The Atlantic Salmon- ORIGINAL HABITAT

by Fly Fisherman

The Atlantic Salmon
(Salmo salar)

ORIGINAL HABITAT.—The natural habitat of this fighting and leaping fish included the rivers on both sides of the North Atlantic, and is identical with the salmon of the British Isles and northern Europe. Its range on the American coast extended from southern New England to Newfoundland, Labrador, and southwestern Greenland.

PRESENT RANGE.—Because of the mass use and abuse and destructive practices and the vast industrial developments, including the construction of dams which prevented the free migration to the spawning grounds, and pollution of streams, this fine fish has been practically exterminated from the fresh waters of the United States.
Maine has the distinction of being the only state in the Union to furnish salmon fishing with a rod, hook, and line, and it is largely confined to the Penobscot, Narraguaguas, Pleasant, Machias, Dennys, and St. Croix rivers. Connecticut and other New England states, once famous for their salmon fishing, now have only memories of bygone days.
Canada has been a bit more fortunate and still maintains fairly good salmon fishing—both commercial and sport. This is largely because of its vast wilderness and conservation measures, although many of the early settlers were just as destructive as the people in the United States. In spite of Canada’s unsettled wilderness and its rigid conservation laws the range there also has been diminished until it now embraces only the rivers flowing into the St. Lawrence on the north shore from the Saugenay River east to the Labrador boundary and to rivers on the Gaspe Peninsula east of Rimouski which arc practically all stocked with salmon. It is hoped that both Maine and Canada will be able to maintain the salmon fishing in their respective waters by wise conservation practices in order that this fine fish may be preserved for posterity.

FAMILY AND OTHER SPECIES.—It belongs to the salmon family (SaInzonidae) and is but one of several species. Some of the other true salmon are the Chinook or King salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytscha), the largest of the group, which averages about twenty-two pounds in weight ; the Silver or Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), which averages about five to eight pounds ; the Red or Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), which averages about five pounds; the Chum or Dog salmon (Oncorhynchus keta), which averages from five to twelve pounds; and the Pink or Humpback salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), which averages from three to eight pounds and is the smallest of the entire group. All are found along the Pacific coast slope from California to Alaska and northern European areas.

The Landlocked salmon (Salmo quananiche) is a species that is confined to some of the inland waters of Canada and other northern waters. It is a direct descendant from its anadromous relatives and is almost identical with the Atlantic
salmon. It is thought that this fish became trapped or blocked by glacial movements in the past ages during the spawning migration and was unable to return to the sea. It does not grow so large as the Atlantic salmon, although some are caught that weigh fifteen pounds. The average size, however, is about four pounds.

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