Nathan Wilbur releasing a salmon on the Patapedia | Photo: Neil Damon
Reports indicate that rivers throughout Atlantic Canada are bustling with anglers seeking chrome. Many of them are having great luck connecting and excitedly sharing their "first of the season" stories riverside and on social media.
I recently returned from Cape Breton where the Margaree is dressed in vibrant summer hues of emerald and chartreuse, dotted with the intense purples and magentas of wild lupine. It was wonderful to venture out for a few quick evening flicks with my son, attend a most special salmon ceremony, and catch up with friends.
A few brook trout on the fly but no salar for us — yet! I cannot wait to share that treasured experience together, so I am eager to see what the forecasted rainstorms bring. Perhaps Lachlan will see his first Atlantic before he's nine months old.
Margaree Forks | Photo: Tim Myers
Charles Cusson, Director of Quebec Programs writes:
News from our rivers continues to be very encouraging as we are receiving many positive reports.
“The season has started off with a bang!! From Lorne Cottage all the way up to the E3 sector people are catching” exclaimed Darlene Sexton, general manager of the Cascapedia Society. “And mother nature continues to bless us with rain to keep levels and flows at a productive pace.”
Matapedia and Causapscal rivers
The CGRMP reports, as of June 19, that on the Matapédia 71 large salmon have been landed and released, compared to 30 cumulatively at the same date in 2021.
As for the Causapscal, 101 salmon are reported released (a record) and 35 harvested for a total of 136. On the same date in 2021, 28 salmon were harvested by anglers and 22 salmon released on for a total of 50.
As of June 19, river managers report 58 large salmon and 3 grilse have reached the capture trap. There are no captures to report currently.
The 2022 run comparison to date is ahead of the result recorded on the same date in 2021.
The first salmon crossed the fishway as soon as it opened on June 17. Watch video here!
Cumulatively as of June 19, 97 salmon were counted (95 large salmon and 2 grilse). 13 large salmon have been released to date.
Compared to the same date in 2021, 128 fish (124 large salmon and 4 grilse) had been counted through the fishway.
Currently, the available data is as of June 18th. In total, 63 large salmon have been released and 4 grilse harvested. Cumulatively, as of June 19th, 2021, 28 large salmon had been reported released by anglers.
The Bonaventure is traditionally the river which sells the most rod-days in Quebec. The blue/green waters of this extraordinary river and its salmon has conservations issues that need solutions.
Quebec reflects on the sharing of salmon rivers| Radio-Canada.ca
Cime Aventures deplores the closure of the Malin beach | Radio-Canada.ca
The fishway began operations on June 15, the first salmon migrated through on June 18.
As of June 18, 2022, according to the APRM (Moisie River Protection Association), 45 salmon had been landed which includes 14 recorded releases. In comparison, for the entire 2021 season, 35 salmon were landed.
The season, which began on June 15th is performing very well like other rivers of the lower St. Lawrence region. As of June 19th, 35 large salmon have been landed and released by anglers.
York, Dartmouth, and St-Jean Rivers
This extremely popular trio of rivers is also having a spectacular start to the season.
As of June 14, for the season, the Gaspé Zec is reporting good angling. On the York anglers have released 110 salmon, on the Dartmouth 33 salmon, and on the Saint-Jean 18 salmon.
Le pêcheur pensait bien avoir un saumon sur la ligne lorsqu’un arc-en-ciel spectaculaire au-dessus de la rivière Moisie est apparu | Photo: Martin Silverstone | A Moisie River rainbow frames an angler who thought there would be “silver” on the fly after the rain.
Joé Champagne remet à l’eau un beau saumon de la rivière York à la fosse Cuve. | Photo: Yannick Bouchard | A beautiful salmon is released by Joé Champagne at the “Cuve” pool on the York river.
Charles Cusson, Directeur québécois - Échos des rivières pour le 23 juin 2022:
Nous vivons un début de saison très encourageant avec des débits d’eau propice pour la pêche et les saumons sont au rendez-vous sur la plupart des rivières.
« Tout un coup de tonnerre à ce jour ! Du secteur de Lorne Cottage jusqu’au secteur E3, les gens prennent du saumon ! » Darlene Sexton, directrice générale de la Société Cascapédia.
