Salmon ears, Sound and vibration in water, Fish Communication and Noisy noises

and a whole bunch of other really cool/interesting/thought-provoking/andjustplaingoodreading fishy-science facts from MCX Fisher via buddy Pete Tyjas’ always great Eat Sleep Fish ezine.

even if the only image in the article appears to be a cod,


based on Atlantic salmon research, MCX goes a stretch further on explaining and going into great detail (and be sure to follow the adjoing links !*) on, eh, there’s no way i can add any more info on this subject so here’s a few excerpts:

“The underwater sound environment is entirely different to that in which we live in air. Accordingly, when thinking about the underwater world we have to dump our experience and preconceptions. Simply, salmon don’t ‘hear’ like us, because they don’t have ears”

“The key features of sound in water are that it:

– Is about 800 times more intense than in air, because the water is incompressible and therefore a much more efficient transmitter. In addition the surface layer reflects sound back into the water.

-Travels far further than in air: relatively minor events are detectable at ranges measured in kilometres, but the level of background noise is relatively very high because it is drawn from a much wider area.

-Goes about 4.4 times faster.

-Is influenced by the composition of the water.”

So much, so interesting, but what is its relevance to the angler?

If certain frequencies can stimulate a salmon to attack oceanic prey, can we exploit this in fresh water? In thinking about this it helps to grasp what 300 Hz sounds like in air : for comparison Middle C is 261 Hz. It is certainly much higher than the dull thrum of commonplace line vibration in fast water, which is in the range 10-30 Hz.”

and lastly,

“The moment you step into a pool the salmon’s formidable sensors will detect your activity, even if you have felt soles and a light step. However, they don’t know it’s you or what you’re doing, because in evolutionary terms humans haven’t been angling long enough to achieve any genetic impact on salmon. Unlike the calls of whales, seals and other fish, salmon anglers’ noises aren’t in the salmon signal library. Certainly they wouldn’t be able to connect the crunch of your studs on the gravel and the clink of your wading staff on the rocks with the drama of being caught, except perhaps if they’d been caught shortly before by another heavy-footed fisherman.”

but there’s a gazillion more fascinating things to read on this noisy subject and to do so simply click the cod ! enjoy !

* and one of those happens to be a really geeky but eversocool Beeps, Chirps and Noise channel on youtube where i found this little brown noise treat ! (yeah, that’s sounds a little idon’tknowwhat but don’t be afraid, you won’t have to go clean up after listening to it… )

“Brown noise is noise with a power spectral density inversely proportional to the frequency squared. It decreases in power by 6 dB per octave or 20 dB per decade. The sound of brown noise mimics a waterfall or heavy rainfall.”

Sockeye Butts

and a few flanks and heads.

by Eiko Jones, here’s a lovely, can’t-get-enough, intimate and wonderfully silent underwater escapade featuring these fascinating migrators in their glorious party attire. be sure to watch it in full screen, enjoy !

the Fish Cannon

“What’s a fish to do? Swim into a cannon, perhaps, which will launch it over the dam and allow it to get on with its migration.

This is not a parody. It’s not even just a crazy Internet idea. It’s a real-life solution currently undergoing testing in Washington with the cooperation of the Department of Energy and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The vacuum tube technology was originally designed for fruit, but according to biologists at the Yakama Nation Fisheries, it appears to be safe for fish (researchers are continuing to study the long-term effects).”

too cool ! i’d love to be shot through a soft tube like this.

click here for more info.

edit- a little research shows this idea isn’t exactly new although i think i like the newer version better…

for the love of water- The River

by Eoin Fairgrieve/Speycast Media

hard not to love river Tweed and everything that goes with it.
enjoy it in full screen !

if you liked the map click here for a selection of collectable Scottish river maps with all their beats and pools.

The Scottish Government: To reverse the decision by the Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland [SNFAS] to resume net fishing in the spring after a 14 year voluntary cessation.

please take just a few minutes of your time to read this and sign the petition. it doesn’t matter what part of the world we live in, fish don’t have nationalities and the same concerns are pretty universal. click the image to share your opinion on 

thanks ! 

  • Online Petition by
    Ian Gordon
    Dufftown, United Kingdom


1. Wild Salmon numbers are at an all time low, particularly fish entering our rivers in spring. The voluntary agreement above along with Catch and Release by anglers has seen this particular group of fish , at best, “hold their own”! To begin netting at this time of the year again would do irreparable damage to this early running group/cohort collectively known as spring fish.

2. If we have no fish entering our rivers in the early part of the year then many full time jobs will be threatened as revenue from those early anglers is lost. In 2003 “Salmon Angling” was found to be worth £74 Million to the Scottish economy, supporting 2800 full time jobs, mainly in rural areas with extremely fragile economies. A shorter season will see those full time jobs become part time, attracting, not young families, but older people to do a seasonal job.

