ASF Rivernotes 16 June 2017

Dan Greenberg releases a 20-pounder at Pool 80 on the Cascapedia River in the Gaspé 5 June 2017. 

There is nothing more magical than releasing a wild Atlantic salmon to continue its upstream migration to a spawning area on some nameless tributary where the fish had begun life perhaps five years previously.

Each of the Canadian province's has its own particular set of rules and regulations to help conserve the species while we enjoy the experience of the salmon rivers. Below are the links.

Quebec is particularly complicated, so has websites that over details for the different regions and rivers.

Quebec (EN) - Maps and Catch Limits, by Zone
Quebec Map of Salmon Rivers
Quebec Fishing Zones Map

Below are the comprehensive guides for the Atlantic Provinces

New Brunswick Angling Guide

Nova Scotia Angling Guide

Newfoundland and Labrador Angling Guide

With the rules out of the way, time to turn to the news from the rivers.


The future of Atlantic salmon guiding in Quebec - 18 year old Jonathan Tremblay on the Matapedia River, on June 10, 2017. Photo Charles Cusson/ASF

Notes from Charles Cusson, ASF's Director of Quebec Programs:

We pleaded with Mother Nature to stop sending water back in mid-May. Perhaps it is ironc that rain in mid-June would be most welcome as river levels in the lower St-Lawrence and Gaspé regions have dropped very quickly.

Early migration numbers will soon be available from the Matane River which opens to angling on June 15.  The Fishway has been open since June 12th.

One of the first Atlantic salmon through the fishway on the Matane River. A great sight.   Photo: SOGRAM

A reminder to anglers fishing Quebec Rivers to take the time to report your releases in order to  gather the most accurate angling statistics and for the river managers to accurately calculate angling success.

Gaspé Region - York, Dartmouth and Saint-Jean Rivers

Geneviève Fournier is reporting a decent start to the season with an early run of big fish.  Many 20lb + salmon have been observed. River levels were holding until late last week and have slowed down considerably.  All three rivers were affected by the major flood conditions in May which has resulted in many changes to the make up of some pools.

Geneviève Fournier releases a large Atlantic salmon on the York River.   Photo Dave Adams

And for another great fish, we turn again to the Cascapedia that has dropped down to manageable levels:

Steve Gallagher releases a beautiful 24 lb/10 kg salmon at Pool 88 on the Cascapedia River. Photo Salmon Lodge.

New Brunswick

There were a few days that could be called hot, but this week the weather has returned to the cool side. Debbie Norton notes the Little Southwest Miramichi is "falling like a rock" towards summer levels.

Brock Curtis
of Blackville notes:

We seem to have a continuation of last week in regards to salmon being spotted and hooked. Anglers coming into the tackle shop are seeing bright fish and the odd one is being caught here on the lower section of the Miramichi. The river is dropping with water temperatures still in our favour. Flies of choice this early in the week are-black ghost, butterfles, and green machines.

The first of the counting fence numbers are in. At Dungarvon on the Southwest Miramichi there have been four large salmon as of June 11, compared with two grilse and one large salmon in 2016.

At the Northwest Miramichi Barrier there has been a single large salmon - a pioneer for the year - compared with none last year to June 11.

Southwest Miramichi this week still has good water, but it has been dropping.  Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Nathan Wilbur, ASF's Director of New Brunswick Programs says:

Rivers across the province seem to be seeing salmon slightly earlier this year, which is hopefully a good sign of numbers to come. There is the odd report of a salmon being hooked in Doaktown on the Southwest Miramichi. As far up as the headwaters of the Northwest Miramichi, anglers have been having some success. The Northwest sees a slightly earlier run than its sibling stream, the Southwest.

On the Nashwaak in the St. John River system, he has this to add:

We are hearing more and more reports of salmon trickling into rivers, including the very first one for 2017 this morning, June 13, at the Nashwaak counting fence. The 78 cm/31 in female was tallied and released at the fence, which is operated jointly by DFO and Maliseet communities in the Saint John River system.


This week has seen two promising developments:

On the Penobscot the count to June 12 is 229 large salmon and 27 grilse, The graph below is dated three days earlier, and shows that during those three days there were another 45 Atlantic salmon coming in. Let us hope this trend continues.

This is the first anniversary of the completion of the Howland Bypass, that provided improved fish passage from the Penobscot River mainstem up the Piscataquis, the west branch of the river. The Penobscot River has come a long way with the two lowest mainstem dams, Veazie and Great Works removed, improved fish passage elsewhere, plus Maine Council of ASF  and others actively working to improve fish passage through culverts and past other obstructions further upstream.

Elsewhere, the Saco River has had three large salmon and a grilse. The Kennebec is doing even better, with 14 large salmon and a single grilse. In Maine, every Atlantic salmon is important!

Nova Scotia


Greg Lovely reports:

There are salmon being hooked now. Water levels are good and still nicely cold. The usual flies are doing the trick - green machines, shady ladies, and blue charms.

Alex Breckenridge reported salmon angled and released on the weekend. As elsewhere in the Maritimes the temperature has dropped in the past day or so, making time on the river a bit colder.


Overall, reports from the island are that it is a slow year for Atlantic salmon returning.

Fred Parsons is reporting that about a dozen salmon through at Bishop's Falls on the Exploits. There are few anglers out on the river yet. Undoubtedly this is due to the reports of few fish yet.

On Middle Brook a first salmon has been counted - it was a nice 10-pounder.

Tolson Parsons is reporting on the Gander that water levels are good, but no salmon coming in yet. Probably this is partly related to the major coverage of sea ice inshore on the northern coast.

Compared with last week the ice pack has shrunk. And on the Strait of Belle Isle it is mostly gone!

Meanwhile Kevin Stroud reports of the Terra Nova River:

The water level is high for this time of the season. There are a few salmon in the river - not many have been because of the high water. The water temperature is about 14.6 C.

Grant Falls on the Terra Nova River. Taken a few years ago.   Photo: Kevin Stroud.

On the south coast, the report is that on the Conne River there have been six salmon counted.

The Humber River is very high at the moment, mostly due to snow melt in the Long Range Mountains. At Big Falls the water is too high for salmon angling.

On the Grand Codroy, reports are that the fishing is "spotty". One angler, Matt Burns, connected with three large fish - one in the 18 lb. range, the other two in the 12-14 lb. range.

Grand Codroy, as seen a few years ago in June.   Photo Tom Moffatt/ASF

In the Bay St. George rivers, generally the water levels are now low.

On the Northern Peninsula, there are still no reports of Atlantic salmon entering the rivers.