Salmon spend the first part of their lives in fresh water. Each small fish has a little pouch containing food, or yolk as it is called, and when this is empty they move from the parts of the river where they were born. When the young fish are about 7cm long, they are called salmon larvae.
They have black marks like thumb prints on the sides of their body, these are called marks. When they grow to 15cm long they are called smolts. At this time they are silver in colour and the marks have disappeared.
In late spring and early summer, the smolts move down stream and into the sea. At the age of one and a half, they return to the rivers to spawn or breed. This keeps going round in circles.
By John Grace
Records show that salmon fishing by snap-net
on the River Suir has been carried out for the past four hundred
years. It is done exactly the same today as it was then. The only
difference now is two-man crews instead of four-man crews. This
type of fishing is called traditional snap-net fishing.
Today, two men go out on the river with two boats and one net plus one paddle each. Then they go to leave off the net. This is done by paddling with one hand and spreading out the net with the other hand. Both men have to pull away from one another to a distance of about forty yards. They are fishing with the tide but they have to keep ahead of the tide. Also, if they don't keep ahead of the tide, the net will not be open. When both men have the net spread, the net has to be let down to the bottom of the river. This is done by dropping a stone which is attached to the end of both sides of the net to the bottom of the river. This will drop the net down to the bottom of the river. Both men will then keep paddling with one hand and the other holding the net. You will feel the stone hopping along when a fish goes into the net. You will feel a pull on the top rope. Both men will have to close the net as fast as possible. This is done by pulling up the stone, the rope and closing the net. Hopefully, the fish will be in the middle!
Then you start all over again.