Subscribe & stay up-to-date with ASF


Rivernotes July 4th, 2024

by Tom Cheney, Director of Marketing

Editor’s Note

The last days of June brought some much needed rain to many salmon rivers, putting the month of July off to a strong start. This week’s edition has two great stories from New Brunswick’s Upsalquitch River, a unique veteran’s event in Cape Breton, optimistic run counts and angling reports from Newfoundland and Labrador, and a special report from the ASJ‘s Martin Silverstone, who is in the field in Quebec.

This week we received more reader-submitted pictures than we were able to publish! We’re sorry if your image wasn’t chosen, but please, don’t stop sending them! Submit your report, story, or a great picture here, or to

Credit for this week’s stunning lead image goes to Ben Carmichael.

New Brunswick

Nathan Wilbur, Vice-President of Regional Programs, was on the Upsalquitch this week and shares a story about a very special salmon. He writes:

“Last week we received the rain and cooler temperatures that we—and the salmon—so desperately needed after dry months of May and June. Water conditions over the Canada Day weekend were optimal in central and northern New Brunswick, and salmon aren’t missing their chance to move upriver in the nice cool water. Anglers have been reporting much improved fishing over the past week.

Every salmon angler remembers their first salmon. For some, it was as a kid, while others may have discovered the lure of a salmon river later in life. For most, the first fish didn’t come easy. My mother started salmon fishing 5 years ago and has been working away at her casting and trying to find that first salmon. We shared a special experience together on the Upsalquitch River over the Canada Day weekend, where she successfully hooked, played, and landed her very first Atlantic salmon. We were awfully happy campers the rest of the long weekend, and enjoyed the adventure that always comes with a New Brunswick crown reserve trip.”

First image
Second image
Perfect water conditions on the Upsalquitch (l). Jayne Wilbur releases her first Atlantic salmon (r). Photos: Nathan Wilbur.

ASF’s Senior Scientist Jon Carr also had a great time on the Upsalquitch. He writes:

“I had my first experience on New Brunswick Crown Reserve waters from June 26-28. The Northwest Upsalquitch stretch proved to be a visual gem from the back country drive to the river stretch. The well-maintained campsite was situated just a few hundred meters below the 10-Mile Pool barrier fence maintained and operated by the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council (RRWMC). The fence is used to hold and protect salmon in a large pool over the course of the season. It is comforting to know that there is round the clock protection for these fish throughout the summer months. The RRWMC have a pump on site to infuse the pool with cool spring water if needed, providing salmon with a luxury resort of sorts while they await the ‘gates’ to open in the autumn so they can access spawning grounds in the upper river reaches. This is a site worth visiting if you get the chance.

Upon our arrival at the upper campsite, the water levels were extremely low. We had heard from the group who fished the same stretch a few days prior that their canoes had to be dragged through many of river reaches due to low water levels. We opted not to run the canoes but to remain near the campsite and fish the pools and a run accessible by foot. We were not disappointed. A spate of rain during our time increased the water levels by about 15 centimeters and lowered morning water temperatures from 17 to near perfect 14 degrees Celsius. This prompted salmon to get on the move! We observed several salmon in the pool closest to our campsite and had several pulls and raises over the course of the next two days. Two members of our group successfully landed and released two MSW salmon with a couple others hooked and lost. It was a wonderful experience, and I would recommend this jewel of a river to any fishers or nature enthusiasts alike. Worth going back!”

First image
Second image
Jerry Carr, Jon Carr and Geoff Giffin around the campfire (l). Geoff Giffin nets a salmon for Barry Carr (r). Photos: Jon Carr.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Program Director Deirdre Green reports on several events in her region:

“With the recent bump in rain there has been the odd fish hooked on Cape Breton rivers over the long weekend, however, the main run has not begun in earnest. While there is not much rain in the short-term forecast, we know that this can change overnight.

The Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) hosted a special Salmon Ceremony last week in the Margaree. Close to 200 people from throughout Mi’kma’ki gathered to honour Danny J. Paul and his extensive work with UINR. A delicious feast followed that included three beautifully prepared Atlantic salmon, which were sourced from Eel River Bar First Nation due to low water conditions on the Margaree River.

The Nova Scotia Salmon Association’s AGM was well attended both in-person and virtually. DFO’s Martha Robertson presented on the ESRF Tagging Project. Congratulations to the Inverness South Anglers Association (ISAA) for being awarded Affiliate of the Year and NSSA Treasurer, David Greenwood who was presented The Dave Symonds Award for their outstanding and ongoing contributions to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon in Nova Scotia.

The Cheticamp River Salmon Association (CRSA) and Parks Canada met this week to tour several successful restoration sites on the Cheticamp River within the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It was a great day of sharing and learning for all involved.”

