Salmon Fishing

The Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) found along the Causeway Coast begin their lives in rivers such as the Bann and the Bush. After a few years, they leave these freshwater habitats as small smolts, no more than 15cm long, and live in the saltwater of the Atlantic Ocean growing into the beautiful, fully grown fish we all recognise. The adult salmon will eventually be drawn back to the river where it was born in order to breed. It is during this journey back to its birthplace that large numbers of the fish are caught off shore at Portrush.
In early times, archaeological evidence has shown that the returning salmon were a valuable source of food for the first people who settled in the Causeway region. In later millennia, the rights to fishing the salmon were lucrative.
Documents from 1630 show that the Earl of Antrim owned the salmon fishery off Portrush and he would have been forced to guard his waters against poachers and others who tried to steal his fish. He also had the rights to the tributary rivers and the rich salmon fisheries at Portballintrae, Portbradden, Cushendun, Cushendall, Glenarm and others along the coast which would have provided a plentiful income each year.