tail, is always a solid color on         12.65 pounds, caught in Lake
one to two inches in length and       salmon, either grayish or black,         Champlain by Brian Latulippe of
has fully developed fins. The         but never with black spots or            Winooski.
tail is deeply forked and there are   red/orange splotches. Except on
no skin markings visible yet.         very small fish, the salmon's tail       Life Cycle
However, the fry soon grows to        is also nearly always solid
two to six inches long, and is        colored, black in maturity and                    Adult salmon spawn in
now considered a parr. At this        gray on young fish. On very              October and November using the
time in its life, marks appear        young fish, the tail has a solid         inlet or outlet streams of their
which are dark, vertical oval         colored band at its outer edge,          resident lake. Female salmon
spots on their sides, which serve     which widens toward the body as          generally reach maturity during
as camouflage for it life in the      the fish grows until the tail is all     their fourth or fifth year. Males
stream. The parr matures into a       one color. The tail is usually           develop faster, maturing by their
smolt; a critical time in the         forked or indented midway along          third or fourth year and even as
young salmon's life as it prepares    the trailing edge, but the notch is      young as one and two-year olds.
to migrate from the stream in         less noticeable on older fish. The       At breeding time, the lower jaw
which it was born to the lake it      maxillary or upper jaw usually           of the male grows a prominent,
will inhabit as an adult. A smolt     ends in front of the eye in              turned up hook called a "kype."
                                                                                     Landlocked Salmon Fact Sheet 1
Individual salmon may spawn                  Young salmon spend one      addition, the adults will also
annually or every other year.        to three years in the stream        forage insects from the surface
Some may spawn for two               before another physiological        of the lake.
consecutive years and then skip a    change takes place. The fish get
year but studies indicate that       the urge to move to larger          Habits & Habitat
these individuals are primarily      waters, and prepare to do so by
alternate year spawners. Up to       transforming into smolt. The                 Adult salmon prefer
90 percent of a spawning run,        smolt migrates to the lake. Once    clear cold lakes with maximum
however, consists of salmon          in the lake, its growth rate        temperatures around 70 to 75
spawning for the first time.         increases rapidly. Growth rates     degrees Fahrenheit. In the spring,
        Spawning salmon prefer       vary from lake to lake, but in      adult salmon use the relatively
gravel riffle areas, just above or   Vermont, salmon grow best           warmer water near the surface,
below pools in swift moving          where smelt are abundant.           and will move to cooler deeper
water. The female salmon             Within one to two years after       water as summer progresses. A
excavates a series of pits and       smolting occurs, an adult reaches   pH around 6.0-7.0 is needed for
covers them with gravel, which       sexual maturity, and continues      salmon to thrive. A lake needs
is known as a redd, in an area       the salmon life cycle by            to have streams with adequate
with little silt or sand. She may    spawning.                           spawning and rearing habitat to
dig several egg pits over a week's           Most landlocked salmon      sustain a naturally reproducing
time to contain her eggs. The        caught by anglers are two to        population.
eggs are deposited at night in the   four-year olds, although the                For spawning, the female
gravel at a depth of four to         oldest landlocked salmon on         selects a site within an inlet or
twelve inches. A single female       record, taken in Maine, was         outlet stream of its resident lake
produces 600 to 700 eggs per         thirteen years of age. Annual       that has gravel rather than silt or
pound of her body weight. The        mortality rates range from 40 to    sand on the bottom. Good
male swims alongside the female      60 percent. In lakes with a good    spawning habitat also has layers
and fertilizes the eggs, by          salmon fishery, anglers probably    of stones that are about 1/2 to
releasing milt, a milky white        account for about 20 to 30          four inches in diameter, as this
fluid that contains sperm, into      percent of this mortality. Trophy   will allow for an adequate water
the water. The egg incubation        size salmon are usually well over   flow in the redd. To assure
period averages 150 days             six years old, but they make up     proper oxygenation of the eggs,
although it varies in different      only two to ten percent of the      the female generally builds the
areas according to water             fishery.                            redd in the downstream end of a
temperatures. After hatching,                                            pool or the upstream end of a
"sac fry", or alevins, remain in     Food Items                          riffle.
