Matt Szeto deliberating riverside | Photo: Tim Myers
Frosty mornings have arrived and with them that telltale musky-sweet fragrance of autumn. I was fortunate to sneak up to the Margaree for a few flicks earlier this week and when not in the sun, the cold water and wind made an extra few layers a necessity. The fall colours have not yet peaked but are close. It's a glorious time to be on the river.
In speaking with the regulars, the hurricane dramatically changed several pools so be cautious when wading. The lower river is clearing but remained cloudy mid-week. Myself and my fishing partner both hooked up but subsequently lost our fish after some agressive head shakes.
Many throughout Atlantic Canada are reporting success thus far this month. Be sure to send your season finale photos and stories to us before October 31st for a chance to be featured (firstname.lastname@example.org) in our final blog on November 3rd.
Wishing everyone a safe and fun fall. Tight lines!
Un très gros géniteur de la York contribuera à la pérennité de l'espèce grâce à Simon Turcotte | Photo: Nicolas Boucher | Very large salmon was released on the York River last week by Simon Turcotte.
Charles Cusson, Directeur québécois, écrit:
Le 30 septembre dernier a marqué la fin de la saison 2022. Une saison d’extrême, situation d’étiage prolonger à partir de la 3e semaine de juillet jusqu’à la mi-septembre. En règle générale, la plupart des rivières ont signalé une baisse d’abondance des madeleineaux, une hausse importante au niveau des saumons ainsi qu’un achalandage de pêcheurs accru.
Pour l’instant, les débits sont encore un peu élevés et auront l’effet de retarder les décomptes de fin de saison.
Les données de 2022 dans ce compte rendu sont de nature préliminaire en attendant la publication du bilan saumon 2022 par le MFFP (ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs) qui sera disponible en février ou mars 2023.
En terminant, je remercie les saumoniers qui ont voulu partager leurs expériences de pêche par le biais des photos de leurs saumons remis à l’eau et les rivières qu’ils et elles ont visités. Vous avez contribué de façon importante au succès de notre blogue.
Au plaisir de se rencontrer le long d’une rivière en 2023.
2022 End of Season In-River Counts
Charles Cusson, Director of Quebec Programs, writes:
The season ended on Friday, September 30th. Mother Nature brought rain to the Gaspé and lower St-Lawrence regions during the final two weeks of the season which should help maintain levels into the spawning periods. It’s been a season where angling conditions were great in June through to mid-July. The conditions translated into great angling.
In general terms, river managers have reported less abundance of grilse, and a healthy increase in the number of salmon; as well as an uptick in the number of rod days sold.
For the time being, end of season in-river counts is not completed yet on some rivers.
The 2022 figures presented today are based on preliminary numbers provided by river managers and comparative (2011-2021) data sourced from the annual MFFP (Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks) salmon reports. The official data will be available in February or March of 2023.
I’d like to thank all anglers who agreed to share their fishing experiences by submitting photos of the fish they released and the rivers they traveled to. Your contributions are an important part of making our weekly “River Notes” successful.
Here’s to meeting along a river in 2023.
Claudel Francoeur a la fosse Montagnard de la Rivière York | Photo: Nicole Boutin | Late season salmon released by Claudel Francoeur on the York River
Le Saumon Au Scellé 151 Gardera ses Secrets
Le 25 juin dernier, une pêcheuse du secteur Glen Emma remettait à l’eau un splendide saumon muni d’un émetteur. Nous faisions alors connaissance avec Saumon scellé numéro 151 ! Ce dernier a été muni d’un appareil de suivi en septembre 2021 au Groenland par l’équipe de chercheurs de la Fédération pour le saumon atlantique. L’avis de recherche ensuite émis n’a pas permis de repérer Salmo 151 et de récupérer l’émetteur qui aurait pu dévoiler les données de son voyage. Il fut néanmoins preuve du long périple du saumon jusqu'en rivière.
En sa voir plus.
Salmon #151 Remains A Mystery
An angler fishing the Glen Emma sector of the Matapedia, landed a salmon on June 25th which still had a research satellite tag attached to it. The tag was installed off the coast of west Greenland in September 2021 by the ASF research team. An effort was made to inform anglers and residents about #151 and the hope of recovering the data stored within. Unfortunately, the salmon was never seen again.
More about this project.
Joe Coletta releases a late season salmon on the Petite Cascapédia | Photo: John Wemekamp | Un saumon de fin de saison remis à l'eau par Joe Coletta sur la Petite-Cascapédia.
Gifts shared riverside from a generous master tier | Photo: Iris Ciecko
Iris and Rudy Ciecko have been making their annual pilgrimage to Cape Breton Island for over two decades. When I first met them, Rudy passed me what looked like a business card but on closer inspection I saw it was a perfectly tied hair wing, tucked neatly inside a small plastic bag. The card read 'A little gift to you, from a friend of the Margaree River'. Many of our readers are likely to have received a similar gift compliments of Rudy. His master ties are a most special addition to many fundraising events and any fly box.
