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ASF Rivernotes 1 July 2021


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Angler Marie-Josée St-Louis releases an Atlantic salmon June 25 on Rivière Ste-Anne. Photo Louis Windisch


There is a resurgence of anglers introducing their children to Atlantic salmon rivers, and that is a wonderful thing. There is nothing like sharing times of silence, and times of excitement, with younger people who are seeing the river in an entirely new way—sometimes for the first time.

But a few safety reminders also need to be part of the mix.

  • If anyone, adult or child, is wearing chest waders, always wear a belt that keeps the legs from filling fast if someone goes for a dunking. It can happen.
  • If the sound of thunder is anywhere in the vicinity, get off the river. If lighting is hitting anywhere in the vicinity, crouch down, and keep those insulated boots or waders between you and the ground
  • After returning to a car or a cabin, always check for ticks—not just on the feet or ankles, but the legs, the head, etc. Lyme disease is spreading into more salmon river habitat each year.
  • In the heat, drink lots of water. Strangely, one can get dehydrated on a river.
  • If you are exploring a new section of river, climbing around cliffsides, or whatever, make sure others know where you are going, and when you will return.
  • If you are with a child, take the time to explain everything, to help them gain that knowledge of reading a river and of how to safely enjoy its magic.
  • Always teach youngsters to be fully aware of their surroundings, and give them a sense of route finding as well. One never knows when this could be vitally important.
Anglers may not pay much attention to these reminders, but every so often someone has an accident, gets lost, and the points above are suddenly imporant.

Above all, help all of those taking to the river to be competent, respectful and think of the experiences as something to build on for a lifetime.

They way time on an Atlantic salmon river can help individuals throughout life is truly amazing.



Brock Curtis of Curtis Miramichi Outfitters in Blackville notes:

We have been in a bit of a heat wave here for the last couple of days. This is increasing the water temperatures and seems to be slowing down the hookups. That being said, we are still getting reports of the odd salmon being caught and fresh salmon moving upriver. This seems to be the norm for the past couple of weeks. 

Almost on a daily basis we are hearing from anglers that they are seeing salmon moving upriver. Keep in mind I am referring to the lower section of the river below and above Blackville.
River levels are dropping but are nice for wading many of the pools here on the lower section of the Miramichi. 

A cycle of weekly rainfall seems to have established and our rivers are holding quite well – but we could use a bump in the river levels. Rain is in the forecast for the next several days and by early July it should be at nice levels again, especially for canoeing. We had a heavy thundershower on Tuesday that also helped. More thundershowers are in the forecast. Temperatures are dropping tomorrow and by Friday they forecast 14 C for a high. More rain with cooler temperatures during the day and especially the evenings will create nice angling conditions later in the week.
Some of the pools have been producing significant numbers of salmon and grilse, according to some guides, more than we have seen in quite a few years. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we haven’t had the larger number of anglers on the river to experience this June’s fishing. 

Things are shaping up quite well going into July. 

Barbless hooks have been a challenge. It takes a bit of getting used too. Looking forward to July.

Dungarvon Salmon Counting Barrier has increased its numbers: 9 grilse and 24 large Atlantic salmon to June 27, compared with 7 grilse and 11 large salmon in 2020. Nice to see any bump in the number of large salmon.

Northwest Miramichi Barrier to June 27 has had 38 grilse and 41 large salmon, compared with 33 grilse and 84 large salmon to the same date in 2020.


Jean-Daniel Savard of the RRWMC has a few notes on the state of this great watershed:
From what I heard of the Atlantic salmon returning, two important runs passed up the Main Restigouche so far. Also, the RRWMC wardens at the Kedgwick Forks and 10-Mile Pool told me about the presence of Atlantic salmon in the pools.

Water levels are low compared to previous years, but the water temperature is relatively stable so far.

Jean-Daniel Savard also gave an overview of what projects are planned for this year:

  • We are continuing 4 contracts with DRNED.
  • We constructed a brand new salmon barrier on the Upsalquitch branch of the Restigouche
  • We are going to work on many projects such as  the Nepisiguit restoration sites. With the RRWMC’s expertise in site restoration, the Gespe’gewaq Mi’gmaq Resources Council awarded a project management contract for the restoration of several sites on the Nepisiguit
  • Dept. Fisheries and Oceans Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk: Our goal is to plan and develop survey and monitoring programs to develop a comprehensive soil conservation strategy that affects water quality. The characterization of stream crossings in the Five Fingers Creek watershed will also help locate obstacles to the passage of salmon
  • Beaver dam breaching program and deployment of two wildlife assistants during summer of 2021.
  • Installation of an anti-poaching cement block at 9-Mile pool on the Little Main Restigouche River.
  • For Restigouche River forestry sediment load reduction framework, we are identifying forestry sediment source sites – survey, design and restoration planning –Restoration of sites – Monitoring and training.
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A 25 lb Atlantic salmon held by Roland Truchon guide at Larry's Gulch on the Restigouche. Photo Larry's Gulch
After the 2020 shock of the Covid-19, anglers, researchers, and enforcement personnel are getting much more accomplished this year, although there still are deficiencies. The opening of the N.B. border to Quebec makes the restoration and monitoring work on the Restigouche much, much simpler.

