Atlantic Salmon, Sea and Brown Trout

The Tyne and its tributaries provide some of the most important locations for migratory salmonids in the UK. The gravels of upland streams provide ideal breeding habitats and the generally good water quality supports both the diversity and abundance of aquatic invertebrates they need as food. Atlantic salmon and sea trout spend the early part of their lives in fresh water, defending the territories provided by the broken water of the gravels and boulders of upland streams.

Both species migrate to the sea when they are about two years old having undergone physical changes to allow them to adapt to sea water.

  • Migration usually occurs in May.
  • The marine environment provides the fish with rich feeding grounds where they can grow very quickly.
  • Both species return to rivers to breed.
  • Spawning occurs between November and December with eggs being laid in excavations in the gravel called redds.
  • The young fish emerge from the redd in spring.

Brown trout do not migrate, and may spend their entire life within a few metres of the redd in which they were born.

Salmon Lifecycle

Salmon Lifecycle

Produced by Galloway Fisheries Trust

  • Salmon eggs are laid and buried in gravel in late Autumn.
  • Alevins hatch in early spring but remain buried under gravel before emerging 4-6 weeks later.
  • Frys start feeding on tiny water organisms and grow quickly during their first summer.
  • Parrs remain in fresh-water until for one to four years feeding on insects.
  • Parrs become Smolts in the Spring of their second 2nd, 3rd or 4th year and migrate to the sea.
  • Salmon travel great distances in the sea and feed on sand eels, krill and herring.
  • Salmon return to the river of their birth to spawn after 1 – 4 years at sea. Once in fresh water the salmon does not feed.
  • Grilse are mature salmon which return to their native river after only one winter at sea.

Female salmon or ‘Hen’ fish can survive spawning and return to sea as Kelts.

Male salmon or ‘Cock’ fish usually die when spawning is over.

(Source Atlantic Salmon Trust)

Coarse fishing

There is a great tradition of coarse fishing on the river Tyne. This includes some very good quality dace and sizeable chub, as well as roach and gudgeon. Most coarse fishing is concentrated on the main river, via local angling clubs.

For more information about coarse fishing on the Tyne, including restrictions, river conditions and booking fishing, please visit the Fish Tyne website.