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Rivernotes June 13th 2024

by Tom Cheney, Director of Marketing

Editor’s Note

Many rivers in Atlantic salmon country need rain this week, and anglers are faced with unseasonably low water conditions. Nonetheless, plenty of salmon fishers have been out enjoying time on the river and some of them have been rewarded. Whether or not the fish are taking, June is a magical time to be on the water.

In this week’s Rivernotes we have more reports of bright fish hooked in Quebec, the Governor General of Canada visits the Miramichi River, our first report of the fresh salmon hooked in Nova Scotia, and great conservation updates from Newfoundland and Labrador.

In this week’s lead image, taken by ASF Vice-President of Regional Programs Nathan Wilbur, Toby Gow casts on the Margaree River in Nova Scotia.


Charles Cusson, Program Director for Quebec, has plenty to report from his region. Charles writes:

“La saison 2024 est encore à ses débuts; la plupart des rivières témoignent de migrations hâtives (au moins 2 semaines) de saumons et des niveaux et débits d’eau exceptionnellement bas. Dame Nature a amélioré la situation avec de la pluie dans certaines régions, mais elle lui reste encore du travail à faire.

La Zec Bonaventure lancera une nouvelle initiative permettant aux guides de s’identifier lors de leurs déplacements sur la rivière. Tous les guides travaillant pour une pourvoirie porteront un brassard blanc et les guides indépendants porteront un brassard noir. Les guides munis de brassards sont certifiés en premiers soins et ont un téléphone satellite à leurs dispositions.

Le premier saumon à franchir la passe migratoire de la rivière Matane a été dénombré le 8 juin et à ce jour, un total de 9 saumons a été comptés.

Audrey Ringuette, membre du conseil d’administration de l’APRM (Association de Protection de la Rivière Moisie) à partager : « 15 saumons ont été relâchés depuis le début de la saison le 25 mai et le débit d’eau actuel est très bon ». Le premier saumon de la saison sur la rivière aux Rochers a été débarqué et relâché par Maxime Bélanger. Le nombre de capture dans les cours d’eau du Bas-Saint-Laurent comme la Matapédia augmente tranquillement depuis le 9 juin et la Causapscal semble avoir une montaison particulièrement bonne de saumon ayant passé 3 ans en mer et les 2 ans de mer ont commencé a se manifester depuis vendredi dernier.

Tight Lines !


It is still early into the 2024 season; most rivers are bearing witness to early migrations (at least 2 weeks) of salmon and exceptionally low water levels and flows. Nature has helped with rain in some areas but still has work to do.

The Bonaventure Zec will introduce a new initiative for guides to identify themselves while on the river. All guides working for an outfitter will be wearing a white armband and independent guides will be wearing a black armband. Guides with armbands are certified in first aid and carry a satellite phone.

The first salmon to swim through the Matane River fishway was counted on the 8th of June and to date a total of 9 salmon have been counted.

Audrey Ringuette, member of the APRM (Moisie River Protection Association) board shared “15 salmon have been released since the beginning of the season started on May 25th and the current water flow is very good.” The first salmon of the season on the aux Rochers River was landed and released by Maxime Bélanger. The number of fish being landed on lower St. Lawrence rivers such as the Matapedia has started to pick up and the Causapscal seems to be having a particularly good run of early 3-sea winter fish with 2-sea winter fish migrating upstream since last Friday.

Tight Lines!”

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Premier saumon de la Matane. First Matane salmon. Photo: Zec Matane. (l) Premier saumon de la riviere aux Rocher, 9 juin. First aux Rochers River salmon of 2024, June-9. (r) Photo: Maxime Belanger.

New Brunswick

Last Thursday, Canada’s Governor General, Mary Simon, visited Natoaganeg First Nation with her husband, Whit Fraser. Representatives from the North Shore Mi’kmaq Tribal Council, Anqotum Resource Management, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation spoke to the Governor General on issues facing Plamu (Atlantic salmon). In his presentation, ASF President Bill Taylor emphasized the severe toll that overabundant striped bass are taking on wild salmon in the Miramichi River. Read the full press release here.

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Bill Taylor presents to Governor General Mary Simon on striped bass and Atlantic salmon (l). Bill Taylor, Whit Fraser, and Mary Simon speak with commercial striped bass fisher Steve Ginnish about his catch (r). Photos: Tom Cheney.

Nova Scotia

Anglers in Nova Scotia are reporting low water levels in the province. While a good drenching is in order, it hasn’t stopped anglers from enjoying some time on the water during this special time of year. ASF’s Deirdre Green and Nathan Wilbur are in Cape Breton, meeting with representatives from the Margaree Salmon Association. Nathan describes a river teeming with gaspereau, shad, trout, and mayfly hatches.

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The Margaree River (l). Toby Gow casting on the Margaree (r). Photos: Nathan Wilbur.

ASF’s Jordan Condon, Science Coordinator for the Wild Salmon Watersheds program, also reports from the Margaree River. He writes, “Chad Sanderson landed one of the first fresh fish (if not the first fish) on the Margaree on June 8th on the lower river. These stories come with a sense of excitement and instills eagerness in other anglers to get to the river for a crack at their first fish of the season. Well done Chad!”

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Chad Sanderson with a fresh Margaree salmon. Photo: Tristan Dickson.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador Program Director Kim Thompson reports on several initiatives in her region. She writes:

“This marks my second week on the job, connecting and reconnecting with people and organizations on the amazing work being done for wild Atlantic salmon in our province, with the added bonus of hearing the excitement building for the recreational angling season.

Twillick Brook, a tributary of Conne River, is getting some attention this year with the addition of a smolt counting fence thanks to the efforts of Miawpukek First Nation Natural Resources Director Ross Hinks and the Miawpukek First Nation with additional funding from the Indigenous Habitat Participation Program. For its first year of operation, over 9000 smolts were counted before the trap was removed to prepare for the upward migration and count of returning adults, for the third consecutive year.

For the second week of the recreation angling season in Newfoundland, there are reports of scattered salmon being caught on the Exploits River as water levels on most central rivers are high due to the amount of heavy and steady precipitation. Whereas the west coast of the Island and Northern Peninsula water levels are normal to low.”

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Gus Stride, Greg Coller, and Ross Hinks at the Twillick River adult salmon counting fence (l). The Conne River (r). Photos: Kim Thompson.

Wrapping up this Rivernotes edition is a report on the Wild Salmon Watershed smolt wheel initiative on Newfoundland’s Terra Nova River. ASF and FABEC staff have been hard at work for several weeks, gathering crucial smolt count data. Jordan Condon writes:

“The Wild Salmon Watershed program concluded its smolt wheel venture on the Terra Nova River in NL on June 7th. The daily checks and tagging routine were conducted by the Freshwater–Alexander Bays Ecosystem Corporation (FABEC) and ASF staff. The FABEC staff worked diligently to maintain and monitor the smolt wheel since May 6th and thanks to their hard work, this venture was a success. The final count included 1059 smolts caught, 807 tagged, and a recapture efficiency of 4%. From the beginning of deployment, the news surrounding the smolt wheel filled the local community with excitement and gained interest with local schools. Over 250 students from kindergarten to grade 12 visited the smolt wheel throughout the deployment duration. The students were provided a demonstration of the tagging process and explanation on why this research will be important moving forward with Atlantic salmon conservation on the Terra Nova River. The first chapter of the Wild Salmon Watershed program has had a successful kickoff with much more to come.”

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Aaron Rideout and Devon House (FABEC) carrying out a routine smolt wheel check on the Terra Nova River. Photo: Jordan Condon.