This is the height of autumn weather, with glorious colours of forest reflected in the rivers, and as of this writing, it appears that Hurricane Matthew will be travelling further out to sea. Hopefully it still drops a significant rainfall on Nova Scotia. Rivers throughout the province are extremely low, and not good for salmon.

Beautifully coloured fall Atlantic salmon being released Sept. 23, 2016 on the Cascapedia River. Photo Jeffery Bourdages

New Brunswick

New Brunswick, and especially the Miramichi, is now in need of significant rain to encourage salmon to make that run into the river, and upstream towards spawning areas.

DFO's assessment data for Sept. 30 is posted, and numbers continue interesting.

Nathan Wilbur, ASF's Director of New Brunswick Programs notes the very low water and says:

The challenge these days for anglers is finding a good low water pool holding fish and hoping that the fish turn on and decide to take a fly while youíre there. I have had both frustrating and lucrative outings lately, you just never know, but the beautiful colours around the rivers more than makes up for a slow session of fishing. On the Southwest Miramichi in particular, there seems to be good numbers of fish in most of the holding pools, itís just a matter of them turning on and taking the fly.

Southwest Miramichi - The Millerton Trapnet is reporting 940 grilse and 666 large salmon, compared with 1,356 grilse and 544 large salmon to the same date in 2015. Overall, the large salmon numbers compare well with other years over the past two decades, but the grilse numbers are significantly reduced.

The Cains River, part of the Southwest Miramichi system, can be both a wonderful autumn experience and a great fall Atlantic salmon river.  Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

The Northwest Protection Barrier is reporting 235 grilse and 81 large salmon to Oct. 2, comparing almost exactly to the 235 grilse and 76 large salmon to the same date in 2015.

Hopefully a good drop of rain will bring up the numbers in the weeks ahead.

Magaguadavic River  - This river in southwest New Brunswick still only has had 2 grilse to Sept. 30, compared with 6 grilse and 3 large salmon to the same date in 2015. In addition there have been 32 farmed salmon escapees.

Saint John River  - Mactaquac has reported to 30 Sept. there have been 488 grilse and 178 large salmon counted, vs. 606 grilse and 90 large salmon in 2015.

Nashwaak River - There have been 311 grilse and 57 large salmon counted, a definite improvement over the 197 grilse and 30 large salmon in 2015.

Jacquet River - To Oct. 2 there have been 148 grilse and 208 large salmon, vs. 206 grilse and 232 large salmon in 2015.

Upsalquitch River (part of Restigouche Watershed) - To Oct. there have been 262 grilse and 135 large salmon, compared with 619 grilse and 164 large salmon in 2015. In the past week only 1 grilse and 2 large salmon have been counted.

Oct. 4, 2016 - a morning to enjoy the Southwest Miramichi.  Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Nova Scotia

Margaree - ASF's Director of Nova Scotia Programs Lewis Hinks has this to say, on Oct. 5:

The water is low, but there are Atlantic salmon throughout the system. However, most are still crowded in the lower pools like Forks and Dollar. Need more rain.

Sunday Run on the Margaree. Photo Oct. 5, 2016.   Lewis Hinks/ASF

Cheticamp River - Check out the CBC news story on the work that has been going on to restore runs on this important river on the west side of Cape Breton Island. Lewis Hinks notes the river has more water than the Margaree, but the fall run of salmon is still not coming in.

Northumberland Strait Rivers - ALL these rivers, including the River Philip, Wallace and the many streams near Pictou and Antigonish all need water desperately. They are very dry, following the summer drought this year.

Sackville River - The low water is taking its tollk. There were 9 grilse and 2 large salmon reported to Sept. 30, compared with 29 grilse and 2 large salmon in 2015 to the same dte.

LaHave  - The Morgan Falls Fishway reported 3 grilse and 30 large salmon, compared with 154 grilse and 18 large salmon to the same Sept. 30 date in 2015.


The season ends Friday (Oct. 7) on the last three rivers open - the Gander, Exploits and Humber.

ASF's Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador Don Ivany notes the water levels are mid to high on the lower Humber at the moment. He has had reports that large salmon have been angled recently in the Humber. With Friday the last day, not much time to check it out.

Below are the DFO counts to Oct. 2.

While most rivers are down compared with other years, the variation is within a range to be expected. The exceptions would include Conne River which is at critically low levels, and raises many questions about the runs this year in other south coast Newfoundland rivers.

Dave Vardy with a leaper on the line on the Gander River. Taken a few years ago. Photo Don Ivany/ASF


DFO has the numbers for Oct. 2 for the four rivers being assessed

English River - 637 grilse and 202 large salmon to Oct. 2 this year, vs 731 grilse and 256 large salmon in 2015.

Sand Hill River - There were 1,085 grilse and 969 large salmon to Oct. 2, compared with 2,580 grilse and 1,093 large salmon in 2015.

Muddy Bay Brook - 239 grilse and 18 large salmon in 2016 vs. 556 grilse and 45 large salmon in 2015.

Paradise River - 74 grilse and 31 large salmon vs 305 grilse and 58 large salmon last year.


Data used in the Quebec RIVERNOTES are sourced from various river websites, social media and Quebec government sources. Official data on 2016 season for all rivers should be available in late January 2017.

Andy Miller changes a fly on the Cains River with Lewis and Lonnie this week. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF