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  • Writer's pictureWildlife Friendly Otley


They're back! Next time you’re cursing another miserable journey back to Otley on the X84, think about the salmon’s journey to our town and beyond. Starting off near Greenland or maybe the Faroes, they use their sense of smell to navigate back to the shallow shingle bottoms of our rivers, where they were born, upstream from Otley. Not only do they have to cope with the distance, the unusual transition from salt-water to fresh, the predators, the oppositional current and the waterfalls and weirs, but they do it all on an empty stomach – they don’t feed once they’ve re-entered our rivers. They’re hard-wired to undertake this battle so that they can spawn and start a new generation, after which the majority of them will die. To see a small part of this incredible journey, watch out at the weir in the coming months. Unfortunately, they don’t yet seem to have got the hang of the special salmon ladder we’ve put in at the lido side. Instead you’ll probably see them launching themselves out of the water at other points, often taking several attempts before they are successful. What a creature.

Photo by Pixabay


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