Sal­mon in Ger­many

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Letters -

I read with great in­ter­est the monthly re­ports about sal­mon rivers in the UK. Un­for­tu­nately, it seems that the stocks are de­clin­ing but nev­er­the­less I am jeal­ous as many an­glers still have sal­mon-fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties on their doorstep. Over here in Ger­many we have sal­mon again but to fish for them suc­cess­fully is only pos­si­ble in some places. A pity as it was once the coun­try with the largest runs of At­lantic sal­mon. If you take the mighty River Rhine, for ex­am­ple, the an­nual catch in the be­gin­ning of the 19th Cen­tury was around 100,000 fish. It could be fished for al­most the whole year as there were four in­de­pen­dent runs of fish. Many trib­u­taries of the Rhine have been re-stocked but it is very hard to es­tab­lish self-sus­tain­ing runs. Too many parrs and smolts are killed by preda­tors. The re­turn­ing fish have to pass il­le­gal nets along the Dutch coast and many of the head­wa­ters are still blocked. Al­though it is not im­pos­si­ble, it is still some kind of mir­a­cle to hook a sal­mon in the main river. Some trib­u­taries, how­ever, do get a run: the one into the River Sieg, which joins the main river 300km above the es­tu­ary, is es­ti­mated to be around 800 fish. Al­though it is il­le­gal to fish for sal­mon, quite a few fish are ac­ci­den­tally caught (and re­leased) but a good num­ber are kept as “large trout”. To stock the Rhine trib­u­taries, eggs of mainly French ori­gin, from the River Allier, are used. Eggs of other ori­gins failed, but the Allier, which joins the Loire, is in length and struc­ture quite sim­i­lar to the Rhine sys­tem. Be­side the Rhine, many rivers in the north­ern Ger­man low­lands have been re-stocked. The River Weser and the Aller/leine sys­tem get runs of fish but it seems that the sea-trout there are bet­ter suited to a come­back. Th­ese rivers run into the North Sea, like the Rhine. To­wards the east, fish of the Baltic race can freely run up the mighty Elbe, mi­grat­ing as far as head­wa­ters in the Czech Repub­lic. Some Ger­man trib­u­taries get runs and a lot of ef­fort has been made to re­move dams and other ob­sta­cles so that the fish can run past them to spawn. From time to time I fish the Rhine with a switch rod or dou­ble-han­der, mainly for asp. Th­ese fish be­long to the carp fam­ily but are preda­tors – hav­ing no teeth, their takes are vi­o­lent. They hold in places that are sim­i­lar to sal­mon lies so I hope to hook a sal­mon one day in­stead. Friends have done so, which keeps my mo­ti­va­tion high. If you’d like to know more about sal­mon in Ger­many, read the web­site wan­der­fis­che.eu – the Ger­man sec­tion of the North At­lantic Sal­mon Fund. The maps that show ob­sta­cles in mi­gra­tion routes are par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing. Hart­mut Kloss, by email

Sal­mon are prov­ing elu­sive on the River Rhine but the preda­tory asp pro­duce good sport.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.