The big question in 2012 is whether many Atlantic salmon are still in salt water, having postponed their upstream travel because of the low river flows.
Generally, returns appear better in Newfoundland and Labrador – but parts of Quebec have had decent returns to date, despite water levels.
Five minutes ago a new order regarding the Miramichi came in – taking effect Sunday, Aug. 5:
Added Conservation Measure:
Moncton – August 3, 2012 – Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) today announces that angling for all species on the Miramichi River system will be prohibited every day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. the next day, starting Sunday August 5, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. This closure is implemented in order to provide relief to the salmon during the current high water temperatures and low water levels that the system is experiencing. This restriction applies to all scheduled (salmon) waters in the Miramichi system including the Crown Reserves.
Pools and areas previously closed to angling (see notice to fish harvesters dated July 27, 2012) will remain closed for all species during the entire day.
Please refer to Gulf Variation Order 2012-061 for further details:
Water conditions are very low.
Bonaventure – The mid-season count was done on July 28 & 29. Ronald Cormier, Director of the Bonaventure ZEC reported that 1,291 fish were counted/observed (944 salmon and 275 grilse). As per the current management plan, mandatory live release of salmon will continue to be in effect until September 30th.
In 2011, 2,299 fish (1,259 salmon and 1,040 grilse) were counted at season end which translated into 112% of minimum spawning requirements.
Cascapedia – Darlene Sexton of the Cascapedia Society reported , that to July 27, 447 fish landed, 442 salmon released and 5 grilse retained. For the entire season, to date over 1,000 fish have been landed. Water flow is extremely low at 16 cubic meters per second.
Matane – Water conditions have improved during the last week. To July 31, a total of 1,377 fish (766 salmon and 611 grilse) migrated through the fish ladder, just a little lower than the 2007-2011 average of 1,447 fish to July 31. To July 31, 448 fish (228 salmon and 220 grilse) were reported landed. No report on releases as of yet.
Dartmouth – St-Jean – York Rivers – From Le Pharillon
The three salmon rivers of Gaspé, the York, Dartmouth and St. Jean are suffering from lack of rain. Even if the salmon are more abundant than expected, especially in the holding pools, fishing conditions are tough. There has been no appreciable amount of rain for several days.
On the Dartmouth River, at the Breeder Pool, salmon are easily spotted but are not coming to the fly. A count conducted on July 23 indicated that on the York River, the quantity of salmon was sufficient (800 salmon and 170 grilse) to continue harvesting. A minimum of 500 salmon is required to continue the retention of captures by anglers.
Jean Roy, CEO of the SGRGG, however, wanted to clarify that monitoring will continue: “The disease which has affected some salmon on the York seems to have subsided, and there are fewer and fewer sick salmon. We will continue to be vigilant until the end of the season”.
On the St-Jean River, the catch and release of adult salmon is in effect as of August 1. The quantity of salmon has not been sufficient for a take, as only 503 adults and 106 grilse were counted. As for the Dartmouth River, the count has not yet been made: “We will do so in the coming days, but for now the river is mandatory Live Release,” said Mr. Roy.
Lower St-Lawrence Region
Matapedia – To July 31, for the season that started on June 1, the CGRMP reported that 617 fish had been landed, with 565 fish retained and 52 reported released. At July 31, the river was flowing at a rate of 12.5 cubic meters per second.
Causapscal – The two month season ended on July 15th. For the season, 127 fish were landed including 15 releases. For the 2011 season, 179 fish had been landed which included 13 releases. In 2011, the reported run for the Causapscal consisted of 1,416 fish (1,168 salmon and 248 grilse) 399% of minimum spawning requirements.
Mitis – To July 31, 874 fish had been counted, 541 salmon and 333 grilse. The Mitis Zec reports that 232 fish were landed in July (107 salmon and 122 grilse) as well as 3 reported releases. To July 31 2011, 1,099 fish (439 salmon and 660 grilse) had migrated through the counting facility.
Malbaie River – For the season to July 31, 169 salmon and 112 grilse (total of 281) had migrated through the fish ladder. Angling success was reported at a total of 150 fish (83 salmon released and 67 grilse retained). Low water in this region is also affecting the angling results.
Sainte-Marguerite River – As of July 31, for the season, 121 salmon had been released and 10 grilse retained.
Water conditions in the Saguenay region are being monitored very closely. The closing of some pools to angling until conditions improve on the Sainte-Marguerite, Anse, St-Jean, À Mars and Petit Saguenay rivers is being implemented.
