Week nine: SAMLET (probability 4165), by David Sutton

A SAMLET, says Chambers, is a young salmon. There are a lot of words for salmon at various stages of their life-cycle. Thus we have:

ALEVIN a salmon that has just hatched
FINGERLING a salmon less than one year old
BLUECAP a one year old salmon, with a blue-spotted head
PARR a young salmon in its freshwater days, up to two years old
SPROD a young salmon in its second year
SMOLT a young river salmon when it is bluish along the upper half of the body and silvery along the sides
SKEGGER a young salmon, a salmon fry
GRILSE a young salmon on its first return from fresh water
MORT a salmon three years old
KELT a salmon that has just spawned. Such a salmon is said to be SHOTTEN, and is less desirable as food
LIGGER another name for a KELT
BAGGIT a ripe female salmon that has failed to shed her eggs
FORKTAIL a salmon in its fourth year

Those wishing to know more about the life-cycle of the salmon, could do worse than read 'Salar the Salmon' by Henry Williamson. Williamson, perhaps best known for 'Tarka The Otter', was a difficult character whose pacifism, born of his experiences in the Great War, led him somewhat paradoxically to an admiration for Adolf Hitler that cost him a good deal of recognition, but at his best he was a one of the finest nature writers of the last century.


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