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Rivernotes June 27th, 2024

by Tom Cheney, Director of Marketing

Editor’s Note

There’s lots of good news in this edition of Rivernotes. Many rivers have been in desperate need of rain, and this week they got what they needed. The good bump in water levels should bring in some fresh Atlantic salmon to our rivers and water conditions will likely be optimal going in to the weekend. Many anglers have been connecting with fish this week, and this issue is full of great accounts.

That makes it the right time for a reminder about the importance of live release practices. ASF is a member of Keep Fish Wet, a great resource for catch and release techniques and principles. For a summary of the best techniques, check out this card that we made recently. In Rivernotes, we’re always striving to show the ideal practices in our imagery. Remember to minimize air exposure and please don’t lift your fish out of the water for a picture.

This edition also has a special contribution from ASF President and CEO Bill Taylor. Bill was on an annual trip to Quebec and reports some great angling. Bill also speaks to negotiations between the province of Quebec and the Gesgapegiag Band on the Grande Cascapedia River.

Readers may have noticed that we’ve been featuring the regions in rotating order. It’s great to mix it up. However, last is never least. Make sure to read the New Brunswick section, where ASF’s Neville Crabbe chronicles an unforgettable family trip on the Restigouche.

As always, have a great time on the water and please share your images and stories with us!

In this week’s featured image, ASF’s Bill Taylor releases an incredible 30+ lb salmon in Quebec.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, Mary Atkinson reports on a very successful Women on the Fly workshop. She writes:

“Over the weekend thirty-eight women from all over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick joined us for our 4th Annual Fly Fishing Workshop.

Our workshops cover many topics, and we pride ourselves on being a foundation workshop for beginner anglers, which are approximately 70% of our participants. Workshops begin Friday evening, allowing participants to arrive at the beautiful Liscombe Lodge and settle in before we dive into our regulations and fish handling sessions. Saturdays are full day opportunities on the river, spacing out along the Liscombe and into the St Mary’s. We take on topics of river etiquette, reading the water, adapting to conditions, and everything in between from tacking up your rod, choosing the fly, finessing your cast, and catch and release practices. Our final day is set up for stations covering in-depth topics of spey casting, casting physics, distance and accuracy, entomology, and gear/knots.”

Dates for the 2025 workshop, to be hosted as Liscombe Lodge, have been set for June 20-22 (Registration opens spring 2025). Further events are in the making, and we encourage any groups interested in collaborating to reach out to us at”

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Participants of the 2024 annual fly fishing workshop, hosted by Atlantic Women on the Fly. Photo: Tim Myers.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Kim Thompson, Program Director for Newfoundland and Labrador, has lots to report this week. Water levels are fluctuating in her region and early salmon counts are promising. Plus, some conservation updates. Kim writes:

“The last week of June usually marks the beginning of the salmon run in most rivers in Newfoundland. However, high water levels on some rivers, such as Gander River around Glenwood, as well as the Terra Nova and Exploits rivers, have made for challenging fishing. On the other hand, some west coast rivers (Robinsons, Middle Barachois, Fischells and Crabbes Rivers) were reporting low water levels earlier in the week, but by mid-week the headwaters got some rain and came up to a decent level.”

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Anglers on the Exploits River. Photos: Kim Thompson.

“Check out the Atlantic salmon fishway counts reported by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. So far this season, numbers are up on most rivers in Newfoundland.

Last week saw the end of counting the out-migration of smolt this season on the Terra Nova River. As part of the Wild Salmon Watersheds program, the Freshwater Alexander Bays Ecosystem Corporation (FABEC) removed the smolt wheel from the Terra Nova River, disassembling and storing it. As this was the first smolt wheel deployed on a river in Newfoundland, there will be lots to learn, while building upon the network for knowledge sharing before the beginning of next season. Thanks to all the partners, passionate volunteers, and community for participating!”

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The Terra Nova smolt wheel. Photo: Kim Thompson.