« Et dame nature continue d’être généreuse avec ses précipitations! »
Rivières Matapédia et Causapscal
La CGRMP indique, en date du 19 juin, sur la Matapédia, 71 grands saumons ont été graciés par rapport à 30 à pareille date en 2021.
Du côté de la Causapscal, 101 saumons ont été graciés (un record de tous les temps) et 35 récoltés pour un total de 136. 28 saumons furent récoltés et 22 saumons graciés à la même date en 2021 pour un total de 50. La saison se termine le 15 juillet prochain.
En date du 19 juin, les gestionnaires de la rivière nous font part que 58 grands saumons et 3 madeleineaux ont franchi le piège de capture. Il n’y a pas de capture signaler pour l’instant.
Le comparatif de montaison de 2022 à ce jour est en avant du résultat enregistré à la même date en 2021.
Les premiers saumons ont franchi la passe migratoire dès l’ouverture le 17 juin dernier.
Regarder la vidéo ici
Cumulativement en date du 19 juin, 97 saumons furent dénombrés (95 grands saumons et 2 madeleineaux). 13 grands saumons ont été graciés.
Comparativement à la même date en 2021, 128 poissons (124 grands saumons et 4 madeleineaux) avaient été dénombrés.
Présentement, les données disponibles sont en date du 18 juin. Au total, 63 grands saumons ont été graciés et 4 madeleineaux récoltés. Au 19 juin 2021, 28 remises à l’eau de grand saumon étaient enregistrées.
La Bonaventure est traditionnellement la rivière qui se vend le plus de jours pêche au Québec. Les eaux turquoise de cette rivière extraordinaire et ses saumons font face à des défis de conservations qui nécessitent des solutions.
Québec réfléchit au partage des rivières à saumon | Radio-Canada
Cime Aventures déplore la fermeture de la plage du Malin | Radio-Canada
La passe migratoire a débuté ses opérations le 15 juin, le premier saumon a été dénombré le 18.
En date du 18 juin 2022, selon l’APRM, 45 saumons avaient été capturés sur la rivière Moisie, dont 14 remises à l’eau d’enregistrés. En comparaison, pour toute la saison 2021, 35 saumons ont été pêchés.
La saison, qui a débuté le 15 juin sur la Rimouski, se comporte très bien comme les autres rivières du bas St-Laurent. Au 19 juin, 35 grands saumons ont été graciés par les saumoniers.
Rivière York, Dartmouth et Saint-Jean
Ce trio de rivières très populaire connait également un début de saison spectaculaire.
Cumulativement au 14 juin, la Zec Gaspé nous fait part que les pêcheurs de la York ont graciés 110 saumons,33 sur la Dartmouth et 18 sur la Saint-Jean.
Rivière Bonaventure fosse Camp | Photo: Dan Greenberg | Double Camp pool Bonaventure River
Generations of salmon angling and conservation on the Restigouche River
Angler Stewart Bagnell shares his familial connection to these waters:
My recent trip began at Larry’s Gulch Lodge. My great-grandfather Allie Murray owned and managed Larry's Gulch for 20 years, from 1953 to 1973, before selling it to the Government of New Brunswick. Staying in a place and fishing waters with such a rich connection to my family made this an incredibly special trip. Allie would be so pleased with the excellent condition of the lodge today.
Allie and my grandfather, Bill Murray, headed the Restigouche Riparian Association. Bill worked tirelessly to push the catch and release movement and the use of barbless hooks on the Restigouche. Today, we see the wonderful benefits from these efforts.
Last week, the water level was high but dropped throughout my trip. Many anglers were able to intercept 20 and 30 pound salmon moving up river in the high water. Shortly after my visit to Larry's Gulch, I had the opportunity to fish at the Kedgwick Lodge - just a short distance up river from Larry’s. On my first evening there, I was fortunate to hook and release two beautiful, fresh-run Atlantic salmon.
I am extremely proud to be part of another generation of my family to hook and release Atlantic salmon on the banks of the Restigouche River. A tradition I hope continues for years to come.
Stewart Bagnell with a 15-lb Restigouche salmon at the Barn Pool, at the junction of the Restigouche and Kedgwick rivers | Photo: Stewart Bagnell
20-lb caught again at the Barn Pool | Photo: Stewart Bagnell
Executive Director of Regional Programs, Nathan Wilbur writes:
What a wonderful month of June so far on the rivers!
