Saturday, August 24, 2013

Right time, right place, wrong gear ...

A recent photograph on Flickr by Bob the Bolder showed a salmon leaping the wear on the River Wear just below Durham cathedral in mid-August, which is early for these fish to start moving up river to spawn. 

One October afternoon five years ago I happened to be walking past Spurleswood beck in Hamsterley forest in Weardale just at the time when salmon were trying to leap the waterfall there. We watched for half an hour while fish after fish hurled itself into the torrent but none made it to the top. Conditions were probably close to perfect for the fish, with the beck in spate and a deep plunge pool below the waterfall where the upwelling water would have given the fish extra impetus, so maybe some made it after we left. 

It's hard to be sure whether these were sea trout or salmon but judging from the indentation in the tail fin I think they were salmon. Sea trout tend to have a straight trailing edge to the tail fin.

I didn't have any decent photographic gear with me when I took these bu,t judging by Bob the Bolder's photo, now is the time to plan for a return visit............


  1. Definitely Salmon. You'll know the correct term but the aft lateral fin is almost a stub on a sea trout.

  2. Don't be a funny bloke. I meant the lateral underneath ones. I am daft but only a bit daft.

  3. Great photos, even without your photographic gear! I enjoyed reading about your backyard jungle and its denizens.