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Rivernotes June 20th, 2024

by Tom Cheney, Director of Marketing

Editor’s Note

There’s lots going on in the salmon world this week.

In much of the region, water is low and air temperatures are high. Many rivers do need rain, but in some areas water temperatures and flows are favourable.

We’ve reached the longest days of the year, and it seems anglers are squeezing in every moment of it. This edition of Rivernotes has a very full report from Quebec, where many anglers are connecting with salmon. In New Brunswick, a few fishers have found those special Rocky Brook fish. And despite low, warm water in Maine, salmon there are successfully making their migration. We’ve also got full reports from Nova Scotia as well as Newfoundland and Labrador.

As always, don’t hesitate to share your stories and images with Rivernotes!

This week’s lead image shows the Bonaventure River in Quebec.

Newfoundland and Labrador

We open this week with a report from Kim Thompson, Program Director for Newfoundland and Labrador. She spent time with First Nations partners this week. She also reports some high water conditions on NL rivers, and some fishing success by a talented young angler. She writes:

“Last week Andrew Clarke, ASF Director of Conservation Campaigns, and I spent some time on the Gander River checking out the adult salmon counting fence operated by the Gander Bay Indian Band Council and their partners. Calvin Francis, of Gander River Ecosystem Corporation and Qalipu Councillor for the Gander Bay ward, is a wealth of knowledge and shares his passion and conservation efforts for wild Atlantic salmon with others. Communicating and sharing zeal about wild Atlantic salmon in the Gander River watershed is compelling as one listens to Roland Vivian, a Qalipu First Nation River Guardian who has also worked 30-plus years in the area and loves what he does so much that he’s out on the river checking on things even when he’s not working. Special thanks to Qalipu First Nation Glenwood ward councillor Francis Skeard for connecting us all.

Anglers are reporting high water conditions in central Newfoundland with good early fishing on the Terra Nova and Campbelltown Rivers. The west coast of the island has normal to low water conditions with the odd report of salmon being seen and caught on some rivers. June 15th marks the opening of the recreational salmon angling season in Labrador.

Colton Coles, a fly tier and avid angler from Lewisporte, caught his first salmon of the season on the Campbellton River and then another by the end of the weekend.”

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From left to right: Andrew Clarke (ASF), Roland Vivian (Qalipu First Nation River Guardian), Donna John (Qalipu First Nation River Guardian), Kim Thompson (ASF), Calvin Francis (Gander River Ecosystem Corporation), Frank Skeard (Qalipu First Nation Councillor) (l). Photo: Andrew Clarke. Colton Coles, a talented young angler from Lewisporte. (r).


Quebec Program Director Charles Cusson notes some low water levels in his region. Still, anglers are out on the water and connecting with bright salmon. (English text below).

“Les rivières telles la Mitis, Matane et à Mars (toutes dotées d’infrastructures de comptage) ont débuté leur saison de pêche sportive le samedi 15 juin. Les conditions d’eau basse sont la norme dans la plupart des régions saumon du Québec. De la pluie est prévue dans des zones stratégiques pour le weekend prochain, combinées aux marées plus hautes entourant la pleine lune de vendredi, nous espérons qu’elles amèneront une montaison accrue dans nos rivières.

Comme nous le savons tous, les conditions d’eau à faible débit se traduisent généralement par des températures plus élevées, ce qui rend les chances de connexion avec Salmo Salar encore plus difficiles. Si vous avez la chance de le faire, veillez à minimiser la durée du combat avec votre saumon.
Darlene Sexton de la Société Sipuminu partage le fait que « la pêche sportive reprend un peu malgré les conditions d’eaux et les pluies prévues pour ce weekend sans doute aideront ».

Comme lors du début de la saison 2023, le bar rayé est présent dans certains secteurs tels que la Matapédia et la Cascapédia.

Nous aimons recevoir chaque semaine des photos et des commentaires de pêcheurs que nous pouvons partager dans notre blogue. N’hésitez pas de me joindre au

À la semaine prochaine. Tight Lines!

Featured image
Member and donor Jim Budelman, of Ennis, Montana, with a beautiful Atlantic salmon on the Petit Cascapedia.

“Rivers such as the Mitis, Matane and à Mars (all have counting infrastructure) started their angling seasons as of Saturday June 15th. Low water conditions are the norm in most of Quebec salmon regions. Rain is being forecasted in strategic areas this coming weekend, combined with the higher tides around Friday’s full moon will hopefully bring some new fish into our rivers.

As we all know, low water usually translates into higher temperatures, which makes the chances of connecting with salmo salar that much harder. If you are lucky enough to do so, please make sure to minimize the time your salmon is on the line.

Darlene Sexton of the Sipuminu Society is reporting that “angling is picking up a bit despite the low water, and the forecasted rain for this weekend will help.”

As during the start of the 2023 season, striped bass have been present in certain areas such as the Matapedia and the Cascapedia.

We enjoy receiving photos and comments from anglers each week we can share in river notes. My email is

Pray for rain and Tight Lines!”

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ASF National Council member Jonas Clarke with a salmon on the Bonaventure River (l). A salmon hooked by Dan Greenberg on the Bonaventure River (r). Photo: Dan Greenberg.

Over the weekend I headed north with some friends to explore new water on the Bonaventure River. Over two full days we investigated nearly every pool on the C and D sectors. We encountered many other enthusiastic anglers, many of whom had seen or hooked fish. There was consensus that salmon were on the move—not holding for very long in any one spot—which did make connecting a bit of a challenge. That, of course, is part of the allure of June fishing.

