ASF RiverNotes 24 May 2019

May 24, 2019
Visions like this are in the minds of many as the countdown to Newfoundland's June 1 opening takes place. Leaping salmon in the lower Humber River - an amazing photograph by Bill Bryden.
Newfoundland and Labrador

The big news this past week was the announcement by Fisheries and Oceans Canada of the regulations for salmon angling in 2019 for Newfoundland and Labrador.

These are their major points:

A retention limit of one fish on Class 2 rivers (Tag 1 – red) and a retention limit of two fish on Class 4, Class 6 and unclassified rivers (Tags 3 and 4 – green).

A catch and release limit of three fish per day for all rivers in Newfoundland and Labrador with the exception of Class 0 rivers. Class 0 rivers are permitted a catch and release limit of two fish per day.

The retention of salmon on non-scheduled waters is not permitted.

The implementation of a new multi-faceted environmental protocol, which will be available in the 2019-2020 Angler’s Guide.

Full details on the regulations, seasons, bag limits, river classification, closed areas and special management areas will be contained in the 2019-2020 Angler’s Guide which will be available in the near future online at:

DFO's management decision for salmon in Newfoundland and Labrador is available here:

No surprises on the opening and closing dates for the seasons.

Of special note is that there are new protocols in place in 2019 for warm water conditions
On May 19 the water remained cold, but was great for spring canoeing on the Nashwaak River, a tributary of the St. John River. Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Brock Curtis of Curtis Miramichi Outfitters
gives an update:

Last week was quite a week here on the lower section of the Southwest Miramichi.

A typical day fishing looked like this: mornings produced Atlantic salmon, afternoons seemed to be best for trout, and the evenings were producing some ridiculous striped bass fishing.

I know of guys getting 60 bass in two hours of evening fishing. We have seen pictures and videos of the river boiling in bass.
Fewer sportsman are here fishing black salmon now but there is the odd black salmon still taking on the hook. Even today we had reports of salmon being caught.

We are transitioning into that period when the guys looking for trout are starting to fish while others are chasing the striped bass.

All of our tributaries are perfect for canoeing and we have been busy with that part of our business. Though the weather hasn’t been the best the long weekend was busy with people on the river canoeing , looking for fiddle heads and fishing.

Anglers have been hooking nice sized brook trout but the focus now will be on Sea Run Trout and speculation on when they will be coming in. We continue to have a lot of anglers coming to the area chasing those striped bass. Though some reports are saying the water is too cold and the bass fishing is slow, that is not the case in some areas.

We are seeing lots of pictures of large bass and big smiles.

The concern remains on the negative impact of the striped bass on the smolt leaving the Miramichi River system.

Nathan Wilbur, ASF Director of Programs in New Brunswick has these notes from his recent travels and discussions:

Miramichi: Anglers are getting kelts, striped bass, and sea run trout at Quarryville on the Southwest Miramichi. Most of the bass are still down low around Miramichi City and haven’t moved in numbers up to their spawning area on the Northwest yet due to cold temps and high flows. Based on the smoltwheel operations, smolts are also slow to get moving with the cold water.

 David Leblanc of the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council noted mid-week that anglers were still picking up a few kelts low in the river system. He hasn’t heard of any bright salmon being caught or seen yet. Water remains high and cold at around 5 C, and the smolts are slow to start their seaward migration. He noted those planning to use canoes to head to the upper reaches of the Kedgwick River couldn’t access their launch point because there was still four feet of snow on the road.

Southern New Brunswick: Gaspereau runs are heavy right now in southern NB like on the Oromocto and people are out enjoying seeing the spectacle of nature. There is a 20 fish/day limit for recreational dip netting.

Nova Scotia

On Thurs. May 23 the webcam on French Mountain near Chéticamp shows how much snow remains. There is a layer in the forest as well as the roadside patches.

Greg Lovely has a short note on conditions for the Margaree and elsewhere in the area:

There is still lots of snow and with rain in the forecast, the river is still quite high.There was warmer weather in March last year.

It appears that so far, the Cape Breton rivers are following the trend of others in Atlantic Canada, being considerably colder than most recent years, and likely smolt runs have been delayed.



A short update is in order, as April numbers were finally posted for the English rivers the Tyne, Wear and Tees. The news is extremely good, to put it mildly. Most of the rivers have double to triple the early year returns of last year. The Tyne counting facility at Riding Mills does not differentiate between Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout. But the numbers are excellent, the best since 2011.
The Wear River that meets the sea at Durham is also doing much better than 2018, but perhaps more in line with other recent years.


This river on the west side of the Jutland peninsula appear to be having a good year so far. As of yesterday, 205 Atlantic salmon have been angled, with a release rate of 53.2%. The average length of the salmon is 92.6 cm., with 38 Atlantic salmon being more than 8 kg. or 17 lb.

For those wishing to keep up-to-date on the river, go to:

The Skjern River is featured in the upcoming Summer issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal
Kenny Frost releases a 115 cm. Atlantic salmon he caught on a fly in the Skjern River on May 16, 2019.

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