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ASF Rivernotes 27 Aug 2021



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While nice rainstorms crossed New Brunswick on Monday, bringing up rivers like the Nashwaak, the water temperatures have remained high - too high to have salmon angling in rivers where is is normally allowed. Nathan Wilbur/ASF
It should be a no-brainer for 21st century Atlantic salmon anglers: in warm water, leave the salmon alone.

Warmer water temperatures stress the physiology of the Atlantic salmon in a host of ways. Any exertion builds up lactic acid in their muscles more quickly. There is less oxygen in the water for them to breathe. They need to seek the coolest areas of pools, and reduce their activity to a minimum.

In some jurisdictions, DFO over the past decade or so has improved their monitoring of temperatures. Even better, they have streamlined the decision process for closing rivers that are too “hot.” Plus they have improved the same decision-making process for taking off the prohibitions on angling as the water temperature drops.

The best area is New Brunswick section of the southern Gulf. And at at the moment much of NB is shut down with these Dog Days of Summer we have been having.

DFO does not alway make it easy to find their latest information online, and they need to improve this. But for New Brunswick, go to:

At the moment there is a complete closure of the Miramichi, plus sections of the Restigouche, and of the Nepisiguit. Every angler needs to keep track of the closures.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, many rivers have been heating up, and some partial closures are in place. DFO in NL has been very good with their webpage, with an easily followed format:

This In-Season Report page shows that 68 rivers are presently restricted to morning-only angling, and a modest number are actually closed.

In Nova Scotia, the Margaree is again in 2021 the subject of intense discussion on whether DFO is being too lax in closing the river due to warm water temperatures.

There is considerable criticism that DFO is not recognizing the full impact of the actual river temperatures. Certainly many anglers are doing the right thing themselves, and waiting for cooler conditions to go after Atlantic salmon.

Yesterday, Alex Breckenridge, of The Tying Scotsman wrote on his Facebook page:

I got a message at 6am, one lad took a temperature at Seal Pool 20C his friend got a shade under 70F. They didn’t fish!

Others have also remarked they feel DFO is not being sufficiently rigorous on the temperature monitoring. More said under the Nova Scotia section of RiverNotes.

Quebec has the most unsettling situation of all.

There is no mechanism for a Zec or Government to close the rivers due to implementation of Warm Water Protocols.

As we are all aware, recent years, with warmer summers, is including Quebec – not ignoring it. There needs to be a better approach to the stressful conditions of temperature elevations.

Further Reading on Temperatures

The compiler of this blog has pulled together a set of links that may be of interest to those wishing to read further. The links can be found at the bottom of this week’s Rivernotes.


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Recent storms have improved the flows on the Southwest Miramichi

Southwest Miramichi

The Dungarvon Barrier has data to Aug. 22. There have been 85 grilse and 114 large salmon, compared with 86 grilse and 70 large salmon in 2020.

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The recent storms associated with Post-tropical Storm Henri brought up the flows on both the Little Southwest Miramichi and the Northwest Miramichi.

Northwest Miramichi

The NW Miramichi Barrier to Aug. 22 had 159 grilse and 91 large salmon, vs 89 grilse and 128 large salmon in 2020 to the same date.

Perhaps the latest bump in water will assist the numbers of Atlantic salmon.


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Fosse du Cordonnier Rivière Matapédia - photo Michel Pelletier - Shoemaker Pool on the Matapedia River

Même s’il y a eu un peu de précipitation dans certaines régions, les conditions des rivières sont toujours extrêmement basses et les températures demeurent élevées sur la plupart des rivières. Les précipitations abondantes sont souvent prévues, mais elles ne se sont pas concrétisées.

Les conditions d’eau plus chaude étant la norme en ce moment, veuillez svp réduire au minimum la durée du combat si vous piquez un saumon et veuillez les garder le poisson dans l’eau pendant tout le processus de la remise à l’eau. Il n’y a pas de temps prédéfini pour relâcher un poisson, il vous indiquera quand il est prêt à partir.