On Saturday evening we ran into ASF Directors Tracey and C.D. Clarke, who had just run a stretch of the river with ASF’s Nathan Wilbur. They reported one salmon landed and a great day on the water.

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ASF Director Tracey Clarke on the Bonaventure River (l). C.D. and Tracey Clarke—and canine companion—on the Bonaventure River (r). Photos: Nathan Wilbur.
Featured image
The Bonaventure River. Photo: Tom Cheney.


Salmon rivers at the southern end of the range are really feeling the warm temperatures this week. Nonetheless, we’ve got some good news from Maine.

Jason Valliere, with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), reports from the Penobscot:

“Salmon catch has remained strong. We are up to 928 estimated salmon returns to the Penobscot thus far. We exceeded the 10,000 mark for shad, making this the third highest shad year on record. River herring numbers are on par with last year.”

Meanwhile, DMR’s Colby Bruchs notes the first salmon on the Narraguagus:

“We are finally on the board in 2024! We captured a bright, naturally-reared multi-sea winter female salmon on June 14th! In addition, we captured 93 shad since last update [for a season total of 525]. River herring are still entering the river. River temperature is around 20-22°C. Discharge remains very low, approaching ~100 cubic feet/sec.”

And finally, Jennifer Noll, also of DMR, offers the following from the Kennebec:

“As river herring have been finalizing this leg of their migration, Atlantic salmon have been arriving steadily, as have American shad. The Lockwood fish lift, located in Waterville, ME at the first dam on the mainstem Kennebec River, opened on May 1st for the 2024 season. The first Atlantic salmon of the season showed up on May 23rd. Thirty-six new Atlantic salmon have been captured to date, including five that have experienced 3 sea winters! The water temperature has risen since last week and its currently 21°C.”

New Brunswick

On the Miramichi River, guide Ian Cavanagh is reporting some action:

“For close to two weeks now our guests have been chasing what locals call Rocky Brook salmon (the earliest fish coming into the system) and it is usually a hit-or-miss game although it comes with a spectacular reward for our anglers who are lucky enough to experience these fish. Some get just a tug, others a roll, and some are lucky enough to hook up, but it has so much to do with being in the right place at the right time with these salmon who are in a hurry to get upriver to their spawning area in Rocky Brook. These early June fish swim great distances each day no matter what the river conditions are and they are bright and beautiful with small heads and big shoulders.

Usually after this early Rocky Brook run, there is a bit of a lull in action until the summer run really begins in earnest and that seems to be where we are right now. But we expect this to change any day now and it will probably coincide with the full moon and high tides that will occur on June 21st. Then again, so much will depend on the river conditions, in terms of water levels and water temperatures. With a mini heatwave in the forecast for later this week, we are hoping that it is a brief event and that it will be followed by cooler temperatures and some rain, which is forecasted for the following week. Fingers crossed that all works out in favour of both the salmon and the anglers and that the last week of June and early July will see some decent fishing!”

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Harold Berry, of South Bristol, Maine, releases a salmon on the lower Southwest Miramichi. Photo: Colby Donovan

Nova Scotia

Rounding out this week’s Rivernotes, we’ve got a full report from Deirdre Green in Nova Scotia.

“The Margaree Salmon Association (MSA) and volunteer anglers are helping Dalhousie University Master’s student Josh Roland to tag adult Atlantic salmon this season. Under the Canada Nature Fund, Josh and his team are investigating the distribution of spawning Atlantic salmon in the Northeast Margaree River and working to understand the importance of the Cape Breton Highlands habitat in the protected area.

All are welcome to volunteer fish to the study. Salmon are kept in water and a radio tag will be attached to help track their journey to the highlands. Any participating angler must have a NS salmon license, follow provincial regulations, and fall into normal pool rotation amongst recreational anglers. Fish caught will be transferred to an in-water crate for tagging. All fish handling will be conducted in compliance with the required DFO permits (Section 52) and the Dalhousie University institutional animal care approval. The fish will be promptly released, and their movements tracked.

With lower-than-normal water levels for the month of June, no Atlantic salmon have been caught by the team. On the next good rain, I encourage all anglers who cross paths with the researchers to assist. You can do this by sharing knowledge on any salmon you have observed in the system, and, by allowing them to tag and release any Atlantic salmon you may hook. Josh will provide an update to Rivernotes on how the salmon have moved after they are tracked this autumn before they spawn.

To learn more about the project and other aquatic animal tracking research, be sure to follow @lennoxlab on Instagram today.”

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Josh Roland, MSC Student, Dalhousie University.

Deirdre continues:

“I was thrilled to participate in Kristen Cyr’s “Risky Refugia” workshop last week, hosted by the Margaree Salmon Association, focusing on the effects of smallmouth bass on thermal refugia use by juvenile Atlantic salmon.

Last year, smallmouth bass were observed at the Forks and Northeast Margaree and this season they have already been observed in the Southwest Margaree. Kristen’s team has several ideas for measuring Atlantic salmon fitness under different stressors in the Southwest Margaree and have been working with local partners to identify key sampling sites in the Northeast Margaree to model future projections of changes in salmon habitat under rising temperatures and increased distribution of Smallmouth bass. All those interested in volunteering to help with this important project may contact”

As well, Deirdre notes the upcoming salmon ceremony, hosted by the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) on June 26th.

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Kristen Cyr’s "Risky Refugia" workshop hosted at the Margaree Salmon Association’s office last week. There was an excellent turnout and MSA’s Greg Lovely commented on how nice it was to see a young, enthusiastic group at the session. Photo: Deirdre Green.