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As the season draws to a close, it exits with its usual dramatic flourish. The autumn rains coupled with unseasonably warm temperatures have yielded mixed fishing conditions, yet from all accounts, fish are being caught!
After a summer on the road, I had a few tranquil weeks to settle back in Maine. However, last week saw me repacking my gear into my truck, crossing the northern border into a territory that grows increasingly familiar, and feels more like home with each visit.
Reflecting on past RiverNotes, many autumn editions are laden with tales of fall fishing excursions onto the Margaree and other lesser-known pools in the area’s rivers—a testament to the enchanting allure of this season. Growing up amidst Maine’s western mountains, I’ve spent countless fall days captivated by the trees set aflame in rich reds, oranges, and golds, their beauty evoking a rush of memories and a sense of time’s passage. But Cape Breton has its own unique mystique—a whispering allure in the periphery that has endeared me to the area and its warm, inviting community.
This charm made it the ideal backdrop to invite Chase and Aimee Bartee, the creative force behind the sensational YouTube and social media channel, Tight Loops, to join me in filming a documentary about ASF’s new freshwater conservation initiative, Wild Salmon Watersheds.
I remember reaching out to them one chilly February day from my Airstream, parked snugly at a friend’s camp near Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, hoping they’d embrace the idea.
Their enthusiasm matched mine when they not only entertained the proposal but were genuinely thrilled about it. The nomadic life of a media production outfit, especially when intertwined with a passion for fly fishing amidst cold, salmonid-rich waters, isn’t without its challenges—especially when work calls mostly from urban settings. The shared excitement over this collaboration was palpable.
We earmarked mid-October for the shoot, and while Chase and Aimee arrived a few days ahead—joining the MSA crew for their annual events—I trailed behind, seemingly bringing torrential rains with me. Despite the dampness, our spirits soared, fueled by coffee and hearty breakfasts from the Dancing Goat, and the incredible camaraderie we found while shooting the Wild Salmon Watersheds promotional film.
I wish to extend heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved—from ASF staff, Cape Breton Highlands Park Staff, to Rene Aucoin, Aaron Allen, Kyle Denny, Paul MacNeil, Aaron Krick, Chase, Aimee, and everyone we met on this journey. Your support and time are invaluable, and words here can scarcely express our appreciation.
More of this adventure will unfold in an upcoming ASJ article and the film by Chase and Aimee. So, I won’t divulge too much now. Stay tuned, enjoy the images, and keep a lookout for what’s to come!
As the season winds down I want to thank you all again for being part of the Rivernotes community and tuning in each week as I navigate the stunning, rugged landscapes of salmon country. As always, share the Rivernotes blog with friends who might appreciate these stories. Each share and gift given becomes a ripple that could spark a wave of change.
Please consider contributing to ASF, HERE.
Also, I love hearing from you all, especially those of you who challenge me to do a better job! Please, always feel encouraged to reach out directly to Rivernotes@asf.ca or Pdore@asf.ca with comments, questions, or concerns!
Until next week, stay sharp, and tight lines!
The time for the annual ASF New York Gala is upon us, and this year is particularly memorable as we are celebrating our 75th Anniversary! This milestone calls for a grand celebration, and we’d love for you to be a part of it. Secure your seat at the event by clicking on one of the links below. Even if you can’t make it in person, you can still be a part of the festivities by placing a bid on one of the extraordinary items available in this year’s auction. Your involvement, be it by attending or bidding, is a cherished contribution to the legacy and future endeavors of ASF. Click the link below and make this anniversary gala a remarkable one!
Wednesday, 8 November 2023
6:00 PM EST | RECEPTION | SILENT AUCTION
7:30 PM EST | DINNER | PROGRAM | LIVE AUCTION
Seats are still available for ASF’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Reserve yours here.
The Live Auction is now online! View and bid here.
Aquaculture, or fish farming, is the fastest growing form of food production in the world. Most fish farming is done in pens out at sea, but that comes with significant environmental problems. High-tech, land-based fish farms are still a niche part of the industry, but that may well change, as scrutiny about the way our seafood is raised intensifies –
Check out this video from the Financial Times!
Charles Cusson, Quebec Program Director reports:
Read the 2023 report Here
La saison de pêche au saumon s’est terminée le 30 septembre dernier. Depuis ce temps, les gestionnaires de rivière se sont affairés aux statistiques de fin de saison et à compléter les préparatifs pour les tirages du 1er novembre pour la saison 2024. Pour y participer, visiter le https://tirage.manisoft.ca/index_fr.php afin de vous enregistrer au tirage. Vous avez jusqu’au 31 octobre pour vous inscrire.
Dans le rapport ci-joint, vous trouverez un aperçu préliminaire des résultats de la moitié des rivières au Québec où des dénombrements sont effectués chaque année.