Jacques Heroux, Manager of Larry’s Gulch Camp on the Restigouche wrote at first of this week:

Water is at a good level after the last two days of rain, and rain is still in the forecast for much of this week

After the run of big, large, bright hens heading for the Kedgwick River, there has been a new run of smaller salmon in the 10 to 15 lb range. Plus, grilse are in our pools now.

Flies of choice: Green Highlander, silver Rat, Carter Bug and hairwing Shady Lady


À la suite de la pleine lune du 24 et les marées qui entouraient cette date importante du mois de juin, nous allons avoir une bonne idée au sujet de la réalité des montaisons de la saison 2021 d’ici la fin de cette semaine. D’année en année, le saumon nous surprend toujours, témoignons-nous d’une montaison hâtive et tardive à certains endroits ou d’une saison où l’abondance sera moins bonne que l’année dernière?

Certaines rivières connaissent des retards comparativement à la saison 2020 et d’autres ont des résultats surprenant et encourageant.

Les gestionnaires des rivières vous demandent votre coopération pour la déclaration de vos prises et vos remises à l’eau. Les données sont très importantes pour le calcul du succès de pêche ajusté et réel.

Le fait que nous avons passé au « vert » en date du 28 juin, les consignes de santé publique sont encore en vigueur en raison de la pandémie et le port du masque dans les endroits publics, postes d’accueils, les pourvoiries et les camps demeurent la norme.

Rivière Mitis

Les gestionnaires de la rivière Mitis sont très encouragés par la montaison de grand saumon à ce jour.

Voici des statistiques cumulatives de montaison comparatives en date du 24 juin des meilleures années récentes :

1999: 129 saumons
2020: 145 saumons
2017: 195 saumons
2021: 340 saumons

À ce jour, 502 poissons (361 saumons et 141 madeleineaux) ont accédé au piège pour y être transportés en amont afin de continuer leurs migrations.

Également, les pêcheurs ont rapporté que 22 saumons ont été graciés et 8 madeleineaux récoltés.

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A recent view into the Mitis River fish trap. Photo Zec Rivière Mitis
Rivière Saint-Paul (Basse-Côte-Nord)

Monsieur Garland Nadeau, résident de longue date de cette région nous fait part que jusqu’à ce jour, la saison se déroule de façon plus au moins « normale ». La première montaison des grands saumons a eu lieu pendant la période traditionnelle et il a gracié son premier saumon le 18 juin dernier. « C’est surprenant que le niveau et le débit de la rivière se maintiennent bien considérant que nous n’avons pas eu beaucoup de neige l’hiver dernier », a-t-il déclaré. Il a aussi témoigné du fait que les agents de conservation du MFFP et du MPO ont été présents depuis le début de la saison.

Rivière À Mars

Depuis l’ouverture, 38 saumons ont franchi la passe migratoire en date du 28 juin 2021 tandis qu’en 2020 à pareille date, 28 saumons étaient dénombrés et 32 saumons en 2019.

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Godbout River fishway. Photo Zec Godbout
Rivière Godbout

La Zec Godbout annonce que la passe migratoire est opération depuis le 23 juin. Cumulativement au 27 juin, 20 saumons ont franchi la passe. Également au 27, 42 poissons ont été capturés dont 30 saumons et 12 madeleineaux graciés et 16 madeleineaux récoltés. Des modifications ont été effectuées à la passe migratoire grâce à un support financier de la part du Programme de mise en valeur du saumon atlantique de la Côte-Nord.

Rivière Trinité

En date du 26 juin, la rivière connait un bon début de saison, 88 poissons ont franchi la passe migratoire (20 saumons et 68 madeleineaux.

Rivière Bonaventure

Au 26 juin, la Zec de la rivière Bonaventure fait rapport que 48 saumons ont été pêchés et remis à l’eau. Cumulativement au 27 juin 2020, 76 poissons, dont 57 saumons relâchés et 19 madeleineaux récoltés avaient été inscrits aux statistiques de la Zec.

