Sunday, 20 November 2011

Salmon Race

Jan and I went on a walk to look at the local Aldermarston salmon race.  We were living in the South Island of NZ some years ago and decided one year to fish for salmon when they were running up the Rakaia River to spawn.  The license requirements meant you had to catch them with a rod and line.  They swam in front of me; behind me; and even between my legs.  However I was spectacularly unsuccessful in convincing one to take my hook.  It would have been easier to club a few on the head as they passed!  Even the lurking sealion off the river mouth caught more salmon than me!

I was actually rather surprised to stumble across the local salmon race not realising the Atlantic Salmon actually migrated up the Thames to spawn.  I gather from the information at the local race the salmon had become almost extinct because their route had been blocked by the locks and weirs.  Installing the series of races has enabled them to again migrate upstream to their historical spawning grounds.

The race is being constructed in the right foreground

Weir control gates

I suspect one of the reasons why the salmon had been prevented from spawning would have been the construction of water powered mills. 

And this looks suspiciously like a former mill which happens to be located very close to the new salmon race.

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