Landlocked salmon are a freshwater form of the Atlantic Salmon. unlike their sea-run relatives that migrate to the ocean. Unlike Atlantic Salmon, which spend part of their life cycle in the ocean and return to freshwater to spawn, landlocked salmon spend their entire lives in freshwater lakes and rivers. They are prized by anglers for their fighting spirit and delicious meat. In this article, we will explore some facts about landlocked salmon, where to find them, how to catch them, and some of the biggest ones ever caught. For more Salmon Species Check out this article on Salmon!
Landlocked Salmon Stats
|Average Length (Inches)||Average Weight (Pounds)|
|Silver with a slightly forked tail and small X-shaped markings on the back and upper sides||Freshwater|
|Lakes and Rivers||Fishing is plentiful in Maine|
|States Found in||(10) – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado|
What are landlocked salmon?
Landlocked salmon are a type of salmon that never go to the sea, unlike their cousins that migrate to the ocean. They belong to the same species as the Atlantic salmon, which is native to the North Atlantic Ocean and some rivers in Europe and North America. Landlocked salmon are also called Sebago salmon or Quananiche, which is a Native American name meaning “the little silver fish that saves us”.
Landlocked salmon can reach up to 20 pounds or more in some waters, but the average size is 16-18 inches and 1-1.5 pounds with 4 to 5 pounds not being uncommon. They have a silvery body with small X-shaped spots on the back and upper sides, and a slightly forked tail. Mature males develop a hooked jaw or kype during the spawning season.
Landlocked salmon spawn in the fall or winter, depending on the water temperature and flow. They go back to their birth rivers or streams, where they dig nests. They lay eggs and fertilize them, then cover them with gravel for protection. The eggs hatch in the spring, and the cycle begins again.
Where can you find landlocked salmon?
In the U.S., landlocked salmon were originally found in four Maine lake systems—Sebago, Green, Sebec, and Grand—as well as in Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario watersheds.
Today, landlocked salmon are found in over 300 lakes and approximately 320 miles of rivers and streams in Maine, as well as in many other states.
How to catch landlocked salmon?
Landlocked salmon are a fun fish to catch. They often jump out of the water and make strong runs that challenge the angler’s skill and equipment. They can be caught by different methods such as fly fishing, casting, or trolling with lures or bait.
The best time to catch landlocked salmon is in the spring and fall, when they are feeding near the surface and close to shore. Streamer flies and lures that look like smelt are very effective, as smelt are the main food for landlocked salmon in many lakes. Dry flies and nymphs can also work well when there are insects hatching or when fish are rising.
In the summer, landlocked salmon go deeper, following their food and looking for cooler water temperatures. They can be found at depths of 30 to 60 feet or more. To reach them, anglers need to use lead core line or a downrigger, using copper, gold, or silver lures. Fly-casting can be good in lakes when there are insects hatching and is the best method for catching landlocked salmon in rivers. Fly anglers targeting rivers use dry flies, nymphs, and streamers.
In the winter, landlocked salmon can also be caught through the ice using smelts or other bait, alive or dead. Ice anglers also use jigs. Landlocked salmon are often caught “under the ice” and should be fished within the first 15 feet below the ice.
Landlocked Salmon Records
In the U.S., the state record for landlocked salmon varies from state to state. Some of the biggest landlocked salmon caught in different states are:
|Maine||22 lbs 8 oz||Beech Hill Pond||1907|
|New Hampshire||18 lbs 8 oz||Big Diamond Pond||1958|
|Vermont||14 lbs 8 oz||Lake Dunmore||1999|
|New York||13 lbs 14 oz||Lake George||2010|
|Massachusetts||13 lbs 4 oz||Wachusett Reservoir||1986|
|Connecticut||12 lbs 14 oz||Crystal Lake||2019|
|Pennsylvania||12 lbs 13 oz||Raystown Lake||1994|
|Michigan||10 lbs 8 oz||Torch Lake||1978|
These fish are all remarkable catches that show the potential of landlocked salmon to grow big and strong in freshwater. They also show that landlocked salmon can be found in many different states and regions, and that you never know when you might hook into a record-breaking fish.