Rivière Causapscal

Cumulativement au 26 juin, la capture de 56 saumons a été déclarée dont 24 relâchés. En 2020 à pareille date, 109 saumons étaient inscrits dans les statistiques de la CGRMP dont 46 remises à l’eau.

Rivière Matapédia

Au 26 juin, 48 saumons ont été déclarés capturés et remis à l’eau à ce jour cette saison et la récolte de 5 madeleineaux.

Les statistiques de la CGRMP à ce jour en 2020 indiquaient que les pêcheurs avaient capturé 99 poissons, dont 95 saumons graciés et 4 madeleineaux récoltés.

Le nombre de jours-pêche continue d’afficher une augmentation marquée par rapport à l’an dernier, soit 1 885 en 2021 comparativement aux 1 307 jours-pêche vendus au 26 juin 2020.

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A warm fire awaits Bonaventure anglers at the Cox Run Pool. Charles Cusson/ASF
Rivières de Gaspé

Les résultats affichés au 27 juin sur le site de la Zec Gaspé présentent un bon succès de pêche jusqu’à ce jour en 2021.

Visiter le

pour les statistiques et


afin d’enregistrer une remise à l’eau.

Rivière Matane

Au 27 juin, 245 poissons (208 saumons et 37 madeleineaux) ont franchi la passe migratoire depuis son ouverture le 15 juin.

En date du 27 juin, cumulativement pour la saison 2020, 164 poissons (149 saumons et 15 madeleineaux) avaient franchi la passe migratoire.

Rivière Rimouski

Les pêcheurs sportifs de la rivière Rimouski connaissent du succès dans les fosses en aval de la chute jusqu’à ce jour cette saison, 27 poissons (21 saumons et 6 madeleineaux) ont franchi le piège de capture. Cumulativement au 27 juin, 23 poissons ont été capturés comprenant 13 saumons graciés et 10 madeleineaux récoltés.

Rivière Moisie

En date du 26 juin, l’Association de protection de la rivière Moisie (APRM) annonce le fait que 1 291 jours-pêche ont été vendus jusqu’à ce jour et 20 saumons ont été pêchés dont 11 relâchés pour le secteur de la Zec et 2 saumons récoltés dans le secteur Winthrop-Campbell.

Rivière aux Rochers

Au 26 juin, les pêcheurs de la rivière aux Rochers ont capturé cumulativement 40 poissons comprenant 31 saumons et 7 madeleineaux relâchés et 2 madeleineaux conservés. Les captures ont été effectuées dans les secteurs en aval du piège.

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Louis Windisch releases a 15 lb salmon on the Ste-Anne River. Guide Mathieu Van Houtte to left of Louis Windisch. Photo Marie-Josée St-Louis
Quebec River Notes

Following the full moon on the 24th and the associated larger tides, we should have a pretty good idea by the end of this week what kind of salmon migration the 2021 season will have in store. Year in and year out, our salmon always surprise the angling community. Are we witnessing a mix of an early season migration and a late one in certain areas, or a year with substantially less salmon coming back to their native rivers compared to 2020?

One river which seems to be bucking the trend is the Mitis, with impressive numbers for the month of June to date.

As of June 28th, Quebec has achieved the “Green” status which loosens some protocols. Public health and safety procedures due to the pandemic are still in effect when visiting river offices and public spaces.

River managers continue to ask anglers to report the fish they release to calculate an accurate angling success rate.

Mitis River

To date on June 28th, the Mitis is being blessed with an impressive migration for the month of June.

Here are interesting comparative migration numbers on June 24th from certain prior years:

1999 – 129 salmon
2020 – 145 salmon
2017 – 195 salmon
2021 – 340 salmon

For the season, 502 fish (361 salmon and 141 grilse) have entered the trap to be transported upstream to continue their migration. Anglers have reported releasing 22 salmon and harvesting 8 grilse.

Saint-Paul’s River (Lower North Shore)

Long time resident Garland Nadeau is reporting a “normal” season to date. The first run of large salmon happened during the usual dates; he released his first salmon of the year on June 18th. Mr. Nadeau states, “It’s surprising that the level and flow of the river seems to be holding considering we didn’t get much snow last winter” and “I’m glad to report MFFP and DFO conservation officers have made their presence known since the beginning of the season.”

À Mars River

38 salmon have migrated through the fishway cumulatively to June 28th. At the same date in 2020, 28 salmon had reached the fishway and 32 salmon in 2019.

Godbout River

The Godbout Zec has announced the fishway has been operational since June 23rd. To June 27th, for the season, 20 salmon have migrated through. Anglers are reporting 42 fish being landed made up of 30 salmon and 12 grilse released with an additional 16 grilse harvested. The fishway received funding to modify and improve the efficiency of the structure from the North Shore Salmon Habitat Enhancement Program.