Pour l’instant, les gestionnaires ne détiennent aucune mesure légale qui leurs permet de fermer une rivière pendant des périodes de température trop élevée. Un protocole d’eau chaude est présentement à l’étude par le gouvernement.

Rappel aux saumoniers pêchant les rivières du Québec, prenez le temps de rapporter vos prises et remise à l’eau afin d’avoir des statistiques précises et que les gestionnaires de rivière puissent calculer le succès de pêche avec précision.

Tight Lines!

Chronique Pêche de Jocelyn LeBlanc – La pêche sportive: les bonnes pratiques

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Félicitations à Gino D'Astous pour cette remise à l'eau sur la rivière Mitis le 21 août à la fosse Côte-à-Tuer - Photo Gina D'Astous - Congratulations to Gino D'Astous for the release of this salmon on the Mitis River on August 21st.
Rivières York, Dartmouth et Saint-Jean
Voici les résultats affichés au 15 août sur le site de la Zec Gaspé jusqu’à ce jour en 2021.

York 477 captures (incluant les remises à l’eau) 4 228 jours-pêche (3 452 en 2020)
Dartmouth 207 captures (incluant les remises à l’eau) 1 280 jours-pêche (1 005 en 2020)
Saint-Jean 162 captures (incluant es remises à l’eau) 659 jours pêche (609 en 2020)

Visiter le

afin d’enregistrer une remise à l’eau.

Rivière Aux Rochers

L’association de protection de la rivière Aux-Rochers (APRR) a partagé des statistiques au 23 août.

À ce jour, 177 poissons ont été capturés dont, 87 saumons et 34 madeleineaux relâchés en plus de 56 madeleineaux récoltés.

Cumulativement au 23 août, 588 poissons ont franchi le piège (246 saumons et 342 madeleineaux). Ce résultat est très encourageant en tenant compte que pour la saison 2020, 361 poissons furent dénombrés.

Rivière Matane

En considérant les débits excessivement bas à ce stade de la saison, le décompte de la Matane maintient un rythme respectable. Au 23 août, 2 165 poissons ont été dénombrés dont 890 saumons et 1 275 madeleineaux. Cumulativement au 23 août 2020, 2,397 poissons avaient été dénombrés, dont 1 540 saumons et 857 madeleineaux.

Du côté de la pêche sportive au 23 août, 690 poissons ont été capturés (158 saumons et 134 madeleineaux relâchés, 45 saumons et 353 madeleineaux récoltés).

Au 23 août 2020, 588 poissons avaient été capturés, dont 219 saumons et 61 madeleineaux relâchés. De plus, 75 saumons et 233 madeleineaux avaient été récoltés.

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Fosse Bas Adams Rivière Matapédia - photo Michel Pelleter - Lower Adams pool on the Matapedia River
Rivière Matapédia

La CGRMP, corporation qui gère les rivières Matapédia, Patapédia et Causapscal déclarent que 583 poissons ont été capturés cumulativement au 23 août, dont 325 relâchés et 258 récoltés.

À la même date en 2020, 973 avaient été capturés sur la Matapédia, dont 577 relâchés et 357 récoltés.

Rivière Mitis

Cette saison, cumulativement au 24 août, 749 saumons et 998 madeleineaux ont été dénombrés pour un total de 1 747 poissons.

En date du 26 août 2020, 1 354 poissons, dont 682 saumons et 669 madeleineaux, avaient été dénombrés par le biais du piège.

Rivière Rimouski

Au 24 août, 687 poissons ont été dénombrés dont 267 saumons et 430 madeleineaux) à pareille date en 2020, 360 poissons avaient été dénombrés par le biais du piège dont 199 saumons et 161 madeleineaux.

De plus, à ce jour en 2021, les pêcheurs sportifs ont capturé 173 poissons, dont 78 saumons relâchés et 95 madeleineaux récoltés.

Cumulativement à la même date en 2020, les pêcheurs avaient relâché 33 saumons et récolté 32 madeleineaux pour un total de 65.