After catching up with Iris and Rudy this week, Iris shared:
October on the Margaree River is doubly special — not only is the scenery outstanding but the salmon fishing is wonderful. We have been coming here for around twenty five years and it just gets better. The people that you meet from all over, as well as the locals make it magical. There’s no place like it.
What led Rudy here was a chance meeting on the Penobscot River in Maine. He had netted a salmon for an angler he had just met (that angler's first Atlantic) and they kindled a friendship. Rudy received an invite to the Margaree, and so it began.
When we are here, we try to fish a different pool each day. Right now the water is dropping and clearing up nicely. Hurricane Fiona wreaked havoc up here these past few weeks and the lower river became very clouded from Red Bank down. Currently (October 3rd) fish are being caught throughout the entire system. If you come, bring warm clothes as temperatures range from freezing to 60 degrees F. It’s the wind that makes it a challenge.
The Margaree is the only place that I know of where you can fish for Atlantic Salmon when you want, and with whom you want. No guides are required. Although, If it’s your first time I’d recommend getting one for a day. Personally, I highly recommend Robert Chiasson. And as they say: "Once you come here, your heart will never leave". Remember, it’s not the fish you catch, but rather the people you meet here.
Rudy Ciecko on the Margaree
Iris Ciecko | Photos: Iris Ciecko
Dylan MacCuspic releases an autumnal coloured salmon at Skye Lodge on the Margaree late last week | Photo: Andrew Lilly
Water levels are holding well on West River, Antigonish and East River, Pictou. Anglers are reporting large fish throughout both systems and are hopeful that the forecasted rain will not blow out the rivers, however it's highly likely with 50-100mm being called for in the region.
A fit fall salmon released in big water | Photo: Matt Dort
Angler reports indicates water levels on the Miramichi have dropped and temperatures cooled to 50F. Eddie Colford of Black Brook shared a photo of sea lice on a salmon released October 1st and Country Haven's guests have enjoyed much success.
Brad Burns noted yesterday:
Salmon are stretched out in the Cains from Salmon Brook on up, but with poor water conditions they are terribly stale and hard to catch. There is no rain forecast until the last three days of the season; that could be very interesting. The main river below the Cains is practically devoid of fish. Hopefully the full moon will bring in a little final push.
Brad shares his early October reports online at bradburnsfishing.com
Sea lice on Black Brook Atlantic | Photo: Eddie Colford
Southwest Miramichi | Photo: Nathan Wilbur
Salmonid Inventory at Containment/Counting Fence Sites
DNR's reports up to October 2nd, 2022 may be found below:
Nashwaak in full colour | Photo: Nathan Wilbur
Prince Edward Island
Hurricane Fiona Fall-Out
Many on the Island continue to contend with power outages and limited internet connectivity. Taylor Main writes:
Eastern Queens and Kings counties on PEI were some of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Fiona in Atlantic Canada. As of October 3rd, 1 in 8 households in the province remain without electricity. The highest recorded windspeed that I have heard on PEI was 187km/h and the damage was indescribable. In addition to the expected loss of shingles and downed trees, many structures lost sheathing from their roofs, including one bungalow I saw that was stripped right down to its rafters. I also witnessed many large barns and silos lost and a number of mini-homes blown from their footings. Everywhere you go — city or the countryside — all you can hear is the distant sound of chainsaws and generators.
On the angling front we had a nice rise in water following the storm, with many locations blown out until late Monday afternoon. The fishing conditions throughout the province this week were perfect. Unfortunately, with it being early in October there are not yet salmon around in any number. I was hoping the sea trout fishing would be better but it seems that any fish stacked up before the storm, took full advantage of the high water and moved on.
It could prove to be a long and frustrating fall as the rivers are chockfull with trees. The Morell River is particularly bad, with a combination of over mature trees consisting primarily of red maple, white spruce and poplar shallowly rooted in the riparian zone due to a 50 year ban on harvesting to protect the watershed. It's unclear how the local watershed group is going to clear the many blockages and access points to the river. Many popular pools are either choked with trees or totally inaccessible. The landscape in many areas has been changed for a generation. With so many trees uprooted or snapped off, large tracks of land now resemble a clearcut. The damage is really something you must see firsthand — photos do not do it justice.
Damage to one section of the Morell River. Prior to Fiona, the far bank was mature spruce, red maple and fir hundreds of meters deep but now resembles a clearcut | Photo: Taylor Main
Salmon Wars Book Launch - October 13th, 2022
See eventbrite.ca for more information. We hope to see you there!
Join Mi'kmaw Conservation Group in honoring the life of the Plamu on Sunday, October 16th, 2022