Welcome to the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s River Notes.
We are using a new format for reports of Atlantic salmon returns, plus other “field notes” that come through travels, research field work and from those who personally are involved with the wild Atlantic salmon.
In Newfoundland, Don Ivany reports optimistically on early runs in some rivers:
“The early run rivers in Bay St. George got off to a pretty good start. A long cold damp Spring meant water temperatures were cold on all rivers and all rivers had medium to high water levels. There were also many anglers on the rivers considering the season opened in the middle of the week.
“I spent a few hours on Southwest Brook on opening morning and released two fish (one about 7lbs and one about 5lbs) and lost another. I received reports of about 20 fish caught on that river yesterday. There were a couple of fish hooked in the 12-15 lb range, along with a number of grilse and a few fish in the 5-8 lb range. SPAWN Director Barry Sweetland and his party of four hooked seven fish between them on Crabbes River, and SPAWN President John McCarty and his party of 4-5 hooked ten fish between them (mostly in the 10 lb range) on Crabbes River and Robinsons River.”
In Nova Scotia, the Cheticamp is fishing well with strong runs, and locals are saying they haven’t seen such strong runs since the 1980s. The Margaree is a bit behind Cheticamp, but so far the returns are very positive. On the LaHave River as of June 9, 57 grilse and 34 multi-sea-winter salmon had returned, placing the returns on par with last year.
New Brunswick’s Restigouche River appears to have good numbers of large salmon, and in the Southwest Miramichi there are good signs of incoming large salmon and some grilse.
Quebec’s Grand Cascapedia is experiencing a very large number of salmon from mid-teens to 35 plus pounds, 90% hens in perfect, mint condition. No First Nations nets is allowing what may be a record June. Salmon are being caught upstream in the wading pools. Fourteen salmon were landed in the Lake Branch in one day. A new record
Maine’s Penobscot River is having a glorious year, with 1,559 Atlantic salmon having returned by June 14, way above the returns in recent years (as of that date). With the cool, wet weather, here’s hoping for an absolutely great year for this most important of Maine rivers.
A biologist with Maine’s Dept. of Marine Resources put it this way:
“The salmon just keep coming. For the last week we have averaged 111 new Atlantic salmon per day. The last time we handled over 100 new salmon in a single day was 1997. In 1996 there were two days with catches over 100, but you have to go back to 1990 and 1986 to find a stretch of multiple 100+ days (9 and 7 days, respectively).”
RESEARCH ACTIVITY UPDATE
Strait of Belle Isle – The acoustic receiver array that detects smolts and kelts migrating through the Strait of Belle Isle is being deployed by ASF staff this week. Smolt with transmitters are now on their way across the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Miramichi, Restigouche and Cascapedia, plus kelts from the Miramichi. This will be the seventh year ASF has had this array in place, and consistently Atlantic salmon from different rivers pass through the strait between about July 10 and July 17.