Learn to identify what you got hooked
To tell the difference between salmon and trout is not as easy as one might think. Here are som tips on how to tell the difference between the two and on how to tell if it is a female or a male. You can also learn more about salmon that has already spawned, a so called kelt.
Salmon or trout?
The upper jaw of the salmon does not noramally extend beyond the back of the eye. The trout’s upper jaw normally extends further back. The trout has considerably more dark spots and the salmon only has a few spots below its lateral line.
The salmon’s tail part tapers of before the caudal fin, which is particularily noticeable in larger salmon. The trout’s tail part does not taper of in the same distinctive way. The shape of the salmon’s caudal fin is concave in the center when stretched out, while the trout has a straighter caudal fin.
Female or male?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a male and female salmon at the beginning of their run. However, the male has already from the beginning a more distinct and elongated jaw.
Before the run, the salmon transforms and take on their spawning array. The male’s skin thickens and darkens. The head is distorted and the jaw elongates and hooks downward. The female’s skin changes as well and becomes more colorful, spotted and thick. The female’s abdomen becomes swollen and filled with roe.
Spawning or already spawned salmon?
In the spring time, you may catch a salmon or trout that is on its way back to the sea after spawning. Already spawned salmon is called kelt and it is exhausted and emaciated after the run and must always be released.
Kelts are characterised by its thin body and they have a large head in relation to their body. A kelt has shimmering dark scales that are firmly attached to its body. It often has injuries to its caudal fin after the run and may also have a red infection by its anus. Their ventral fins are dark.