ASF’s Charles Cusson, Director of Quebec Programs, writes:

Some rain has graced certain regions but not in enough quantities to really improve the flow in our rivers for the long term. Although anglers are having some success on certain rivers, any help from Mother Nature will be received with thanks.

Please keep in mind that higher water temperatures stress salmon even more, so please limit the time you have a fish on the line to ensure it will recuperate properly after being released.

Interesting fact, at the present time river managers have no legal tool at their disposal to close a river to angling due to high water temperatures. A warm water protocol is being reviewed by the government for implementation hopefully sooner than later.

The data used for the Quebec River notes are sourced from various river websites, social media and Quebec government sources. Information can change without prior notification regarding prior year comparative figures.

York, Dartmouth, and Saint-Jean Rivers

Here are the results to August 15th as per the Zec Gaspé website:
York                477 captures (including releases) 4 228 rod-days sold (3,452 in 2020)
Dartmouth    207 captures (including releases) 1 280 rod-days sold (1,005 in 2020)
Saint-Jean    162 captures (including releases) 659 rod-days sold (609 in 2020)

To register a release on one of the Gaspé rivers, please visit

Aux Rochers River

The APRR (Aux Rochers River Protection Association) are sharing statistics to August 23rd.

To date, 177 fish have been landed including 87 salmon and 34 grilse reported released, as well as 56 grilse harvested.

Cumulatively for the season, 588 fish have been counted through the trap (246 salmon and 342 grilse). This compares well to the entire 2020 season when 361 were counted.

Matane River

Considering the Matane’s flow is on the very low end of the scale, it continues to have respectable migration numbers. To August 23rd, 2,165 fish have been counted (890 salmon and 1,275 grilse). As of August 23rd, 2020, 2,397 fish had been counted which included 1,540 large salmon and 857 grilse.

On the angling side as of August 23rd, 690 fish have been landed (158 salmon and 134 grilse released, 45 salmon and 353 grilse harvested). To August 23rd, 2020, 588 fish had been reported to have been landed which included 219 large salmon and 61 grilse released. As well as 75 large salmon and 233 grilse harvested.

Matapedia River

The managers are reporting to August 23rd, for the season, 583 fish have been landed of which 325 fish were released and 258 reported being harvested.

At the same date in 2020, 973 fish had been reported landed consisting of 577 fish declared released and 357 fish harvested.

Mitis River

To August 24th, for this season, 1,747 fish (749 salmon and 998 grilse) have been counted via the fish trap.

On August 26th, 2020, 682 salmon and 669 grilse had been counted cumulatively for a total of 1,354.

Rimouski River

For the season, as of August 24th, 687 fish (267 salmon and 430 grilse) have migrated to the trap. For the same period in 2020, 199 salmon and 161 grilse had been counted for a total of 360.

Anglers have reported landing 173 fish consisting of 78 salmon released and 95 grilse harvested compared to the same date in 2020 when 65 fish had been landed (33 salmon released and 32 grilse harvested).


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A gorgeous leaping salmon being played by Nick Murphy on the Pinware River in Labrador. Photo Phil Murphy

Anecdotal information in 2021 says it was another good year for Labrador, even if conditions of flows and temperatures have varied.

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The counts to Aug. 22 show the Sand Hill River has been the best of the assessed rivers.
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Nick Murphy releases a fine salmon this summer back into the Pinware River. Photo Tyrone Buckle
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Pinware River is one of the gems of southern Labrador. Photo Phil Murphy

Don Ivany, ASF Director of Programs in Newfoundland and Labrador writes:

Weather has been hot and dry in western Newfoundland and many rivers are low and warm in this area. Very few people angling now as a result. 

Central Newfoundland had a little rain but it did not bring rivers up. So they remain very low and warm in this area. 

Rick Maddigan had a few coments on the Avalon rivers:

Conditions are normal for late August. 

Rivers are low but not desperate, warm but not boiling and angling is not good. 