Kim continues:

“There is a new stewardship group forming, with lots of energy and excitement about helping wild Atlantic salmon. After several meetings held by the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland (SAEN) in Whitbourne/ Colinet on the Rocky River watershed project, interest was piqued for a local salmonid stewardship group for Rocky, Colinet, and North Harbour Rivers in St. Mary’s Bay. The next meeting is planned for August 15, 2024, at the Lion’s Club in Whitbourne. For further information you can follow @the_official_SAEN on Facebook or Instagram or reach out to project coordinator Hannah Hynes at

And the lucky winner of the rod/reel combo from the Newfoundland and Labrador Outfitters Association Outdoor Show that was held in Gander was Danny Eveleigh. Tight lines with your new gear!”

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ASF's Andrew Clarke presents Danny Eveleigh with his new rod and reel. Photo: Kim Thompson.


Bill Taylor was fishing the Bonaventure, as well as the Petite and Grande Cascapedia Rivers. He writes:

“The Gaspe is a magical place in mid-June. The rivers are usually in great shape, the surrounding forests are a hundred shades of green, and everything feels alive and healthy . Most importantly, the first runs of the fittest salmon of the season are entering the rivers in full force. As has been my tradition for the past 20 years, I was at Salmon Lodge with a group of 7 ASF friends and supporters, June 17 -21 to fish the Bonaventure, the Petite and Grande Cascapedia. The rivers were in fine form, though the Grande Cascapedia was running low for the time of year. The first runs of salmon had been a couple of weeks early and all three rivers appeared to have good numbers of fish.

There were rumors swirling on the Grande Cascapedia about the breakdown in negotiations between the Gesgapegiag Band and the province of Quebec leading to ‘the river being blocked with nets’ and ‘a thousand salmon harvested.’ While the breakdown was most unfortunate and did result in about 10 days of netting, nowhere close to one thousand salmon were harvested. In fact, 20 -25 striped bass were caught in the nets for every salmon.

The Band and Province finally negotiated a one-year agreement that resulted in the nets being removed the second week of June. It’s crucial that the Province and Band get back to the table in the fall and negotiate in good faith, a long-term agreement that ensures the continued health of one of the world’s greatest salmon rivers and the economic and social well-being of the Gesgapegiag, Cascapedia and St. Jules communities.

The first runs of big salmon arrived early on Gaspe rivers, the Grande Cascapedia included, well before the nets were set. Grande Cascapedia anglers reported hooking 25 – 30 large salmon on June 1st, the best opening day in many years. Many Grande Cascapedia anglers I’ve spoken with reported their best opening week ever!

During my 4 days fishing the Grande Cascapedia, Petite and Bonnie, our group released 17 gorgeous salmon, 12 – 30 pounds. We released 14 and lost several others during the first two days alone, before a sweltering heat dome set in. On our second and third days the air temperature hit 38 C (100 F) and the Grande Cascapedia went from 14 C (57 F) to 20 C (68 F).

All in all, another memorable trip on some of my favorite salmon rivers.”

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ASF's Bill Taylor with a stunning salmon on Grande Cascapedia river.

Continuing the report from Quebec, Program Director Charles Cusson writes:

“La situation déconcertante de certaines rivières ayant des migrations hâtives et d’autres des arrivées tardives persiste. Une bénédiction arrivera sous forme de pluie dans les prochains jours. D’Amqui, qui aidera la vallée de la Matapédia jusqu’à la Basse-Côte-Nord du Québec. Nous espérons que cela améliorera la pêche pendant la prochaine semaine.

Le succès de pêche s’améliore ; une augmentation marquée du nombre de saumons relâchés se manifeste dans le secteur Glen Emma de la Matapédia. Les totaux à ce jour sont significativement supérieurs à ceux de l’année dernière a pareille date, ce qui est un signe positif.

Don Bourgouin, guide chevronné de la région gaspésienne, rapporte que « malgré le niveau de l’eau, la Grande-Rivière près de Percé a été généreuse avec mes clients ».

La Cascapédia continue de s’améliorer et bénéficiera des précipitations à venir.

Dans la région du Saguenay, les saumons ont commencé à faire leur apparition, apportant de l’espoir aux pêcheurs de saumon des rivières Anse St-Jean, Petit-Saguenay, à Mars et Sainte-Marguerite.

Comme nous le savons tous, les situations d’eau basse et 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. Il est préférable pour le bienfait du saumon de le laisser dans l’eau pendant tout le processus de remise à l’eau. Surtout dans des conditions d’eau chaude, minimiser toute exposition à l’air aidera votre saumon à récupérer plus rapidement.

