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Atlantic salmon

Fact Sheet for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Fishing Status:

An IFS Recreational Angling licence is needed to take Atlantic salmon from inland waters. Licences can be purchased from more than 130 agents located in retail businesses around the state. Licensing agents are primarily fishing stores but also include most trout guides, Service Tasmania outlets and the IFS head office. Specific fishing regulations for bag and size limits, and fishing technique (bait, lure or fly) may vary between waters.

Distingushing Features:

Closely resembles the brown trout. Mouth does not reach past eyes. Tail usually more deeply forked than that of the brown trout.


Blue to silvery blue on back, silver on the sides and silver white on belly. Small dark spots are present on the back and sides and on the base of the dorsal fin, although these are not particularly bold. Sea dwelling fish are often more sliver whilst lake dwelling fish may show a greater degree of spotting.


May reach up to 40 kg in weight in Europe. Brood stock have been reared to 15 kg, and escapees of up to 10 kg have been caught in Tasmanian waters. Recently some broodstock in-excess of 12 kg have been caught from Craigbourne Dam, Lake Barrington and Brushy Lagoon.


Occurs naturally in cold waters flowing into the North Atlantic Ocean. The first attempt to introduce Atlantic salmon to Tasmania was made from Europe in 1864. This, and several other attempts both last century and in the early 1900's, were unsuccessful in establishing wild populations in lakes or streams. In fact, there are no self-sustaining populations recorded in Australia. In recent years, a successful reintroduction of this species has occurred for sea-cage aquaculture in Tasmania. Fish were transferred under quarantine from a landlocked hatchery in New South Wales and established in hatcheries supplying a number of sea-cage farms.

Tasmanian Distribution:

Escapees from sea cages are present in several bays and estuaries in southern Tasmania and the west coast. In the past some fish have been released into Great Lake but did not maintain condition or show signs of growth. Brood stock salmon are currently released periodically at Meadowbank Dam, Lake Barrington, Craigbourne Dam, Bradys Lake, Lake Trevallyn and Brushy Lagoon.
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
Atlantic Salmon Fact File
Scientifc Name Salmo salar
Native No
Endemic No
Introduced Yes
Pest Fish No
Tasmanian Conservation Status -
Commonwealth Conservation Status -