Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Scale Sample Results

Through-out last season I took scale samples from several salmon and sea trout caught by myself or others. A majority of the fish were grilse but there was scale taken from a few bigger fish too.

I got some of the results back from scale samples I had taken last season from several fish caught during October. River Don bailiff, Martin Webster emailed me today with so very interesting reading.

The first reading was from scales of a 4lb sea trout caught from the Don 19/10/2013. It was caught by another angler but whilst unhooking it, we noticed it was long and thin with a swollen vent. It looked very much like a kelt so I took some scales. I had been looking forward to seeing the results. This is what Martin observed;

"I had a look at that scales and the Sea Trout caught last Oct 19th could have already spawned as you thought. From the scale reading it had entered the river earlier in the season possibly May as the growth rate had slowed considerably. I could tell though that it had spent 2 years in the river before going to sea and had spent 1 sea winter before returning to freshwater. The spawning mark on the scale only shows up after a while so I couldn't be sure." 

The next fish was a 7lb grilse caught by my dad on the 12th October, also from the River Don. Grilse are pretty much self explanatory when telling it's time at sea etc but this is how the scale read:

"The 7lb female caught 12/10/13 from the Manse was a Grilse and spent 2 years in freshwater before smolting. It then spent 1 sea winter before returning late last season. The scale reads 2.1.1+ "

The scale reading above was taken from the fish pictured.


The final reading I received was from a scale taken from a cracking 17lb Salmon caught by Barry Garden from the River Don also on the 19th October. It was fat as a pig and fairly fresh. I am glad I got scales from this fish as they make for very interesting reading. This is what they read;

"Lastly the 17lb was an interesting fish. It spent 3 years in the river before smolting and then fed at sea for 2 sea winters. The fish had then returned and spawned before making it back down river as a Kelt and got back to the sea. After another winter, the fish returned to freshwater for a second time, something very few manage to do. The scale reads 3.2+SM+"

This 17lb River Don Salmon has clocked up a fair few miles in her life!  


It's really good to find out more about these magnificent creatures and amazing just how much information you can get from a few scales.

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