Most scalefish are measured from the nose to the end of the tail. Get your scalefish measuring ruler or sticker at any Service Tasmania outlet.
Black back, blackback salmon, cocky salmon, Australian salmon
Australian salmon have a moderately elongate body, a long-based dorsal fin and a large forked tail fin. Young fish, known as cocky salmon, are silvery-coloured with a number of brown spots on the sides. Adults, known as blackback salmon, are darker across the back with fading of spots. The pectoral fins are yellow. Select salmon image below and scroll to see illustrations of both juvenile and mature salmon.
If you are boating near a school of salmon (often found by sighting seabirds on the surface), skirt the school and cast lures back into it. Don’t drive a boat through a feeding school of fish. If fishing from a beach, islands or remote area, minimise disturbance to birds.
Found in shallow coastal waters around Tasmania over sandy seabed. Young fish are often found in river mouths or off beaches. Adult fish are found in deeper waters where they can form large schools. It is common to observe schools breaking the surface waters as they feed on krill and small baitfish.
Australian salmon are caught using trolled lures, flies, soft plastics and a variety of baits. They are strong fighters on light gear and once hooked, will often break the surface to throw the hook. They travel in schools close to the coastline and are caught off rocky headlands, in large estuaries and bays, offshore, in breakwaters and from surf beaches in holes and gutters. Taken all year round in Tasmania with January to April the most popular season. Most fish caught in Tasmanian waters are young and tend to move away from Tasmania when more mature. Large (60-90cm) adult Australian salmon are becoming more prevalent in Tasmanian waters.
Australian salmon can have quite sharp dorsal spines so be wary.
This fish has a distinctive flavour and a high oil content. Its dark flesh has a firm texture and lightens when cooked. Suitable to bake, barbeque, grill, fry or use in soup. Improved eating qualities if killed and bled directly after capture. Popular in fish cakes or charred on barbeques. Often used in recipes with strongly flavoured accompaniments such as Mediterranean flavours including tomatoes, olives, antipasto vegetables and herbs.
Recipe: Rod’s Fish Patties:
Australian salmon gutted and headed or fillets; 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed; 1 onion, diced, ½ tbsp vegetable or chicken stock powder (optional); 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock (if boiling fish), ½ cup of peas or beans; 1 carrot, finely diced; 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 egg; 1 tbsp parsley; I tbsp chives, pepper and salt to taste; 1 cup plain flour; cooking oil. For a more Asian style replace the stock powder with 1 tbsp ginger grated; 1 tbsp fresh coriander; 1 tbsp soy or fish sauce.
Boil potatoes until just cooked but still firm. Mash the potatoes and keep dry (do not use milk or butter). Pan fry the onion, chives, carrots, peas or beans, garlic. Cook the fish by boiling in stock, baking, microwaving, grilling or pan frying (fillets) so the flesh is just flaky. Peel and flake the fish flesh from the bones.
Combine the mashed potato with the fish and other remaining cooked ingredients. Add the egg ensuring the fish breaks apart while mixing. If time permits refrigerate for a few hours to firm up mixture. Spoon out mixture and roll in your hand to form patties about 2 cm thick. Roll each pattie in the flour, freeze or refrigerate for later use or shallow fry straight away at medium heat or BBQ. Serve with sweet chilli, tartare sauce, lime or lemon wedges.
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