It’s a good time of year to watch salmon leap­ing up our fast-flow­ing rivers. But what other species are lurk­ing there? Kevin Parr iden­ti­fies six fast-stream fish

Countryfile Magazine - - November In The Country -

SALMON PARR Salmo salar

The ju­ve­nile salmon have a sleek body, forked tail and fin­ger­print-shaped ‘parr spots’. They re­main in fresh­wa­ter for up to four years be­fore be­com­ing smolts and mi­grat­ing to the sea.

BROOK LAMPREYLam­pe­tra planeri

The brook lam­prey spends most of its life in lar­vae form, buried in the sed­i­ment at the bot­tom of the stream with only its mouth pro­trud­ing. It changes into adult form to breed, after which it dies.

BROWN TROUT Salmo trutta

Syn­ony­mous with well-oxy­genated, fast-flow­ing wa­ter, the brown trout is one of our most fa­mil­iar fish and a favourite quarry for an­glers. The but­tery flanks are spot­ted black and red.

BULLHEAD Cot­tus go­bio

Also known as the miller’s thumb due to its gnarled ap­pear­ance, the bullhead has a large head, wide mouth, ta­pered body and fan-like pec­toral fins. The eggs are guarded by the male un­til they hatch.

STONE LOACH Bar­bat­ula bar­bat­ula

The lithe, eel-like stone loach is a small, bar­buled fish that rarely ex­ceeds 10cm in length. The flanks and fins are del­i­cately pat­terned, with lines and spots that help hide its form on the stream bed.

MINNOW Phox­i­nus phox­i­nus

Min­nows of­ten oc­cur in large num­bers, shoal­ing in slacks and mar­gins where they are tar­geted by king­fish­ers and herons. The belly and lower fins of the male turn bright red as it pre­pares to breed.

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