There was great excitement in the woods in early September as the population soared by 3,000 souls in just one morning. Its that time of year when the young salmon, raised by the Lynher River Association are released back into the river, and our share swam away happily to find their own little hidey-holes on the 6th September.

The Annual cycle begins in November/December when female (hen) and male (cock) salmon are caught and released in the hatchery’s tanks. In due course they lay and fertilise their eggs and these are nurtured by the team through spring and summer (as alevins and then fry) until they are strong enough to look after themselves (becoming par). Then they are released back into the river to mingle with those that have reached the same point without intervention. All will then live and grow in the river until in the spring of their 2nd/3rd year when they undergo a body chemistry change to become smolt – they are now able to survive in salt water. They swim down to the sea and grow into adulthood until about 3 years later they return as hens or cocks and start the cycle again.

In Stara we try our hardest to support this cycle and the work done by the hatchery. In November – February we are very keen that everything (dogs, humans, etc) keeps out of the water as those young salmon not raised by the hatchery are very vulnerable to disturbance. Eggs(redds) and alevins use the river sand to prevent being washed downstream and one wrongly placed foot can disturb and kill dozens.

Through the spring and summer, the parr and smolt need clean and unpolluted water (water authorities please note!) to feed and prosper, and keeping enough water in the river all year round helps this cycle. It’s a very local example of the disruption Global Warming can create to mother nature that in some places in the UK salmon stocks have reduced by 75% in the last 20 years – very clear reasons why we must all do our best to redress the imbalance that humans have brought about.