the gravel, living off nutrients                                                 As the eggs hatch, the
absorbed from the yolk sac, until            The landlocked salmon’s     alevin utilize the same habitat,
their yolk sac is gone, usually in   diet depends on its                 finding shelter within the loose
late April. Then the young fry       developmental level and food        gravel of this area. Both the fry
work their way up through the        availability. Alevins feed on the   and parr develop in similar areas.
coarse gravel into the riffle and    yolk sac that is attached to its    This nursery habitat includes
boulder areas and start to feed on   belly. Fry and parr feed on small   primarily shallow water
aquatic insects. Once they reach     aquatic insects, larvae and         interspersed with deeper pools
two inches in length, the fry        nymphs of water dwelling flies      and riffles. Large pebbles or
develop dark bars, or parr marks,    like the mayfly and caddisfly.      rocks and vegetation are also
on their sides. At this life stage   Smolts feed mainly on fish,         present to provide the young
they are called parr. Both fry and   supplementing their diet with       salmon with food and cover.
parr use rocks, woody debris and     insects from the water surface.     Again, well-oxygenated water is
vegetation for cover from            Adult landlocked salmon feed        important, as is the water
predators in fast moving water.      mainly on fish, smelt. In           temperature. Optimal fish
                                                                               Landlocked Salmon Fact Sheet 2
growth occurs in streams with                 The landlocked salmon        populations in the stocked lakes
peak temperatures of 72 to 77        fisheries around the state are        and rivers.
degree Fahrenheit. The cooler        progressing well, but fishermen
the water, the slower the growth     should realize that the Fish and
of the fish.                         Wildlife Department is still          Illustration: Timothy Knepp
                                     stocking sub-legal one and two
Abundance                            year old fish into lakes and will
                                     continue to do so out of
       The quality and               necessity. It is unjustifiably
accessibility of spawning and        expensive to raise legal size fish,
nursery areas largely determine      because hatchery space is
the population of the landlocked     limited, and the larger size fish
salmon in Vermont.                   would demand too much space at
                                     the hatchery. Secondly, smaller
History                              fish acclimate better to natural
                                     conditions, and varied age-
         Many theories have been     classes are important to any
advanced about the origin and        established fishery. Thirdly,
development of the landlocked        spawning salmon need large
strain. The most widely accepted     tributaries and most of our
opinion is that the preference for   salmon lakes do not have them.
freshwater was a physiological       For some or all of the above
change that occurred through         reasons, sub-legal fish have to be
evolution. In nearly all waters      stocked. Unfortunately, small
where landlocked salmon were         fish are more readily caught than
first found, there was access to     large ones, and anglers should
the sea.                             learn how to properly release
         Landlocked salmon are       sub-legal-size fish so they will
generally found in deep, cold,       survive.
well-oxygenated lakes where                   The majority of lakes
there is little competition from     stocked in Vermont are in the
other species. But successful        Northeast Kingdom, with the
populations have also been           exception of Lake Champlain,
established in marginal lakes        Lake Dunmore, and Harriman
having relatively shallow waters     Reservoir. A fish passage
and competition from other           facility is maintained on the
species.                             lowest Winooski River dam to
                                     allow adults access from Lake
                                     Champlain to the spawning
Resource Utilization
                                     habitats upstream of the dam.
                                     All lakes are stocked with one
         The landlocked salmon is
                                     and two year olds. In addition,
a favorite among anglers. Its
                                     the Clyde River (a tributary of
keen sense of smell, hearing, and
                                     Lake Memphremagog) and the
taste allow it to easily sense
                                     Winooski and Lamoille Rivers
danger making this fish a true
                                     are stocked with fry. Both smolt
challenge to catch. The meat
                                     and fry stocking are being
from the salmon is also prized.
                                     evaluated to assess their success
                                     in achieving naturally
Management Efforts                   reproducing landlocked salmon
                                                                                 Landlocked Salmon Fact Sheet 3

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