Did you know that each year, the Yorkshire Dales see a number of fishy visitors appear for their hatching season? The Yorkshire Dales is home to large numbers of Salmon, each year, which journey up from the Irish Sea on the Lancashire coast up to the Yorkshire Dales via areas like Preston, Clitheroe and Settle.
Because of this and the fantastic display they put on, visitors flock to hot spots along the river hoping to get a glimpse of the Salmon, battling the current and the flow to swim upstream to their nesting place in Stainforth. En-route, they tackle rapid flowing waters and obstacles such as rapids and waterfalls taking on other wildlife like seals on the way. It’s a treacherous journey, but one that is vital for the continuation of the species. It’s also fantastic to see the fish swimming up river, jumping out of the water and across the rocks in a stunning visual display. Mark Hewitt of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has told the Yorkshire Post that whilst it’s fantastic to come and see the fish, visitors should be wary of the safety considerations of being close to the river, and should also be mindful of the local area and its wildlife:
“You can be stood on the edge watching fish leap six feet away. It’s a fantastic sight, but it does bring its own issues. Somewhere like Stainforth, which is easily accessible, it does bring pressures. As with anything in the countryside, we do need to be mindful.”
The main breeding season for the fish is November and December, however the Salon start to pass through the Yorkshire Dales in October. You can often see the fish from popular locations within the Dales such as Settle.
So, how exactly do the Salmon make such a long and dangerous journey each year? Well, combined with natural instinct, good spirit and an incredible swimming ability, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and Ribble Rivers Trust work together to make the journey as safe as possible for the fish, working on cleaning up the river banks, and making safe passing areas for the fish to use for sections of the river that are especially tough to navigate, Mark Hewitt has added:
“What we are seeing at the moment is fish moving back up, from the Irish Sea right up the estuary and all the way up to Stainforth. Anything that goes wrong in that catchment can have an impact. There’s a huge amount of luck – avoiding fishermen and seals, getting into the estuary, there’s a long way for them to travel. It may look like they’re never going to make it, but they can work their way up these natural steps.”