The first reports have arrived from the counting facilities on the Dungarvon, and for the Northwest Miramichi. As expected, the number of salmon was zero in both cases.
On the St. Croix River, which runs along the Maine-New Brunswick border, a ceremony was held on Monday, June 4 to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the reopening of fishways for the passage of native alewives. Since they were closed without consultation by the State of Maine in 1995, the low point reached was about 900 alewives and DFO was trucking them past the U.S. controlled Woodland dam. To May 30, 2018, a total of 191,544 of these native river herring had been counted at the Milltown fishway on their way upstream.
The Margaree has had several recent upsurges of water levels, and is still high.
showed a large landslip that blocked much of the Cheticamp River.
ASF's Geoff Giffin inspects the work being undertaken to remove soil and trees from the channel of the Cheticamp River on June 6, 2018. The site is within Cape Breton National Park. Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF
The site of the landslide on the Cheticamp River is across from the National Park's campground. The Cheticamp River is gouged deeply in the highlands of the National Park, and can have very fast rise and fall of river levels. The Atlantic salmon returning to this river tend to be early.
Although licenses have finally begun arriving at retailers around the province, confusion around the salmon season in Newfoundland and Labrador still abounds. The federal and provincial governments have enacted dueling rules and neither has seen fit so far to clarify the situation. As a result, outfitters and guides around the province are bracing for cancellations. The situation is sad and unnecessary and highlights the most negative aspects of resource management, when wise decisions are trumped by small 'p' politics.
On June 4 there were duelling press releases. DFO | Province
DFOs management plan, handed down in May, received broad support from stakeholders. While limiting daily live release to three fish, the federal government, which has constitutional authority to set seasons and bag limits, has subsequently been blindsided by provincial rules that cap live release to 10 fish total until a mid-season review at July 20. Anglers need to stay attuned to the rules as the season progresses.
Don Ivany, ASF's Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador gives some perspective this morning:
The good news is, the season has officially opened and anglers have hit the water. Early reports indicate that there are a few fish around but nothing to get too excited about yet. Water conditions on most of our early run rivers in Bay St. George are looking good at the moment. If anything, water levels are still on the high side, and a late spring this year means water temperatures are nice and cold. No reports are available yet from any of the counting facilities throughout the province.Southwest Brook
As usual, the first reports come to us from Southwest River where well know angler Sterling Pitman reports that a few fish have been hooked since opening day, including a couple of large fish, a few nice grilse, and a couple of small grilse. So run time seems to be pretty much on schedule for this year. Sterling reports that there was a decent sign of fish on Tuesday June 5, with one angler actually hooking three fish that day, and a number of other anglers hooked a fish as well. There has been no reports from Bottom Brook to date.
Angler on 6 June 2018 at "The Forks" where Bottom Brook flows into Southwest River. Photo Don Ivany/ASF
Two anglers at the Tide Pool on Southwest River, June 6. Don Ivany/ASF
Since the run on Harry’s River does not usually begin for 2-3 weeks, there have been no reports from anglers, but DFO have had their Didson counter in operation for a few days now and workers on site have seen a few fish in the area. However, there seem to be more slinks going out than bright fish coming in at the moment. Things should pick up on this river after the second week of June.
On Harry's River the count is done by Didson units that are a "sidescan radar". Here DFO personnel inspect the partial fence as well as the Didson unit itself at left. Harry's River has a particularly high percentage of large salmon in the run. Photo Don Ivany/ASF
Harry's River from the Highway Bridge. It is a particularly interesting river, but always requires careful watching for potential poachers. Photo Don Ivany/ASF.
Middle Barachois River
(not to be confused with Barachois River) – Reports indicate that there was one fish caught on this river. Water conditions are ideal.
Grand Codroy River
Don Hutchens, President of the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL) reports that a friend of his hooked a large fish (approx. 9 kg/ 20 lb) on Codroy River on opening day during the his first evening fishing. Keith Piercey of SPAWN also reports that since that time a couple more large Atlantic salmon have been hooked and released at ‘The Pocket Pool’ including one by Corey LeRiche. Water levels and temperatures on the river are good.
Island Water Levels
A quick look at the provincial government’s water monitoring stations, which are reported online, indicates that water levels on most island rivers are currently between medium and high and water, while temperatures are nice and cold. Water levels on Labrador Rivers are still high and temperatures cold. No reports of fish from this area yet as these rivers have later runs.
Northwest River in Terra Nova National Park, is managed by Parks Canada on special terms. Below is the press release on its management that went out on Thurs. 7 June, 2018:
Salmon Numbers to Determine Opening of a Limited Recreational Salmon Fishery on Northwest River
TERRA NOVA NATIONAL PARK·THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2018
Parks Canada will be monitoring the number of salmon returning to the Northwest River in Terra Nova National Park using the river’s counting fence and will complete the first in-season review on July 5. If, by that date, 250 salmon have passed through the counting fence, the river will open for a quota of 75 fish (total) on July 8. Should this threshold not be met, weekly assessments will continue and the river will open to angling only if salmon returns are on track to achieve the population target of 775 salmon for the Northwest River. If the weekly assessments indicate a return of less than 775 salmon, the river will remain closed to all angling in 2018.
Parks Canada is a leader in conservation. Canada’s network of protected areas have an important role to play by protecting and restoring healthy, resilient ecosystems and contributing to the recovery of species at risk. In managing the Northwest River within Terra Nova National Park, Parks Canada’s primary concern is to ensure the protection of the river’s ecological integrity and the health and long-term sustainability of its salmon population.
Parks Canada requires anglers to have a National Park Salmon Licence and Newfoundland and Labrador Inland Salmon Licence in order to participate in the Northwest River recreational salmon fishery. The National Park Salmon Licence is free of charge and will be available at the seasonal Northwest River shack in the park. A full list of regulations will be provided to each angler. The Newfoundland and Labrador Inland Salmon Licence must be purchased prior to picking up a National Park Salmon Licence and is available at community vendors such as convenience stores, garages and fishing shops.
For information and updates, please contact Terra Nova National Park at 709-533-2801 or the Northwest River Kiosk at 709-235-0703. Information is also provided on the Terra Nova National Park Facebook page
as well as the Northwest River Conservation Group – Facebook page
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Newfoundland East Field Unit
Portland, Maine is hosting the annual meetings of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) this coming week. Meanwhile, check out the reports from the Penobscot.
Maine DMR is reporting 79 Atlantic salmon at the Milford Lift - 78 large salmon and 1 grilse. Meanwhile, river herring continue to come in, and there have now been 1.8 million, an amazing reboot for this native species.
There were disturbing reports last week about Brookfield Renewable, the owner of a dam on the Stillwater River, which flows into the Penobscot at Orno, dropping water levels for maintenance and killing 50,000 alewives and at least one salmon as a result. Considering how precious each and every Penobscot salmon is, this was not news anyone wanted to hear.