Effect of stream regulation on population parameters of atlantic salmon [Salmo salar L.] in the river Lærdalselva, western Norway



The river Lærdalselva, West Norway, was regulated in the autumn of 1974. Regulation led to an increase in winter flow and a decrease in summer flow in a section where there was natural production of salmon. A slight decrease in summer temperature was also recorded in the uppermost part of this section. No data existed on juvenile Atlantic salmon before regulation and the regulation effect on juvenile fish population parameters is therefore based on samples taken from adult salmon in the period 1969 to 1984.

No differences in growth, smolt age, and smolt size which could be related to the regulation of the river were found. The smallest mean sizes of yearlings (0+) were found in 1964 and 1967. After regulation the mean size was never lower than before. Mean smolt age was between 3–1 and 3–9 years, but after regulation never exceeded that found before. River growth was slow, three year old smolts growing faster than four year old smolts. However, there were no differences in river growth before and after regulation.