Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 74, Issue 3–4, pp 291–296 | Cite as

Migration of Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar, Smolt through the Estuary Area of River Ellidaar in Iceland

  • Sigurdur Gudjonsson
  • Ingi Runar Jonsson
  • Thorolfur Antonsson


We tagged both wild and hatchery Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, smolts from River Ellidaar (64 ° 08′ N, 21 ° 50′ W) with ultrasonic tags. We caught the wild smolts in a smolt trap and selected the largest individuals from the run. We implanted the transmitters in the abdominal cavity of the fish and then released them in River Ellidaar close to the estuary. We used four ultrasonic receivers; one in the river’s estuary, one outside the estuary and two further away on both sides of an island in the estuary zone. The receivers recorded all transmitters within a 600 m radius. The hatchery smolts were larger than the wild smolts. Some of the smolts were lost on the way through the estuary. Only 4 out of 9 wild smolts and 14 of 17 hatchery smolts were recorded all the way through. The tags and the tagging likely affected the survival of the smolts especially the smaller fish. There were no differences in the smolt migration between the 2 years of study and no differences in the migration behavior between the wild and the hatchery smolts. After being released the smolts stayed on average for 10 h in the river then migrated into the estuary were they stayed for 54 h on average. Then they migrated straight through the area to the sea at approximately 0.2 fish lengths per second. We recorded large differences in the migration.


smolt sea entry migration time ultra sonic transmitters tracking 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, N.S., Rondorf, D.W., Evans, S.D., Kelly, J.E., Perry, R.W. 1998aEffects of surgically and gastrically implanted radio transmitters on swimming performance and predator avoidance of juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.55781787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams, N.S., Rondorf, D.W., Evans, S.D., Kelly, J.E., Perry, R.W. 1998bEffects of surgically and gastrically implanted radio transmitters on growth and feeding behaviour of juvenile chinook salmonTrans. Am. Fish. Soc.127128136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antonsson, Th., Gudjonsson, S. 2002Variability in timing and characteristics of Atlantic salmon smolt in Icelandic riversTrans. Am. Fish. Soc.131643655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gudjonsson, S., I.R. Jonsson, Th. Antonsson & J. Sturlaugsson. 2002. Rannsoknir a farleidum og gonguatferli laxfiska a osasvaedi Ellidaanna 2001 og 2002. Institute of Freshwater Fisheries. Report VMSTR/0220. 17pp. In IcelandicGoogle Scholar
  5. Holm, M., Holst, J.C., Hansen, L.P. 2000Spatial and temporal distribution of post-smolts of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the Norwegian Sea and adjacent areasICES J. Marine Sci.56200208Google Scholar
  6. Holm, M., B. Axelsen, N.A. Hvidsten, E. Ikonen, B.O. Johnsen & J. Sturlaugsson. 1997. Salmon migration in the Trondheimfjord – 1996 experiences with monitoring acoustically tagged postsmolts with sonar. Second Conference on Fish Telemetry in Europe. TrondheimGoogle Scholar
  7. Holst, J.C., Shelton, G.J., Holm, M., Hansen, L.P. 2000Distribution and possible migration routes of postsmolt Atlantic salmon in the North-east Atlantic.65 – 74Mills, D. eds. The Ocean Life of Atlantic Salmon; Environmental and Biological Factors Influencing Survival. Fishing News BooksBlackwell ScienceOxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Hvidsten, N.A., Lund, R.A. 1988Predation on hatchery-reared and wild smolts of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in the estuary of River Orkla, NorwayJ. Fish Biol.33121126Google Scholar
  9. Lacroix, G.L., McCurdy, P. 1996Migratory behaviour of post-smolt Atlantic salmon during initial stages of seaward migrationJ. Fish Biol.4910861101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mills, D. 1989Ecology and Management of Atlantic SalmonChapman and HallLondon351Google Scholar
  11. Scarnecchia, D.L. 1984Climatic and oceanic variations affecting yield of Icelandic stocks of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.41917935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Sturlaugsson, J. & K. Thorisson. 1995. Postsmolts of ranched Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in Iceland II. The first days of the sea migration. ICES CM. 1995/M: 15Google Scholar
  13. Thorpe, J.E. 1988Salmon migrationSci. Prog.72345370Google Scholar
  14. Voegeli, F.A., Lacroix, G.L., Anderson, J.M. 1998Development of miniature pingers for tracking Atlantic salmon smolts at seaHydrobiologia371 – 23546Google Scholar
  15. Welch, D.W., Boehlert, G.W., Ward, B.R. 2003POST-the Pacific Ocean salmon tracking projectOceanol. Acta25243253Google Scholar
  16. Welch, D.W., Ward, B.R., Batten, S.D. 2004Early ocean survival and marine movements of hatchery and wild steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) determined by an acoustic array: Queen Charlotte Strait, British ColumbiaDeep Sea Res.51897909Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigurdur Gudjonsson
    • 1
  • Ingi Runar Jonsson
    • 1
  • Thorolfur Antonsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Freshwater FisheriesReykjavikIceland

Personalised recommendations