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!”

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Rob Dorcas gracie une très belle pièce de la Cascapédia, sector Branche du lac à la fosse Miner. The Cascapedia was generous with Rob Dorcas who released this beauty at the Miner pool in the Lake branch sector. Photo: Stephen Podd.

And Charles’ report in English:

“The puzzling situation of some rivers having early migrations and others with late arrivals continues. Help is on the way in the form of rain during the next few days. From Amqui, which will help the Matapedia valley to the lower north shore of Quebec. This will hopefully improve angling for the next week.

Luck has started to improve; the Glen Emma sector of the Matapedia is reporting a marked increase in the number of salmon being landed and released. Totals to date are ahead of last year which is a positive sign.

Don Bourgouin, veteran guide in the Gaspé area reported ‘despite the low water, the Grande-Rivière near Percé has been good to my clients.’

The Cascapedia continues to improve and will benefit from the upcoming precipitation.

In the Saguenay region, salmon have started to appear bringing hope to the salmon anglers on the Anse St-Jean, Petit-Saguenay, A Mars and Sainte-Marguerite 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. It is better for the fish if you leave it in the water during the entire release process. Especially during warm water conditions, minimizing any air exposure will help your salmon to recuperate quicker.

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

Tight Lines!”

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Nicole Boutin a fait mouche sur la Rivière Grande-Rivière à la fosse Longue Pool. Nicole Boutin was happy to release this fine Grande-Rivière salmon at Longue Pool. Photo: Claudel Francoeur.


ASF’s Laura Romania has been hard at work on river restoration. Her report this week gives a unique view into everything it takes. She writes:

“As the Jed Wright Fellow, every week has brought about new experiences. Last week that meant venturing to the Downeast to assist Project SHARE with habitat enhancements on a recently reopened side channel along the Narraguagus River. At a first glance, I wouldn’t have suspected the site we were working on had already undergone heavy engineering, with added boulders, groundwater pools, log jams, and even an expanded floodplain. It was a true representation of the type of restoration that could be accomplished once issues of aquatic continuity had been resolved. In most other parts of the Northeast, these sorts of efforts felt unfathomable due to numerous challenges of pollution, development, and discontinuity which first must be addressed. The recovery of rivers made possible in Maine feels truly unmatched anywhere else.

Each morning, I set out early from Bangor with other field crew members to make the trek to Cherryfield. Amidst a scorching heat wave, we fortunately had easy access to cool groundwater pools, shade, and ample water breaks to help endure the work planned for each day. Our job was to pull softwood trees into a side channel to add nutrients, provide shade, and alter stream flow to create ideal fish spawning habitats. We used a system of cables, chains, pulleys, and a grip hoist to pull trees into the water while maintaining roots in the ground to improve their retention in the streambed. Our crew split into two teams: one to dig out and cut roots behind designated trees, and another to take turns working the lever on a grip hoist. Through my involvement with Project SHARE, I gained an appreciation for the hard work their team contributes.”

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A little bit of engineering helps improve habitat for wild salmon and trout in Maine.

Reporting late last week, Maine DMR biologist Jason Valliere gives an update from the Penobscot River:

“We’re experiencing tropical conditions in the Penobscot right now. We are currently at 26C, 79F. Yesterday it reached 81F. Despite the hot temperature, there were still a few fish moving yesterday. It is estimated that 1063 salmon have passed Milford, plus another nine at Orono. A few shad are still passing through the fishway, though things have slowed considerably. The fishway still has a few river herring passing through it. Most of them are post spawn fish that decided to take one more trip on the carnival ride before heading home. We saw one sea lamprey earlier this week, who obviously arrived late to the party. “

And Jennifer Noll, also with Maine DMR, gives an update from the lower Kennebec River:

“It’s that time of year when the sturgeon are often spotted jumping in the lower Kennebec by onlookers. It seems that the sight never gets old, even to those of us that spend ample amounts of time on or near the river. The weather this past week consisted of strong thunderstorms and a heat wave (90°F+). Since the last report, flow conditions in the lower Kennebec River have peaked multiple times around 10,000 cfs after the storms. Current flow conditions are responding to heavy downpours last night and it’s currently at 11,000 cfs and rising. Forty new Atlantic salmon have been captured to date this season at the Lockwood fish lift in Waterville, ME, including 4 since the last report.”

