The Atlantic Salmon
(Salmo salar) belongs to the trout family. They are anadromous fish, meaning they migrate from salt water to fresh water rivers and streams.
After hatching in gravel stream bottoms in the autumn, the tiny fry emerge after three to six weeks, seeking food. The fry grow into parr, about two inches long, feeding and growing in their native streams for 1-3 years. After developing into smolts, which average 6 inches in length, the salmon migrate to the ocean in the late spring.
The adults return to their native rivers to spawn after living in the ocean for several years, and their lives end where they began.
Before people built dams, which blocked spawning routes, and polluted New England’s rivers, hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon thrived in rivers throughout the region. Although some efforts have been made to protect the fish, they have declined to the point where last year only 100-150 salmon returned to the remaining salmon rivers in Maine.
Other Atlantic salmon information resources:
Atlantic Salmon Federation
Atlantic Salmon Unlimited
Friends of the Kennebec Salmon
Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission
Salmon Habitat and Resource Enhancement
Wild Salmon Resource Center