It appears to be an excellent start to the season in some areas of New Brunswick and Quebec with nice high, cold water conditions and anglers connecting with bright fish. It’s still early yet, but we all hope this continues and fish continue to stream into the rivers. Rains throughout June in northern New Brunswick and the Gaspé region made for high water conditions through mid-June. Hopefully this carries us well into July, keeping our rivers cool for salar.
The Jacquet River, a beautiful little river nestled between the Miramichi and Restigouche, has had its counting fence installed and operational. The fence is run by the town of Belledune. It typically receives the majority of the run in the fall; however, with the great June water, we might see a higher proportion of the run come in early.
Counting fence on the Jacquet River run by the town of Belledune | 17 June 2022 | Photo: Nathan Wilbur
ASF Canada Director Matt Ramsay releases a large Atlantic on the Restigouche | 20 June 2022 | Photo: Nathan Wilbur
Neil Damon on the Patapedia | Photo: Nathan Wilbur
Cheticamp River Salmon Association summer student Aaron Krick writes:
We’ve had good river conditions so far in Cape Breton, with promising early returns of salmon.
The Cheticamp River Salmon Association (CRSA) is continuing its annual water temperature study, and is installing temperature loggers this week at key locations from the estuary to Cheticamp Lake. This provides us with temperature profiles of the river during the summer months, including cold water refuges which juvenile salmon and trout may utilize during low flow and warm water conditions.
We welcome anyone interested in the CRSA’s work and future projects to become a member by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
CRSA and DFO installing temperature loggers at Cheticamp Lake | Photo: Aaron Krick
Cheticamp Atlantic salmon | Photo: Aaron Krick
Sackville River Association Coordinator, Damon Conrad shares:
Our fishway past the falls at Hefler's Lumber Mill incorporates a cage where migrating fish are temporarily trapped for counting. The ladder is checked daily for Atlantic salmon (May-November). Our current salmon count at the fishway trap is 7 1SW and 2 MSW, but with high water we are likely counting fewer salmon at the trap as they are free to jump the falls and bypass our counting facility.
The photos above show the fishway during the Sackville River Association's public facility tour in May, and one of the recent Atlantic salmon at the trap | Photos: Damon Conrad
From the Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) on 21 June 2022:
Happy National Indigenous Peoples' Day!
Wela’lioq for participating in today’s Salmon Ceremony. It was truly a blessing of a day.
We honoured our shared relationships with Plamu, we acknowledged the 40th anniversary of the Margaree Salmon Association, we feasted, and Paul Daniel shared ceremony with us on the beautiful banks of the Margaree River.
A special wela’lioq to our fishers who gifted us two beautiful Plamu for the feast, and for all who contributed to the day.
Bill Haley, President of the Margaree Salmon Association (MSA) also comments:
A very special and well attended celebration was held on June 21st at the Margaree Salmon Hatchery in Cape Breton. It was sponsored and coordinated by the Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) and both Lisa Young and Dr. Shelley Denny were speakers.
The day included individual smudging for all in attendance, a lunch of fresh caught Margaree Atlantic salmon and a tobacco/salmon bones return to the river ceremony.
There was also a special presentation of an original piece of artwork by Dr. Denny to the Margaree Salmon Association to acknowledge their 40th Anniversary and to recognize their conservation efforts to maintain & enhance the salmon population.
Paul Daniel & Darren Sylvester | Photo: UINR's Nadine Lefort
Paul Daniel & Darren Sylvester | Photo: UINR's Nadine Lefort
Salmon Ceremony | Photo: Bill Haley
Women's Fly Fishing Retreat
Last weekend fly fishing guide Gioia Usher hosted four women at Blackbird Retreat for an introduction to trout fishing on Middle River, Cape Breton Island. This retreat was designed to provide a safe and inclusive space for anglers of all abilities to learn the basics of fly fishing and to connect with other like-minded women.
Gioia offered participants an introduction to streamers and dry flies, as well as casting instruction for both open and tight spaces. Blackbird Retreat provided comfortable accommodations and delicious meals were prepared by Camp Cook's Cache.
Two of the women who shared in the weekend had this to say:
"After the intro to fly fishing retreat for women this past weekend, I realized that being in waders in a river is my natural habitat. I loved the camaraderie of the women on the trip and very much enjoyed Gioia's guiding and instructions. She made learning a breeze (I have so much more to learn!). The accommodations at Blackbird Retreat were cosy and comfortable, and they were super friendly and entertaining. The food was crazy-good! It was a beautiful setting with great people and fantastic fishing." - Carol F.