3. The support industry we have for salmon fishing in Scotland would also suffer; from tackle shops, to tea shops. Petrol stations, hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and not forgetting all their suppliers! Although we have no new figures, to the Scottish Economy, salmon fishing will now be worth around double that of the figure above.

4. We are not talking about a few nets-men and wealthy landowners here. No, we are talking about the jobs of 2800 ordinary people, their families and the longevity of an extraordinarily “Scottish” way of life; a way of life with so much, yet untapped tourism potential. To threaten the livlihoods of many for that of few makes no sense at all.

5. The Scottish Government will only support the netting of wild salmon when a “Harvestable Surplus Occurs” FACT. This is certainly not the case with Spring Salmon, or, some would argue – Summer or Autumn Salmon.

6. Calling a halt this madness will at least give those remaining fish a “chance” to spawn and in doing so producing the next generation, which hopefully, we will manage better than in the past.

More information and reading on the background to this petition and also points for online discussion, can be found here –


– related articles

International Catch and Release Logo
fly fishing videos: Proper Catch and Release Methods
catch and release, well.

If you’re going to release them, release them well.

here’s how to do it properly with a very minimal –if any– effect to its health and lifespan. 

Just a minute !

NSFAS logois all it would take to hopefully help stop yet another idiotic and disastrous man-made catastrophe in nature.
simply put, salmon farms kill wild salmon but also many other species.
farmed salmon contain some of the highest levels of dangerous toxins available to humans. this ‘food’ is shit and it’s a shit industry.

yes, this particular issue is in Ireland but fish have no nationalities and those of us who care enough to voice our opinions should set ours aside for a moment because it concerns everyone, everywhere.

“The Irish Government has recently decided to expand the salmon farming industry in Ireland and one of the first additions will be a ‘Mega’ salmon farm in Galway Bay that will produce 15,000 tonnes of farmed salmon and will have the capability of producing 30,000 tonnes of farmed salmon making this the biggest salmon farm in the world. This proposal has been put to the public with a lot of misleading information and concerns which we have listed below.”

sea-lice death“Couple that with the information that has come from the Inland Fisheries Ireland Study in the Republic, which clearly states that 39% of our salmon smolts heading to sea are dying due to sea lice infestation. These smolts are the main life blood of all future stocks. It is imperative we do all we can to protect them.”
sea-lice death 2
please click either pic to access the NSFAS site. you’ll find the petition HERE

brainwashem’ young- Pipa

Pipa 1
most of us would be jealous…

Pipa 2

is there a best part to this little story ? no, but having shared her experience with her class and now here means hopefully a lot more kids will get to feel how special a day out on the water is. who knows, they just might want to do the same.

big cheers to uncle Chris Dore for sharing this lovely moment with us.

fly fishing videos: Proper Catch and Release Methods

 ‘Live Release of Wild Atlantic Salmon’, a very nice effort put together by fqsawith top fishers Geneviève Fournier and Dave Adams.

the voice-over guy kinda sounds like a robot but the message is clear, concise and good. of special note is keeping the fish out of the water no longer than five seconds at a time, something too many anglers are prone to overlook in the ‘heat of the moment’ even if they mean well. if there’s a need or desire for more pics just put it back, let it breath and calm down and start over again, five seconds at a time.
geared towards the Atlantic salmon, the same methods apply to all species. enjoy !

and speaking of Québec and what might make your salmon-fishing trip there even more specialer, i’m not sure of the exact dates but a major My Little Pony convention is planned soon. an astounding fact is that pony Bronies (fans) are predominantly adult and male…

Salmon Casts and Stray Shots

salmon casts and stray shots coverfirst attracted by the book’s and certain chapter’s titles such as the ” To The West, To The West ! “, this meandering, Scottish-based tale full of quirky anecdotes and full-on explanations why a salmon angler is more of a man than a lowly ‘yellow trout’ fisher… this fun-filled publication by John Colquhoun in 1858 is somehow setting the tone for my upcoming trip at the end of the month for the annual Gathering/Barrio ProTeam Hootenanny/yellow trout fishing trip/catch up with friends old and new/fine asian food/drive the van into the dust trip. somehow.


whether you plan on going to Scotland or not it still remains a fine read and comes highly recommended if you’re in the mood for something ‘exotic’.

click either book page to access the complete work on or here to download the PDF file for offline reading. enjoy !

related articles

stamping salmon

if it where a contest i’d say that:
– Ireland gets top place in the ‘Weird’ category,
– Iceland gets the ‘Cheap-Ass, let’s just change the color and save on stamp artist expenses’ and
– France gets the highly-coveted ‘Most Hypocritical’ award for still allowing fishers to keep salmon although there’s only half a dozen left.

but thank goodness, this isn’t a contest and we can sit back and enjoy some small yet non-negligable artwork of these beautiful majestic fish. enjoy !