New Brunswick

ASF’s Neville Crabbe canoed the Restigouche River last week and shared this report:

“Exploring New Brunswick’s Crown Reserve waters is an annual tradition for my father and I. These stretches of water in the Miramichi, Restigouche, and Nepisiguit watersheds are set aside for provincial residents and awarded by draw each March. This year we had the excellent fortune of getting Red Bank, June 18-20th. Dad and I decided to make a family trip out of it by including my wife and three sons.

Red Bank is one of three Crown Reserve stretches on the Restigouche. All of them are between the Irving lodge at Down’s Gulch and the Million Dollar Pool, where the Patapedia River runs in. It’s 5.5 kilometres long with 8 named pools and a comfortable cabin. According to the provincial catch and effort records Red Bank isn’t the most productive Crown Reserve stretch in the Restigouche watershed, but generally fishes OK in June.

On the night of the 17th we stayed at Chalet Restigouche, a campground with cabins and an excellent fly shop on the Little Main Restigouche, less than a kilometre from the junction with the Kedgwick River where the Restigouche proper begins. We arranged an evening shuttle, dropping our vehicle at Rafting Grounds, 90 kilometres downriver and prepped to push off on the morning of the 18th.

Our plan was to spend three nights on the river – two at the Red Bank Crown Reserve cabin and the third at Two Brooks, a maintained camp site about halfway between Red Bank and Rafting Grounds. For trippers, the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council has an excellent map on its website, listing distances and marking camping areas.

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Heading down river on day one, the scenery was a beautiful distraction from the unseasonable heat (l). Photo: Neville Crabbe. Looking upriver from the Two Brooks camp site on the last night of the trip (r). Photo: Stephen Crabbe.

Neville continues:

“Weather is always the x-factor in salmon fishing and unseasonal heat was called for during our trip. The sun was out in full force as we made our way 30 kilometres downriver from Chalet Restigouche to the Red Bank camp. Between Larry’s Gulch and our destination, we collectively counted more than 30-salmon. Most of them were on the move in shallow runs and riffles, perhaps sensing the dropping water levels and dashing for their upriver summer hangouts. At Little Cross Point, just above Downs Gulch we watched a moose swim across the river and spotted a school of small striped bass under our canoes.

By late afternoon we made it to Red Bank. The thermometer on the deck of the cabin showed the temperature was 33-degrees. The next day, June 19th, was even hotter. We drank lots of water and stayed cool by swimming in the river near the camp. For the boys, and the adults, hiking up river and floating with the current downstream provided hours of laughs and reprieve from the heat.

After seeing so many salmon from our canoes, anticipation was high for our first evening of fishing. The Red Bank pool is about 500 meters downriver from the camp and it’s where we were advised to focus our efforts. The river dives into a deep slow moving turn and the run coming in looked excellent.

My oldest son Henry, nine years old, is a competent caster with the patience of Job. I so badly wanted him to feel the spine-tingling tug of a silver bullet from Greenland on the end of his line, but it wasn’t meant to be. The rapidly dropping water levels and high temperatures turned off the salmon. The camp log showed only one salmon had been hooked so far at Red Bank this year. We fished hard, with all different flies, from every angle we could conceive of, but nothing was taking.

On our last river night, camping at Two Brooks, we watched the third moose of our trip take a long drink from the current. With the campfire crackling, we all agreed that if we had the time we would go back up to the top and do it again. Fish or not, the Restigouche is a special place and sharing it with family was an unforgettable experience.”

Wrapping up this week’s edition is a great wildlife encounter, told by Peter Otto. On the morning of June 16th he was fishing at Pot Hole Pool, at Glen Eden Lodge on the Restigouche. He writes:

“The cow and calf [moose] came out of the bush behind me and I didn’t see them. Heard a woop from my brother-in-law and thought he had a fish on. When I turned to him, he pointed behind me and as I turned to look, they were no more than 50’ from me. I stood like a statue, they both hesitated and then proceeded in front of me to cross the river and this pic was taken. A great wildlife experience!!”

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Peter Otto and two moose on the Restigouche. Photo: Brad Yuill.