ASF Rivernotes Aug. 25, 2016


CLOSURES: Anglers should note that more rivers have been closed, in NL Zones 4, 5 & 6. For a full list of rivers, open and closed, CLICK HERE.

Keith Piercey of Corner Brook has written some notes on the present state of salmon, angling and river conditions in Newfoundland:

Rivers south of Harry’s River in Bay St. George of the Newfoundland West Coast are in dire need of rain.  Rivers south of that, such as Grand Codroy have reasonable water levels.  To the north of Deer Lake, according to the provincial water resources monitoring station at Reidville, the level on the Upper Humber rose quite a lot. Prior to that we received the following report from an angler who returned to Western NL to fish.

“Bone dry definitely a good description for Upper.  I bet there is no more than a few inches of water running through the Run and Bud’s pool.  Hardly a trickle above Little Falls too.  Spent a few hours at Lomond Steady this afternoon.   Water is low but not horribly so.   I did not have a thermometer but by feel the temp wasn't too bad.  The fish were in the main run not over by the weeds and the cool springfed brook so that is a good indicator that water temp is okay.

Good sign of fish - dark ones of course.   Not too many keen on a fly but I did find one silly one that came to a variation of a Prefontaine skater that I tied myself. He learned his lesson and was released back unharmed with that new knowledge, l would say if I stayed until dark, there would have been a good chance that things might have livened up a bit.”

Another report from an angler who fishes and travels to the Highlands area in Bay St. George stated that the rivers there were in dire need of rain, including Robinson’s, Fischell’s, Middle Barachois and Crabbes. The rivers south of Bay St George – Grand Codroy and the Southwest coast rivers have been getting much more rain than those to the north and are holding their own.
The Lower Humber, well known for large salmon at this time of the year, has fish. However most reports are that they are not too interested in talking flies.  An angler reported Bonia’s Pool, below Boom Siding has “a couple of monsters”. Also some big fish at Boom Siding, but most are interested in just rolling occasionally. A couple of smaller salmon were hooked there on Aug. 22nd. Steady Brook Shoals on the Lower part of the river has slowed considerably according to a regular angler.  The water has risen about a foot and is still on the rise. Since that experience, he has seen few salmon.

 Counting Atlantic salmon in Corner Brook Stream, with numbers in 2016 again surpassing expectations. Photo Keith Piercey.

One of the counts not on the DFO weekly report is that of Western Brook In Gros Morne Park.  Shaun Gerrow, an ecologist  coordinating the counting fence, reported a run of 140 large salmon and 649 small up to this week.

Shaun also provided a compilation of the run from 1984 to 2012:






Western  Brook





Western Brook





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 The Fence is still running, but

While Western Brook and some other rivers in Newfoundland are doing well, overall there has been disappointment - especially with rivers such as the Exploits.

On the South Coast the rivers, assessed by COSEWIC as Threatened, and also subject to issues from salmon farming, are very low, with the Conne at 1,224, compared with 1984-1991 averages of 6,119.

Rocky River, with a newly designed fishway for salmon to navigate, has had 176 this year. It was impassable to salmon last year, but kthe 2011-2015 average was 468 to the same date. Not a good sign.

On the Northern Peninsula, an early surge on the Torrent River has not continued, and the number to Aug. 21, 3,954, is well below 2015's 5,084.


Numbers continue to be disturbingly low overall. And as with many other jurisdictions on both sides of the North Atlantic, the principal concern this year is with very low grilse numbers.

Bentley's Pool on the Forteau River.  Photo from Don Ivany/ASF

English River
has had 521 grilse and 678 large salmon to Aug. 21, 2016, compared with 599 grilse and 830 large salmon in 2015 to the same date.

Sand Hill River has had only 1,083 grilse and 969 large salmon to the same date, compared with 2,520 grilse and 1,070 large salmon in 2015.

Muddy Bay Brook has had 175 grilse and 16 large salmon compared with 411 grilse and 35 large salmon in 2015.

Paradise River has had the greatest drop - 73 grilse and 28 large salmon in 2016 compared with 286 grilse and 52 large salmon in 2015.

New Brunswick

Nashwaak River running high, on Aug. 23, 2016. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Notes by Nathan Wilbur, ASF Director of New Brunswick Programs:

Since the rain over a week ago that cooled rivers and gave some life back to the salmon, there have been mixed reports of fishing success. Some have done well in the runs near cold water pools as the fish moved out of the refuge area and into ‘taking’ water. Others have gone to the river with high hopes now that things have cooled off and have come up short. Others have done fantastic (example from the SW Miramichi) and had exceptional fishing during the raise in water, limiting out (releasing 4 fish/day) on both bright and fall-coloured fish that have been in the system for some time and have gained more colour.

I suppose this is how salmon fishing goes; right time and right place, or perhaps for some, right time and wrong place. Another raise in water after Monday’s heavy rains province-wide will hopefully liven things up once again and bring in some salmon that have been waiting in the estuaries. Nice to see this rain after the drought over the past few weeks.

Allen Curry this week playing an Atlantic salmon on the Southwest Miramichi at Boiestown after a nice rain. Photo Ben Wallace

Southwest Miramichi - Dungarvon Barrier
- To Aug. 21 there were 130 grilse and 100 large salmon, compared with 154 grilse and 147 large salmon in 2015.

Northwest Miramichi - The Barrier count is starting to get interesting. To Aug. 21 there were 201 grilse and 78 large salmon, compared with 185 grilse and 64 large salmon in 2015. These are naturally encouraging numbers.

Jacquet River Counting Fence
- To Aug. 21 there have been only 17 grilse and 21 large salmon, compared with 57 grilse and 20 large salmon in 2015.

Nova Scotia

The entire province has low river levels, with a great need of some major rainstorms, according to ASF's Lewis Hinks.


Penobscot: The last report available is for Aug. 14.

Quebec - The Quebec report on rivers is not available this week.