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

brainwashem’ young- My First Salmon, an interactive iPad/iTunes experience for kids


created as a continuation of the paper editions of My First Trout and My First Salmon previously mentioned here in the ‘brainwashem’ young series, Eoin Fairgrieve takes one big step further with this new publication by providing it in digital form to share with our wee ones.

“Written by professional fly casting instructor, Eoin Fairgrieve, My First Salmon is an interactive children’s book about learning to fish for Atlantic salmon.  This book has been inspired by Eoin’s work teaching thousands of children to fish, and comprises of sixteen chapters covering all aspects of fly fishing for this prized species of fish. It includes motion graphics, interactive educational tools, and an image gallery. The book is written in an informative and engaging style, and children will learn about water safety, the salmon’s anatomy and lifecycle, and the importance of maintaining a healthy riverside environment.  Other chapters include information on the Atlantic salmon’s amazing ocean migration as well as essential tackle and fly casting techniques.  This publication is an ideal reading and reference guide for any child interested in learning to fish for salmon, and is particularly suitable for children between the ages of 9-16 years.”

a sample page from the book on salmon anatomy
'my first salmon' anatomy page EF

outside of bringing them to the water (and as a perfect addition to this), at $6.99 it’s one of the better gifts you give your kids or a friend’s or relative’s.
click either pic to access the iTunes store.

related articles

how Salmon find their way home.

via National Geographic, photo courtesy of Todd Mintz.

“To find their way back home across thousands of kilometers of ocean, salmon imprint on [i.e. learn and remember] the magnetic field that exists where they first enter the sea as juveniles”

sockey spawning

“So Putman and colleagues hypothesized that salmon were using variations in the Earth’s magnetic field to figure out where “home” was. If this was true, then the researchers could see if a salmon’s ability to navigate changed over time with small, naturally occurring variations in the global magnetic field.
Putman and colleagues used 56 years of fisheries data to study a group of sockeye salmon that spawned in the Fraser River in British Columbia and spent much of their adult lives in and around Alaska‘s Aleutian Islands. The researchers studied the likely routes the salmon took in transit between these two locations and compared it to data on the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field at the time.”

fascinating stuff and something i’ve always wondered about. for more of this groovy-magnetely delicious-fishy study click the pic above and to find out how these fish sound and know all about their food preferences click below. enjoy !

Salmon and Sea Trout Recognition

via The Atlantic Salmon Trust

which is the Atlantic Salmon, which is the Sea Trout ?



for me, the simplest method is to compare tails, markings around the lateral line and specially the corner of the mouth/eyeball relationship. this latter seems to be among experts the more sure-fire method as markings and fin shape may vary.

in short:
– salmon don’t have dots below the lateral line, have a pointed concave tail and the corner of their mouths stops around the center of their eyeball.
– the spots on brown trout extend below the lateral line, their tails are either flat or a ’rounded-off’ concave and the corner of the mouth extends past the eyeball. simple !

click either image for a full yet simple to remember explanation and other good to know groovy-fishy-slimey things like Salmon Facts and Sea Trout Facts.

as an aside-  although sporting very similar lifestyles, a Sea Trout is an anadromous (migratory) Brown Trout whereas a Steelhead is an anadromous Rainbow Trout.

Tying the Naughty girl

by David Ballingall

once over the initial deception of the hairy knuckles and beard instead of well,  ad your favorite appropriately attired naughty Fly girl here… we see the well explained construction of a festive salmon fly sure to also attract steelhead and i’m quite sure, a horny rainbow trout or two.

nice tying all around, the whip-finished flashabou-type  head covering at the end is a new-to-me nifty trick worthy of consideration for other patterns as well. cool idea.

brainwashem’ young – My First Trout

offering comprehensive insights and information on just about every aspect of fly fishing for trout and salmon, these books make fantastic gifts for the little ones and are a nice addition to our guidance and tutoring. bringing them back to the realm of books, the feel of paper and who knows, maybe the sense of discovery and imagination sorely missing from fast-food internet.

“My First Trout is a must for every child. Author Eoin Fairgrieve will capture the imagination of every budding fly-fisher. The book is beautifully illustrated in watercolour by acclaimed artist Ronnie Glass and includes chapters on the trout’s lifecycle, water safety, basic fly-casting, tackle advice and care for the trout and its habitat. A delightful book and a perfect present for your daughter, son, nephew, niece or grandchild”

 following in the footsteps is Eoin’s second book of the series: My First Salmon

click either image to purchase these fine books.