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Salmon Tribe

This is the Abdominal fish, forming the fourth of the orders of Linnaeus. They are distinguished from the other fishes by having two dorsal fins, of which the hindmost is fleshy and without rays. They have teeth both on the tongue and in the jaws, whilst the body is covered with round and minutely striated scales.

Growth of the Salmon

At the latter end of the year--some as soon as November--salmon begin to press up the rivers as far as they can reach, in order to deposit their spawn, which they do in the sand or gravel, about eighteen inches deep. Here it lies buried till the spring, when, about the latter end of March, it begins to exclude the young, which gradually increase to four or five inches in length, and are then termed smelts or smouts. About the beginning of May, the river seems to be alive with them, and there is no forming an idea of their numbers without having seen them. A seasonable flood, however, comes, and hurries them to the "great deep;" whence, about the middle of June, they commence their return to the river again. By this time they are twelve or sixteen inches long, and progressively increase, both in number and size, till about the end of July, when they have become large enough to be denominated grilse. Early in August they become fewer in numbers, but of greater size, haying advanced to a weight of from six to nine pounds. This rapidity of growth appears surprising, and realizes the remark of Walton, that "the salmlet becomes a salmon in as short a time as a gosling becomes a goose." Recent writers have, however, thrown considerable doubts on this quick growth of the salmon.

To Cure Salmon

This process consists in splitting the fish, rubbing it with salt, and then putting it into pickle in tubs provided for the purpose. Here it is kept for about six weeks, when it is taken out, pressed and packed in casks, with layers of salt.

An Aversion in the Salmon

The salmon is said to have an aversion to anything red; hence, fishermen engaged in catching it do not wear jackets or caps of that colour. Pontoppidan also says, that it has an abhorrence of carrion, and if any happens to be thrown into the places it haunts, it immediately forsakes them. The remedy adopted for this in Norway, is to throw into the polluted water a lighted torch. As food, salmon, when in perfection, is one of the most delicious and nutritive of our fish.

The Migratory Habits of the Salmon

The instinct with which the salmon revisits its native river, is one of the most curious circumstances in its natural history. As the swallow returns annually to its nest, so it returns to the same spot to deposit its ova. This fact would seem to have been repeatedly proved. M. De Lande fastened a copper ring round a salmon's tail, and found that, for three successive seasons, it returned to the same place. Dr. Bloch states that gold and silver rings have been attached by eastern princes to salmon, to prove that a communication existed between the Persian Gulf and the Caspian and Northern Seas, and that the experiment succeeded.

Habitat of the Salmon

The salmon is styled by Walton the "king of fresh-water fish," and is found distributed over the north of Europe and Asia, from Britain to Kamschatka, but is never found in warm latitudes, nor has it ever been caught even so far south as the Mediterranean. It lives in fresh as well as in salt waters, depositing its spawn in the former, hundreds of miles from the mouths of some of those rivers to which it has been known to resort. In 1859, great efforts were made to introduce this fish into the Australian colonies; and it is believed that the attempt, after many difficulties, which were very skilfully overcome, has been successful.


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The Book of Household Management (1861).

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