Since very few fresh fish enter the Avalon rivers in August, it will take a great deluge of rain to liven up the fish now on the spawning grounds. 

All in all we were plagued by low and warm water most of the year which made angling spotty and overall the number of anglers on the rivers was noticeably down. But runs are certainly holding their own.

Barb Genge of Tuckamore Lodge near the top of the Northern Peninsula wrote back in Aug. 19:

The Newfoundlanders who fished our river were successful and all of them took their two salmon. 

We have lots of salmon and they arrived in May tis year. When the salmon were leaving the ponds and returning to the oceans, salmon were also going into the rivers. This was early by a month at least. There are still lots of salmon in the rivers. 

We had rain nearly every night and we had hard rain a few times. The pond that my Lodge is on is just having a beach now. We had rain all through the country so the river here wasn’t closed at all this summer which was great. 

However I can’t wait for my Out-of-Province guests to return. 

It will be a pleasure to have normal travel conditions after those two summers. 

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Returns to Newfoundland counting fences as of Aug. 22, 2021
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Terra Nova River showing the desperate need for rain in this part of Newfoundland. Photo Ken McLean


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Back a week ago, Aaron Krick caught and released this nice Atlantic salmon on the Margaree.
Patrick Poirier notes

High water temperatures have continued in the Margaree. As logged myself with a hand held thermometer, the river in the early morning is remaining 19 C and into the low 20s C.

Alas, the rain has eluded us again, and we can only hope rain and cooler air temperatures come soon
Weekends that are normally more active with fishermen, have been very quiet as of late, and most seem to be waiting for the fall run. The few that are out fishing, are have limited success.


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Salmon at the Lockwood Dam

Lower Kennebec – updates by Jennifer Noll and Nate Gray:

Water levels have continued to be somewhat stable in the mainstem Kennebec in Waterville this week. 

Flows have been hovering around 2,100 cfs. According to the USGS water data in Sidney, this level is between minimum and 25% historic flows for this date.

Temperatures at the Lockwood fishlift have been ~24 C. on average all week. The fish lift has been operating on a limited basis due to temperature restrictions. One naturally-reared grilse was captured in the Lockwood fishlift two weeks ago (Aug 6).

Juvenile river herring have started their seaward journey from Webber Pond recently. Samples are collected to determine growth rates of out-migrating juveniles.

On the Sebasticook River, the lift is closed for maintenance and high temperatures. In other news in the Sebasticook drainage, the outlet fishway on Outlet Stream in Vassalboro is approximately 70% complete.

Juvenile Atlantic salmon sampling has begun on the Sandy River for the season. To date 26 electrofishing “catch-per-unit-area” sites have been completed in order to assess abundance and distribution of the general population, new egg planting sites and areas of wild spawning. Biological data such as fork length, weight and scale samples are collected from salmon and total length, weight are collected from all other salmonids. Abundances of all other species are noted also. All fish are released back to the site that they were captured in- see attached picture.

Lockwood fish lift (mainstem Kennebec) total catches for 2021:

Atlantic Salmon: 23 (1 additional was caught in ledges during stranding rescue and transported to the Sandy River)

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Atlantic salmon parr from the Sandy River this year.
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Lockwood Dam at Waterville, on the Kennebec River. GoogleEarth
Lockwood Dam

Maranda Nemeth, ASF’s Director of the Maine Headwaters Project, explains what is wrong at the Lockwood Dam:

The Lockwood Dam is an odd shape across the Kennebec River. The entrance to the fishlift is along the parking lot on the left side of the image, below the bridge, in the corner.

The entrance to this fishlift is very difficult for the salmon and other migratory species to locate and more often are attracted to the sound of the falls. They ascend the falls if the flows are right but then confront the dam itself. 

The Taconic Falls at the bridge towards the upper right side of the photo are not the obstruction to fish passage. The obstruction is the dam itself, standing at a height of over 20 feet. When the flows drop naturally or during the spillway board replacement procedure, the fish can become stranded along the ledge falls. The site is complex and the dams configuration is unique.