Trinité River

This Quebec north shore index river is having a good start to the 2021 season. 88 fish have been counted through the fishway, comprised of 20 salmon and 68 grilse.

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Joé Champagne releases a bright early season salmon back to the Trinité River. Photo Olivier Pouliot

Bonaventure River

The Bonaventure Zec has published statistics to June 26th reporting that anglers have released 48 salmon. At the same date in 2020, 57 salmon had been reported landed and released.

Causapscal River

For the season to June 26th, 56 salmon have been reported landed by the CGRMP which includes 24 releases. 109 salmon had been reported landed which included 46 releases at the same date in 2020.

Matapedia River

To June 26th, 48 salmon have been reported and released. The number of rod-days has dramatically increased (1,885 to date in 2021) compared to the 1,307 sold cumulatively at the same date in 2020.

During the 2020 season at the same date, 95 salmon had been reported released and 4 grilse had been harvested for a total of 99.

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Magnificent 25 lb female Atlantic salmon in the À Mars River fishway. Photo Nature Rivière à Mars
Rivière à Mars
Gaspé Rivers (York, Dartmouth, and Saint-Jean)

Currently posted angling results on the Saumon Gaspé website are encouraging to June 21st. Local sources are stating the fact that actual results would be much higher if more people took a few minutes to report the salmon they have been releasing. Please help the rivers where you fish by reporting the salmon you release. To see a breakdown on all 3 rivers, please visit,

and to register the release of a fish please visit

Matane River

With flow on the increase once again this week, this will most likely increase the number of fish migrating through the fishway. To June 27th, 172 fish (208 salmon and 37 grilse) have been counted.

Comparatively in 2020 at the same date, a total 164 fish (149 salmon and 15 grilse) had been counted through the fishway,

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Pierre Luc Ouellet landed this salmon at Pool 12 on the Rimouski River. Photo Simon Amiot
Rimouski River

To date, Rimouski anglers have had some success in the pools below the waterfall. Cumulatively to June 27th, 23 fish have been reported landed which includes 13 salmon released and 10 grilse harvested.

Moisie River

The APRM (Moisie River Protection Association) is reporting as of June 27th, 20 salmon have been landed (within the Zec and Winthrop-Campbell sectors. Also, 1,291 rod-days have ben sold to this point in the season which is within the average from year to year.

Aux Rochers River

To June 26th, for the season, 40 fish have been reported landed including 31 salmon and 7 grilse released, 2 grilse harvested. All fish landings have happened in sectors below the fish trap.

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Late afternoon mist on the Bonaventure River. Photo Jack Gustafson


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Newfoundland salmon counts to July 27, 2021

While it is still “early days” to make predictions on Atlantic salmon runs, there are some encouraging signs on at least a few rivers. The Exploits River is running almost double the numbers of 2020. And Harry’s River in western Newfoundland appears to be having a great year with 2,021 by June 27.

Some, like Terra Nova River, are lower than they could be. The Conne is better than the horribly bad 2020 year, but at 139 is still low when compared with the historical numbers for this south coast river.

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Building the 2021 counting fence on the Terra Nova River. Photo Terra Nova National Park.
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Illegal barrier on a salmon migration route on Hughes Brook. Don Ivany/ASF
With the hot, hot weather, there have been instances where enterprising individuals have improved their favourite swimming hole by building barriers at the outlet to raise the water depth. Unfortunately this is a barrier to Atlantic salmon migration, and as such is illegal. Perhaps not thinking of the consequences, individuals need to avoid such practices, and remove such barriers for the benefit of migrating fish.


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The large female Atlantic salmon with a 90 cm fork length. Photo Maine DMR

Jason Valliere, DMR Biologist writes:

We’re gaining, slow but steady.

We had a 90 cm fork-length (about 39 inches total length) female come through the fishway on June 5. This fish was captured back in 2019 on 6/28 as a 77 cm FL fish of naturally reared origin, meaning it was either naturally born, or stocked as a fry or egg, and sent to Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery as broodstock, and later released back to the river after spawning. 

We don’t get to see many fish of this size or life history. It’s truly amazing when we do!

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Update to June 28 of Milford Fish Lift numbers

Jennifer Noll of Maine DMR writes:

Temperatures have crept back up to 22 C on the Kennebec River in Waterville. Surprise, surprise: flows are still at an all time low of 2,340 cfs at the USGS gauge in Sidney. 

Seven more salmon were caught in the Lockwood fish lift in the past week. That makes a total of 15 plus the salmon recovered from the ledges below Lockwood Dam. There have been reports from fishermen that more salmon were sighted below Lockwood this week.