Featured image
Cheticamp River Salmon Association and the Parks Canada team. Photo: Deirdre Green.

Jonny McCulloch reports on a recent “Heroes Mending on the Fly” event in Cape Breton:

“As the light from the summer solstice touched the Margaree Valley, 26 veterans and first responders descended on the river for the Nova Scotia Chapter’s 6th instalment of Heroes Mending on the Fly Canada (HMFC), a program designed to teach the art of fly tying and fly fishing as a form of nature therapy for physical/mental wounds suffered from service. Although angling conditions were far from favourable, participants enjoyed the beauty of the Margaree and learned about the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon, best practices for live release, fly tying and casting. Although no Atlantic salmon were landed, beautiful Speckled and Brown trout were active chasing both streamer and dry fly.

The program spans the entire year with fly-tying sessions kicking off in January, a casting clinic hosted by volunteer instructors, Lewis Hinks and Rene Aucoin and personalized instruction on the water from long-time friend of the program and volunteer guide, Paddy Poirier. The Margaree Salmon Museum even arranged a private viewing so the participants could learn about the history of the river and community’s rich connection to Atlantic salmon.

Throughout the week, participants shared experiences relating to their service, forged new friendships, and immersed themselves in nature, all while slowing down to focus on mastering a new skill. We look forward to our next event and welcome new volunteers and donations.”

Newfoundland and Labrador

Kim Thompson, Program Director for Newfoundland and Labrador, reports:

“So far this season, early return numbers on the rivers are very favorable as per the Fisheries and Oceans fishway counts for the region, with numbers this week reported for the rivers in Labrador.

From Labrador, Dwight Lethbridge of Pratt Falls Salmon Lodge on Eagle River exclaims ‘we are in the thick of the season and I have to say, the early fishing has been excellent!’ Air temperatures in the single digits and frost have brought the Eagle River to a cold and crisp 13C (56F). With the rain on Thursday, the river has shot up by over a foot and rising, all much needed. There are grilse in the river but still mostly large fish. Reports of seeing several fish in the 15-16lb range, but no real huge fish yet this season.

Thanks to the ongoing efforts from the Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland (SPAWN), it’s volunteers, the Corner Brook Stream Association, the City of Corner Brook and partners, the lower fishway passage on the Corner Brook Stream recently had debris cleared that was clogging a culvert. This is the first step in several that SPAWN are working on to improve the Corner Brook fishway passage that is located right in the heart of the city with hopes to provide an educational experience for the public on the importance of salmon habitat and conservation measures.

Up the Northern Peninsula, the Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre in Hawke’s Bay is open for the season and on Thursday, July 18th they are hosting an Annual Youth Fly Tying Event with Paul White and Cash Canning. Visit their Facebook page for more details and events.”

First image
Second image
A happy angler, ready to release one of the several large fish (l). Photo: R. Barkhouse. SPAWN members John McCarthy and Kastine Coleman checking on the great work recently done to assist fish passage (r). Photo: Kim Thompson.


This week we have a special report from the field. ASJ Editor Martin Silverstone and Quebec Program Director Charles Cusson are off the beaten track. Martin reports:

“Good morning from the (very) lower north shore of Québec, St-Paul’s River. I am ‘on assignment’ this week with Charles Cusson, preparing a story on the Greenpoint Outfitters and how the local population is working to protect the river, its salmon and the surrounding environment.

Greenpoint Outfitters is a locally owned and run salmon camp on the St. Paul’s River. The summer salmon season offers both employment and recreation. Our first day in town, however, was spent visiting ‘the outside,’ what locals call the 100 island archipelago off the town’s the coastline. At a cottage on Esquimaux Island, the largest island in the archipelago, we were treated to a dinner of lobsters fresh from the ocean. Our hosts explained how fishing, be it angling or plying the surrounding waters for lobster, cod, and crab, is an important part of daily life for the ‘coasters’ here and all along the lower North Shore. As we enjoyed a post dinner cigar with our hosts, in the distance a large fishing boat circled in the bay. It was seining for capelin, an activity that worries many locals because the species serves as an important link in the food chain of the bay and the archipelago. The concern is that capelin are in decline and it will affect the marine ecosystem. Also, there are reports of many postsmolt salmon being killed in the by-catch.

Tomorrow, we head for the camp upriver and I am excited about hooking and releasing my first salmon of 2024. Fishing reports are optimistic, so stay tuned for a detailed report in an upcoming issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.”

First image
Second image
Maria Manion with a fine salmon on the Bonaventure River. Photos: Scott Thorpe.
First image
Second image
ASF Director Tracey Clarke fishing on the Bonaventure River—and also introducing her new puppy to the river life. Photos: Tracy Clarke.