ASF Rivernotes June 29, 2016

A note on photos – we love to share your photos of Atlantic salmon rivers. We also love sharing your images of releasing Atlantic salmon, but remember that we only use photos of the fish in the water, as that is the best technique for the benefit of the salmon. So keep those images coming – whether just the rivers, or the salmon!

ABOVE - Nathan Wilbur released a fine Atlantic salmon on the Restigouche River last week. Photo Neil Damon

For an Atlantic salmon, it takes quite a bit of rain to be “too much water”. It doesn’t take nearly as much rain for an angler to find there is too much water. In some regions, especially Gaspé and some other parts of Quebec nearly half the season so far has had river levels way too high for Atlantic salmon sport. But now water levels are dropping quickly.

What this also means is that it is too early to determine what the entire season will hold – a tantalizing mystery where the wise person would best hold off on predictions for a few more weeks.


For the North Shore encouraging news, the lower St-Laurence and Gaspésie regions…too early to tell.

Very high water flows in late May and to mid- June, are making it difficult to get a handle on the current migration of salmon.  The large tides that happened prior and during the full moon should start to give us some indication very soon.  There will be additional data going forward now that other rivers are open to angling since June 15.

River flows have dropped tremendously over the last 10 days, rain is needed and it seems Mother Nature will be cooperating.

Reminder to anglers fishing Quebec Rivers, take the time to report your releases in order to have the most accurate angling statistics and for the river managers to accurately calculate angling success.  Tight Lines.

York, Dartmouth and St-Jean Rivers
Water levels this year have been high, making angling tough. But levels have been dropping.  Barrier fences have just recently been erected on all three rivers to provide greater accuracy on counts.

Above: This month Jim Lawley caught an 18 and a 20 lbs salmon in the D-1 sector with Chubby (Society guide).

Cascapedia River

The Cascapedia also dealt with its share of very high water since opening day.  Cascapedia Society manager Darlene Sexton is reporting very good angling to June 23.

New Brunswick

Miramichi System –
It is still early days, so that numbers to date might, or might not, mean something. At this time the temperatures are rising and levels are falling.

Northwest Miramichi
At the Cassilis Trap Net, 10 grilse and 18 large salmon to June 15 was much better than the 2015 number of ZERO grilse and 8 large salmon.

The Northwest Barrier was out of action for a while in June due to high water, and this may have affected count numbers – but no one knows. To June 26 there have been 8 large salmon and 6 grilse counted, vs. 12 large salmon and 3 grilse in 2015.

Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Adventures who normally fishes the Little Southwest Miramichi and Northwest Miramichi notes on June 28:

Water temperature is staying good as a result of cool nights. Levels are excellent for both salmon and anglers, but are now dropping, and some large Atlantic salmon are being caught and released. At this point there are both grilse and large salmon in the Miramichi system.

Main Southwest Miramichi

The Millerton Trapnet as of June 15 had only 2 grilse and 6 large salmon, compred with 3 grilse and 19 large salmon last year, but final results could provide a very different comparison of numbers. We shall see.

The Dungarvon Barrier has had 12 grilse and 19 large salmon to June 26, vs 6 grilse and 22 large salmon in 2015 to the same date.

Above: Dungarvon River on June 25. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Brock Curtis of Blackville notes:

We still have anglers coming into the Tackle shop who are seeing and catching salmon. It has slowed down a bit in the last few days. The rivers are dropping and water temperatures are on the rise. Cool and cloudy with a sprinkle of rain off and on here today. Suspect the fishing will remain good if we could get some rain. We really have had a good run of fishing for this time of year. Hope it continues.

ASF’s Nathan Wilbur says:

A week ago the water was just coming down to a nice fishable level from being extremely high for 10 days or so, particularly in northern NB on the Restigouche. Now we’re begging for rain. Saturday on the Dungarvon (tributary to the SW Miramichi) showed low water levels but at least the water was cool at 14C. We moved to the lower part of the SW Miramichi itself and by the afternoon the water was 22C. We need some rain to cool things down and help draw the salmon into the rivers. Despite low water, we did see quite a few fish moving in the lower section of the SW Miramichi. When we get rain, fishing conditions (and hopefully fishing) will improve. The next two weeks should be interesting. Time for all to get out and enjoy what our beautiful rivers have to offer.

St. John River - As of June 15 there were no Atlantic salmon reported at either Mactaquac, or in the Nashwaak River.

Restigouche Watershed

Danny Bird of Kedgwick Lodge notes:

The water is remaining at good fishing level. Guests are enjoying their outings and releasing fish each day. No grilse in this water as of this date but several fish in the 25-30 lb range.

Restigouche - There has been much talk in the past few days of Sylvie Malo-Clark’s great salmon – a 48-inch long female that is thought to have weighed more than 47 lb. This was a record for the logbook of Larry’s Gulch – the lodge that had been live release several years before it was mandatory. Great story, and there will be more coming in a future issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.

Nova Scotia

LaHave – The Morgan Falls Fishway count to date is rather interesting. To June 27, 3 grilse and 30 large salmon. Last year to June 30 they 84 grilse and 13 large salmon. This has been considered a grilse river back through the the 1990s, so one might ask what is different in 2016.

Margaree –

Crowding from too many anglers is the theme this week.

Greg Lovely noted earlier this week:
The Margaree is getting low. The Northeast branch is very low and as a result,not many fish have moved into that branch. Lots of fishermen from the Forks down...crowding the pools that are there. Still a few fish being hooked, Hopefully, soon we will get a good "smash" of rain,which will bring more fish in and spread people out.

Bill Haley reports:
The water levels are falling. Below the Forks, the river temperature is approximately 16 C. There are salmon in many pools and fish are being landed daily in some (Tidal, Seal, etc.). As the photo below shows, at times there seems to be more fishermen than fish.

Alex Breckenridge, The Tying Scotsman” says on June 28:
The last week or so has been up and down fishing wise. Fish were caught from Tidal, Tompkins and Forks pool. At times the pools were overcrowded with anglers.
Towards the end of the week anglers were going further up river and finding fish. Last weekend we heard of more fish being caught upstream. Yesterday we heard of 7 fish caught. We do need rain that hopefully will bring more salmon in.


Little to report yet, but the salmon migration is stirring.

No salmon were reported in the June 19 DFO report on assessed rivers.

On the Eagle, Gabe Cavallaro says:
“We are scouting now. Reports of Salmon at Black Tickle and Rigolet confirmed though.”

Dwight Lethbridge of Pratt Falls Lodge notes:
More fish are being seen with every rising tide, there have been very few hookups, but also very little rod pressure.  That will change in the coming week.  River is still quite high, but dropping quickly with water temps in the very low 60s F.


**The latest statistics for NL rivers now at June 26, 2016 - changed June 29, PM

Exploits – At midweek Fred Parsons noted that 3,300 had been counted at Bishop’s Falls, which is far ahead of the 600 counted to the same date last year. It is uncertain whether this is an early surge, or whether numbers will be higher in 2016.

Gander – Tolson Parson
s notes:
“Small numbers of Salmon are just starting to enter the rivers in the past week. Water levels are good but weather is really warm and fishing is slow so far. Let's hope for a little cooler weather for next week.”

Above: Castor River angler - a week ago. Photo Don Ivany/ASF


The Penobscot waters are heating up, but Atlantic salmon are still coming in and being counted at the Milford Fishlift. This week's report below.