Pacific salmon caught in River Spey

It was interesting to read reports on social media about an unusual salmon caught in the lower River Spey last week. The fish was caught by Raymond Duncan, a member of Speymouth Angling Association and neighbour of ex Spey ghillie Jock Royan, who posted the pictures. Appropriately enough the fish took a Kinermony Killer fly. Jock has kindly given permission for the photos to be used here.

An unusual catch on the Spey, a pacific salmon, thought to be a Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha).

An unusual catch on the Spey, a pacific salmon species, thought to be a Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). The fish weighed 2.5lb, typical of this small species of salmon. The distinctive spots on the tail aid identification. This looks to be a female as the males develop a distinctive hump on the back at spawning time. It is spawning season now for pink salmon and judging by the colouration it looks to be quite mature.

The distinctive spotty tail

The distinctive spotty tail

It also had an impressive mouth full of teeth compared to our native atlantic salmon

It also had an impressive mouth full of teeth compared to our native atlantic salmon.

Recently the Environment Agency reported three similar fish had been caught in the Northumberland area in early August. Pink salmon do turn up occasionally in UK waters but there seems to be something of a minor influx at present. The Spey Fishery Board recommends that if any angler does catch one of these fish it should be killed and retained for examination. The Speymouth fish was retained and has been frozen pending examination. It will be interesting to read the age from the scales and do a full autopsy to see what information we can gleen.

Whilst it is unlikely that they are present in sufficient numbers to establish a breeding population in the UK they have apparently colonised some Norwegian rivers after being introduced in Northern Russia. Yet another potential invasive to keep an eye out for!


There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Anthony Tinsley at 10:04 pm

    Yet another reason to treat Putin as untrustworthy. Jeremy Corbyn will no doubt disagree….

  2. alan mowat at 7:35 pm

    Is there some kind of scottish government conspiracy?
    First they use a picture of a pink salmon (which should have absolutely nothing to do with Scotland) to headline their fishery review comments page, and low and behold, they appear in a top scottish river.
    Maybe this is their cunning plan to help improve the salmon runs:)
    It might be cheaper and easier than looking at the aquaculture industry.

    • Brian Shaw Author at 8:37 pm

      I can see the logic in this plan Alan, there is a canning plant close to the mouth of the Spey that could quite easily be diversified into tinned salmon!

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