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Temple Stream just above the confluence of the Sandy River in the upper Kennebec. Like many tributaries, levels are hitting extreme lows for this time of year. Maranda Nemeth/ASF


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Members of HMOF angling at Sunday Run on the Margaree. Patrick Poirier


Patrick Poirier notes:

the rainfall last week did not have much impact on water levels and we are seeing a continuous drop in water levels plus increasing temperatures.

Handheld thermometer readings in the lower river ranged from high teens to more than 20 C. Knowing these are not exact, the situation is getting to a worrisome point.

Fish movement has been slow, with reports of a couple fish being hooked. One was by a member of the Hero’s Mending on the Fly (HMOF) group that I volunteer with every year.

There are reports of Atlantic salmon being seen in lower tidal sections and one has to wonder why the are delaying their entering the river system.

Hopefully forecast rain will rise levels enough and reduce temperatures. That will give salmon the conditions to begin there amazing journey upriver to start the next generation.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” -Henry David Thoreau

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Angling above "The Swimming Hole" on the Margaree. Patrick Poirier
Kris Hunter, ASF Director of Programs in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, says:

Rains are a coming! (we hope). 

As yet another warm dry June comes to a close, fishermen around the province are starting to watch water temperatures and water levels very closely. 

Water levels in the Margaree and in other rivers across the province have been mostly okay, although some are starting to get rather low and are in need of sustained rainfall. Thankfully a mix of some cooler nights and the occasional rains have been keeping most systems cool enough for now. 

Talking to several fishers and watching the various social media groups, I am hearing that while not yet concerned, fishers are worried what will happen if we don’t get some rain soon. 

As we wait for the rains, please remember to keep temperature in mind when you are fishing. Bring a thermometer with you and if you are seeing temperatures in the low-mid 20’s C., then give the fish a pass until it is a bit cooler. 

On the plus side, anglers in Cape Breton are reporting lots of trout and salmon, so hopefully these rains will come and give even more fishing opportunities in the coming weeks.


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Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is erecting barriers to attempt blocking invasive smallmouth bass from expanding to threaten the Cole Harbour system.
Kris Hunter notes:

Last fall the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Inland Fisheries Division carried out a treatment of Piper Lake on the St Mary’s River system to eradicate illegally introduced smallmouth bass. 

The lake was treated with rotenone, a naturally occurring fish toxicant, to prevent this invasive species from spreading into other habitats and threatening native species, such as salmon and trout. 

Since treating the lake, NSDFA has been closely monitoring the lake to see if the treatment was successful and how well the area would recover post treatment.

While NS DFA is not quite ready to lift the barriers and call the treatment a success just yet, they are very encouraged by what they are seeing. 

Amphibians and invertebrates both seem to be recovering nicely and there are a number of native species below the lake that should be able to recolonize it once the barriers are lifted. Stay tuned for more updates.
A second illegal introduction of smallmouth bass in Dobsons Lake in Guysborough County, unfortunately suffered a setback this week. 

Smallmouth Bass were initially discovered in the lake that drains into the Cole Harbour River near Canso last year. 

NSDFA officials immediately began efforts to contain the bass to the lake, assess the population of bass, and develop plans for addressing this illegal introduction. 

This Spring a more robust barrier was put in place to replace the temporary barriers that were erected immediately after the illegal introduction was discovered. 

Monitoring of the area also continued and unfortunately this week bass were discovered in a stillwater below the barrier. 

The NS DFA is now moving to get barriers in place to prevent the bass from moving further downstream into Panhandle Lake and the numerous other lakes and stillwaters on the Cole Harbour system. 

NS DFA is continuing to work with its partners to develop solutions to this illegal introduction of an invasive species and to others like it across the province.

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Smallmouth bass introductions are a threat to restoring wild Atlantic salmon and other native species in Nova Scotia waters, as well as systems such as New Brunswick's Miramichi.


There is little new on the international border, at least as far as U.S. anglers coming to their favourite rivers. Last word seemed to be that Canada is likely to want 75 per cent full vaccination, plus two weeks following. That would place opening towards the end of August, but wild cards like the Delta Variant with its increased transmissibility could jeopardize this prediction.

Within Canada, the Atlantic Canadian provinces in the next few days will be open to each other, and to other Canadians. But it will require travellers to be fully immunized, with a two-week period as well.

Still, nice to visit the Margaree or the Humber from New Brunswick without spending two weeks in isolation.

The vaccines are incredibly successful, and most people are not aware of the massive amount of brilliant work, and quality control has gone into this program that is the most massive immunization effort in human history.