ASF RiverNotes 3 Oct 2019

Oct 3, 2019

Every Atlantic Salmon River Unique

Freddie Leverman on Sept. 2 is holding the fourth salmon he has ever caught and is very pleased about it. Freddie is nine years old and caught the salmon on the North River, Cape Breton. Photo: Peter Leverman
A great image above of pride in connecting and successfully releasing a wild Atlantic salmon on the North River in Cape Breton. The river is not well known to most, but has its own sense of intimacy, and requires a reasonable athleticism in reaching special pools. Like many Atlantic salmon rivers, it encourages listening to the tone of the river, made up of small falls, riffles, wind above and in the trees...and a hundred other smaller noises.

September and October heighten this sense of intimacy. The temperatures have dropped, and there is a sense of waiting for that next swirl of a salmon's fin, or a burst of energy on the end of line. It is as if the summer has been just the overture to autumn, that many consider the best time of year to commune with Atlantic salmon.
North River, an intimate river that needs to be cherished for its Atlantic salmon. Peter Leverman Photography
Middle River on Cape Breton Island has its own character and reason to experience it. Peter Leverman Photography


The season ended on Mon., September 30. Mother nature brought more rain to the Gaspé and Lower St-Lawrence regions during the last few days of the season which will help maintain levels into the spawning periods. Rivers such as the Matane saw the flow increase considerably from 30 cubic meters per second on Sept. 26, to 115 cubic meters per second within 12 hours.

Overall for 2019, most rivers have reported a slight increase in the number of large salmon and a significant drop in grilse abundance.

With the grilse numbers in mind, pending government approval, the Petite Cascapedia River Association voted recently in favour of implementing mandatory live release for both large salmon and grilse as of the 2020 season.
Geneviève Fournier releases a beautiful hen Atlantic salmon on the Dartmouth River. Photo Dave Adams
Matane River

To Sept. 30, 2019 for the season, 1,954 fish (1,228 large salmon and 726 grilse) were counted through the fishway. For the 2018 season, 2,000 fish (1,055 large salmon and 945 grilse) had been counted.

Angling results for 2019 resulted in a total of 703 fish reported landed comprised of 194 large salmon and 77 grilse released which also included 147 large salmon and 285 grilse that were harvested.

For the season in 2018, 512 fish were landed comprised of 181 large salmon and 60 grilse released, 271 grilse were harvested.
Maxime Fournier releases a big Atlantic salmon on the Matane River. Photo Zec Saumon Rivière Matane 1
Matapedia River

To Sept. 30, 2019, the CGRMP is reporting the following statistics for the season.

1,213 fish landed comprised of 758 large salmon released and 455 grilse harvested.

For the 2018 season, CGRMP reported 1,504 landed made up of 723 large salmon released, 118 large salmon and 663 grilse harvested.
Émile Fournel Gagnon releases a nice fall salmon at the Mirroir Pool on the Mitis River. Photo Émile Fournel Gagnon
Mitis River

Angling action on the Mitis was very good right until the end of the season with salmon being landed in all sectors of the river.

Important fact to remember, a new stretch of angling water will be accessible to anglers for the 2020 season. The Mistigougèche, which is a tributary of the Mitis will be open as a limited rod sector and will be part of the spring draw that will take place next April.

For the season in 2019, 892 fish have been transported above (462 large salmon and 430 grilse), 147 fish were reported released and 115 grilse harvested for a total of 262.

In 2018 at season end, 1,110 fish had been transported above the waterfall (400 large salmon and 710 grilse). In total for the season, 263 fish had been reported landed (95 salmon released, and 168 grilse harvested).

Prince Edward Island

The "Spring Hole" on the Morell River 24 Sept. 2019. Photo Taylor Main
Some timely rains over the past couple of days will surely help the fishing but we really need to get some colour back into the water and another good boost in height before things really start to take off. I only heard of one fish having been taken in the past 10 days, which is not uncommon for this time of year. By the sounds of it, it was a fine fish and was also the first fish this gentleman had taken on the Morell. All the guys were quite happy for him. Conversely the fishing on the systems open for the extended steelhead fishing also has yet to pick up.
Looking upstream from the Steel Bridge on the Dunk River on 22 Sept 2019. Photo Taylor Main

New Brunswick

Grilse in full spawning colour, 27 Sept. on the Nepisiguit River. Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Nathan Wilbur
, ASF Director of New Brunswick Programs says:

There’s no nicer time to be on an NB salmon river than right now and for the next couple weeks.

The leaves are changing and fall rains have brought most rivers to good levels – both for fishing and for fish to move upriver.

I spent the weekend on the Nepisiguit and talked to many folks up and down the river.

Although there are summer run fish around (with beautiful spawning colours), people have not seen any number of fish entering the river.

Pabineau First Nation runs the counting fence and has been putting through just a handful of salmon and grilse each day. This is traditionally a good fall run river, so we are all expecting the fish to come in soon, perhaps with the big tides on the new moon.

It is a special thing to catch a chrome bright salmon in October. The season is open until October 22 on the Nepisiguit, offering a week extension compared to the Miramichi season.
Bob Baker fishing on the Nepisiguit River. Nathan Wilbur/ASF
Nepisiguit River on 27 Sept. 2019. Nathan Wilbur/ASF
Renous and Dungarvon

Brock Curtis, of Curtis Miramichi Outfitters, notes:

I spent last week at the cabin exploring and fishing the upper stretches of the Renous and Dungarvon to the Narrows on each river. Absolutely beautiful up there. A great experience.

We didn't see a lot of salmon that far up but they are in the lower sections of the rivers. We have been talking to anglers who had success on the lower stretches of all the tributaries. A couple of anglers mentioned Monday they had seen large numbers of salmon well below the head of the tidewaters on the Main Southwest Miramichi. Conditions are good and we can expect larger numbers of salmon moving into the system any day now. It just feels right.

Anglers feel there is a steady trickle of small numbers of salmon moving upriver. Some are enjoying good catches while others are fishing hard and not having the same success. Fall salmon patterns are starting to pick up a few fish. We should hear of larger Fall runs soon.

Beautiful forest colours at the end of September on the Dungarvon River. Photo Brock Curtis
Counting Fences

The Dungarvon Fence, an indicator of numbers in the Southwest Miramichi, has had 101 grilse and 77 large salmon to Sept. 29, compared with 87 grilse and 60 large salmon to the same date in 2018.

The Northwest Miramichi Barrier to Sept. 29 had 145 grilse and 52 large salmon, compared with 98 grilse and 107 large salmon in 2018.
Dungarvon River. Photo Brock Curtis


Electrofishing a few weeks ago below Coopers Mills Dam on the Sheepscot River. Photo: Jen Noll
Maranda Nemeth says:

Our observations were that despite the last few drought years, it seems that the parr cohort is seemingly present at higher densities than expected by biologists. Also, one of our sites was in close proximity to wild redds from last fall and the juveniles are present at fairly high relative abundances.
Measuring parr during the electrofishing program in the Sheepscot River. The parr recover and are released. Photo Jen Noll

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