Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
An Eden Anglers prize, a Fresh run salmon with lice.


The River Eden has always been fished for its famous runs of salmon, noteably its "spring" run of fish that tragically died out due to the UDN disease in the late 1960s, these fish were the largest most hard fighting fish in the system. With an average weight of around sixteen pounds and many taken of the twenty pound mark, the Eden salmon were a very much sort after specimen. The Eden at this time was the most prolific salmon river in England. It was in December 1852 when the Carlisle Angling Association was formed. It was a small group of local business men who decided to make angling available to the working man in Carlisle this made the river a rare commodity at this time as it was now fishable by the public for the mighty spring salmon for a modest fee. Eventually all the netting stations in the lower Eden were phased out making fishing in the mid 1900s a real spectacle in comparison to todays fishing efforts. Just to stand and look at a pool on the Eden today conjures up thoughts of 20-30lb bars of silver crashing up over gravel bars into the deeper lies of shelved sandstone. These large, enigmatic pearly silver creatures once filled our Eden system prior to the devastating disease that made such a dent in the population that together with further influences at sea with the discovery of the Greenland feeding grounds made there recovery almost impossible. Shortly after the demise of the spring run there was good runs of autumn salmon cruising up out of the Solway (or was it just because fishing efforts increased at this time of year?). Some of these fish ran at a fair size with many 20lb plus fish taken in Association water. The numbers of autumn salmon and summer grilse have ebbed and flowed almost as much as the very water they navigate on entering the river of their birth.

Formerly one of the best beats on the Eden the NB, Willowholme Carlisle
The Photographer Stephen Thompson with a 20lb Eden Salmon taken at the" Cally wall" circa 1999