The Salmon’s Journey

by Alasdair Laing

In many ways the autumn is when the river comes into its own.

The fishing season is over.  In late September and October temperatures drop, water levels are often swollen by equinoctial storms and salmon, some of which came into the river in early spring, become more active as their instincts turn towards breeding.  Many will have been resting in the deeper pools of the middle river and now move upstream in search of a mate while others will mate and spawn (lay their eggs) in the quieter backwaters and tributaries of the lower river.

salmon jumping up falls

It’s a good time to see fish, either jumping in the bigger pools as they move up stream or as a swirl in the quieter water as the hen fish cut their redds (dig into the gravel with their tails to make a safe place to lay their eggs) and the cock fish move in to fertilise the eggs.

As they get ready to mate the fish colour up – you might even think it’s done to match the peaty water and autumn leaves on the trees – a sure indicator of the basic instinct to perpetuate the species.  These fish are returning to the same river, often the same pool, as they were born in five to seven years previously.

In that time they have spent three or four years as juveniles in the river then gone to sea as they start to mature.  After anything from one to three years or more feeding in the Arctic Ocean they return as mature fish, ready to start the cycle over again.

River Findhorn in Autumn

It’s a journey salmon have been making successfully for thousands of years but they have never been as challenged as they are today.  Many influences are involved, some man made and some natural, and urgent research is underway to find answers to some difficult questions.

If you’d like to know more about the river and it’s fish, visit the Findhorn, Fisheries Management Scotland and Atlantic Salmon Trust websites.

If you'd like to find out more about fishing at Logie please visit the fishing pages of this website.