Nature Note – Atlantic Landlocked Salmon

Landlocked Atlantic Salmon (adult male). Photo from NYDEC.

Landlocked Atlantic salmon head from Lake Champlain into tributaries to spawn during the fall. The main run of salmon usually extends from early September into mid-November with the heaviest runs in early October to early November according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC).

Native runs of Atlantic salmon disappeared from Lake Champlain in the 1800s. Fish found today are mostly stocked individuals. Vermont and New York environmental agencies stock about 240,000 salmon smolts (2-3 year olds) and 450,000 salmon fry (young of about one inch length) annually.

Young salmon live in streams and look similar to brown trout until they’re about six inches long. Then they turn silver and move into Lake Champlain. It can take up to three years for this transition to occur. These individuals may survive several spawning runs before completing their life cycle and dying.