"This was my first time participating in a women's guided fly fishing trip and it exceeded my expectations! It was also my first time visiting Cape Breton, let alone being guided through some of the most beautiful and picturesque roads and rivers. Along with all the other firsts, was fishing with a group of women who share my passion for the outdoors and fly fishing. I have never even met a woman on the river where I am from so it was simultaneously exciting, joyous and inspiring to meet women with the same affinities and to be guided by a knowledgeable angler such as Gioia. This weekend was the start of hopefully many days spent on the river with other angling women" - Melanie F.
Bravo Gioia for providing safe and inclusive spaces for women to be inspired. The time and care you devote to aiding others in developing their angling skills is greatly valued.
Be sure to check out Gioia's website and follow her on Instagram @metalandmayflies for future events and adventures.
Women's Fly Fishing Retreat | Middle River | Photos: Gioia Usher
Lower Mainstem Kennebec | Salmon updates by DMR's Jennifer Noll:
Temperatures have been remain relatively cool (~20°C) and flow has been low on the mainstem Kennebec this week (~5,000 cfs, between 25% percentile and median flows on this date, USGS current conditions). Atlantic salmon have been steadily arriving at the fishlift since 5/24.
To date, 54 Atlantic salmon have been caught and transported to the Sandy River. This year, returning multi sea-winter (MSW) adult salmon will be tagged with acoustic tags. The goal of this tagging study is to understand movement, ecology and habitat use by natural-origin and hatchery salmon, thermal refuge use, and identification of spawning habitat. So far 16 returning MSW salmon have been tagged and released in the Sandy River.
Lower Mainstem Kennebec | Stock enhancement & beach seine project updates by DMR's Craig King:
This past week there were 0 river herring and 0 shad trucked from the Lockwood Fishlift facility. To date there have been no American shad trucked from Lockwood and our trucked river herring numbers remain at 74,819.
Beavers and muskrats are continuing their shenanigans attempting to plug up fishways and downstream passages. Crews have been busy removing debris and ensuring post spawn adults have been able to get out. No juvenile samples of river herring have been collected yet, some small fry sized fish have been observed but they are too small to grab with a net.
Our crew has also been on the hunt for previously tagged fish with our portable hydrophone. Canoe trips on the Sebasticook and Kennebec rivers have not found tagged fish above Augusta, however we were able to locate some acoustic tagged sturgeon below Swan Island on the mainstem Kennebec. Further investigation will be done to determine where these fish were tagged.
Another part of our acoustic telemetry project is to try and track our native striped bass population in the greater Kennebec drainage. In years past we have put acoustic tags in fish that were believed to be over-wintering in the Kennebec drainage. Tracking these fish and their movements have allowed us some insight on their habits and made it easier to pin point where to target the native population. This past week we put 10 “T-bar” tags in striped bass that were too small to surgically tag. These tags allow anglers to contact us and give catch information when these fish are captured again.
Our annual beach seine projects are scheduled to start July 11th, so in our spare time we have been ensuring our equipment is ready to go for that.
DMR's Colby Bruchs wrote on June 21st: Four new salmon this week! We captured a pair of 2SW and two grilse; all naturally-reared. Cold nights of late have brought the river temperature down near 16 degrees. Discharge has fallen to ~140 CFS.
Narraguagus River Atlantic Salmon Count through to 21 June:
Season total: 9 (6 MSW and 3 grilse)
DMR's Jason Valliere wrote on June 17th: River temperature has warmed up. It hit 22.5C (72F) yesterday afternoon. Shad are still coming in good numbers. Salmon have slowed down some but are still coming steady about 20/day. Numbers can be found in graph below.
Don Ivany, Director of NL Programs reports:
John McCarthy, President of SPAWN, shared that in Bay St. George the southwest rivers continue to produce a few fish. On the Upper Humber at Big Falls in the Sir Richard Squires Park area fish are being hooked. The water levels were still high last week but dropping.
On the Northern Peninsula most rivers are still quite high and dropping slowly. On Main Brook in the Rodington area we are starting to see more fish and we should continue to see numbers increase in the coming weeks.
Southwest Brook | Photo: Don Ivany