Les décomptes de fin de saison dans plusieurs endroits n’ont pas été complétés dû au fort débit et des situations de visibilité réduite. Pour ces rivières, les données d’abondance de mi-saison apparaissent pour l’instant. Les données comparatives des années précédentes à 2023 proviennent du bilan saumon 2022.
Le bilan saumon annuel publié par le gouvernement du Québec fera état au printemps 2024 de l’état officiel des montaisons et des statistiques de pêche sportive.
The salmon fishing season ended on September 30. Since that time, river managers have been busy compiling end-of-season statistics and preparing for the November 1st draw ahead of the 2024 season. To participate in the draws, visit https://tirage.manisoft.ca/index_en.php. October 31st is the last day anglers can register.
In the attached report, you will find a preliminary overview of the results of half of the rivers in Quebec where abundance assessments are carried out each year.
End of season counts in several locations were not completed due to high water flows and reduced visibility situations. For these rivers, mid-season abundance data are currently appearing. Comparative data from previous years to 2023 comes from the 2022 Quebec salmon report.
The annual salmon report published by the Quebec government will report in the spring of 2024 the official state of returns and sport fishing statistics.
ASF Member, Iris Ceicko reports:
As the curtain draws on the Nova Scotia salmon fishing season, we hope for a reprieve from the rains that have colored the waters and raised their levels over the past two weeks. While a handful of fishers have found success amidst the challenges, for many it’s been a tough season, at least among the many anglers we know.
The past fortnight has brought with it a riot of fall foliage, providing a stunning backdrop to our river excursions. The vibrancy of colors enveloping the riverside has been a sight to behold. On the days when fishing was off the table due to the windy, rainy conditions, and chocolate brown waters, we found solace in the myriad other experiences Cape Breton has to offer.
Our time was well-spent visiting friends, tying flies, traversing the Cabot Trail, enjoying brewery visits, and savoring quick stops at our favorite coffee haunt, the “Dancing Goat”. The coziness of baking pies and cookies, picking wild apples, and the tranquil hours at the local library have all been integral to our annual Cape Breton sojourn.
Each year, the camaraderie we share with fellow enthusiasts enhances the charm of this place. The familiar faces we encounter on the river and the Christmas cards we receive from friends near and far – from PEI to Switzerland and Arizona, add a personal touch to our adventures. As we soak in the final week of the season, we are reminded once again of the dream-like quality of these experiences. So here’s to enjoying this last stretch; it’s indeed the stuff of dreams.
Serge Collin, New Brunswick Program Director reports:
The New Brunswick Salmon Council (NBSC) has honored James (Jim) Marriner with the 2023 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Wild Atlantic Salmon Conservation, recognizing his extensive contributions to salmon and wildlife conservation. This prestigious award, announced at an autumn reception at Government House in Fredericton, celebrates individuals who have significantly contributed to the conservation of wild Atlantic salmon in New Brunswick. Mr. Marriner has dedicated over 45 years to various conservation causes, holding notable positions in numerous organizations such as the Atlantic Salmon Council, the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation, and the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation.
Mr. Marriner’s involvement spans from local to provincial levels, having been a Director, Secretary, and Chair of various committees within the NB Salmon Council from 2008 to 2022. His other roles include positions in the Petitcodiac Sportsman’s Club, Moncton Fish & Game Association, Canadian Wildlife Federation, and the Fur Institute of Canada, among others. His extensive service highlights his unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation, education, and community engagement.
Upon receiving the award, Marriner expressed his humility and acknowledged the collaborative effort of many volunteers in the realm of salmon conservation. His lifelong dedication encapsulates the essence of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award, setting a remarkable and inspirational example for others in the community. Through his enduring efforts, Marriner continues to play a pivotal role in conserving and enhancing New Brunswick’s rich wildlife and natural resources.
John Burrows, Executive Director of US Programs, reports:
Murray Carpenter, Jennifer Noll, and I spent a remarkable day exploring the Sandy River in search of salmon redds this past Friday. We toured Murray around the area to gather insights for a piece scheduled to air on Maine Public Radio later this week, with aspirations that National Public Radio might pick up the story.
During our afternoon venture, we encountered about half a dozen redds and startled a few larger fish downstream near some test pits. Although we didn’t get a clear view, we suspected they were salmon.
On the preceding day, Jen and her colleagues had a close encounter with an adult male salmon near one of the redds on the South Branch of the Sandy. While they were measuring a redd, the male salmon leapt from the water immediately downstream, creating a riveting scene. The salmon then moved a short distance away, seemingly observing them from the crystalline, cold waters of this high elevation habitat. Such encounters are the payoff for all the hard work and sacrifice Jen and her team make to realize our ongoing restoration and conservation efforts.