North Shore Region
Moisie and Nipissis Rivers – To July 31, ASF Canada board member Charles Langlois reported a very average season at the Moisie Nipissis Outfitters. The sector of the Moisie and Nipissis rivers that the camp uses had early low water and early salmon migration.. Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate the run on the Nipissis River is within average numbers. Low water impacted angling success.
The ZEC and Winthrop-Campbell sectors had a disappointing season due to very early salmon. The APRM sector (12 mile pool) produced good results. Hard numbers were not available at time of publishing, but all fish hooked were released. The Katchapahun fishway on the Moisie is reporting that 475 salmon (below average for this time of year) had migrated to July 31st.
Cheticamp River – still closed. Some recent rain helped the levels – but nowhere near the needed level for fishing
Margaree – Fishing is slow with a dozen or so reported salmon. Water levels are still low.
Most of the July 31 counting fence numbers are out, and certainly they continue to lag well behind last year.
Many are now hoping that the fall run will bring up numbers. Certainly the drop in returns is very large indeed as of July 31.
Saint John – Only 95 large salmon to the end of July vs 588 in 2011, far below the 2004 to 2008 average of 333. Grilse 79 vs 903 in 2011 and 2,196 in 2010.
Nashwaak – 29 Salmon and 13 grilse this year, compared to 183 large salmon and 360 grilse in 2011.
Magaguadavic River – No salmon at all have returned so far, vs. 7 large salmon and 3 grilse in 2011.
Jacquet River – 45 large salmon and 114 grilse to July 31, against 145 large salmon and 377 grilse last year.
Note the conservation measures at beginning of blog, as well as those listed below.
Northwest Miramichi – The Northwest Cassillis trapnet had 148 large salmon and 234 grilse this year to July 31, vs. 342 and 1,024 in 2011
Main Southwest Miramichi – The Dungarvon Barrier had 99 large salmon and 121 grilse, vs 204 large salmon and 482 grilse in 2011
With lower waters, and concerns about temperatures, DFO closed down many areas.
The pools closed on the Miramichi beginning July 23 remain closed. On July 27, there was a slight change in the descriptions of the variation order to include the colloquial names for some pools and stretches of water.
The closures on Miramichi ( in addition to the conservation measure at beginning of blog) are:
Moncton – July 27, 2012 – Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) today announces changes (in bold) to several salmon fishing pools closed to angling for all species of fish by certain methods, for cause of high water temperature and low water levels. These changes are effective as of Friday, July 27, 2012:
- Confluence of Salmon Brook and Cains River, and the waters of Salmon Brook upstream from its confluence with the Cains River to South Cains River Road;
- Confluence of Otter Brook and Cains River, an area locally known as Brophy’s Place;
- Confluence of Sutherland Brook and Northwest Miramichi River, and Sutherland Brook upstream to the Highway 420;
- Confluence of Butty’s Brook and Renous River, and the waters of Butty’s Brook from its confluence with the Renous River to South Renous Road, an area locally known as Duffy’s Brook;
- Waters of the Renous River surrounding the pump house located at N 46.86483, W 65.67698 (WGS 84);
- Waters of the Southwest Miramichi River in Quarryville, 300 m upstream and 300 m downstream of the Quarryville Bridge, including Indian Town Brook from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River, upstream to Highway 108 bridge;
- Confluence of Wilson Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, including the waters of Wilson Brook upstream 100 m of its mouth, an area locally known as the Bear Den;
- Confluence of Gray Rapids Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Gray Rapids upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to Route 118, an area locally known as Pete’s Brook;
- Confluence of Morse Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Morse Brook upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to Howard Road;
- Confluence of Black Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Black Brook upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to South Cains River Road;
- Confluence of Donnelly Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Donnelly Brook upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to the South Road Bridge;
- Confluence of Betts Mills Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Betts Mills Brook upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to Highway # 8;
- Confluence of Porcupine Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, and the waters of Porcupine Brook upstream from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River to Story Town Road;
- Confluence of Big Hole Brook and Southwest Miramichi River;
- Confluence of Mill Brook and Southwest Miramichi River.
The variation order related to these closures can be downloaded here:
This is a very disappointing year, especially with one of the big dams being removed from the Penobscot, which reported only 609 as of Aug. 1, making this the worst year since 2000.
As to the others, to July 30:
So far, reports say none have entered the Androscoggin, Union, or Dennys rivers.
Newfoundland and Labrador
News from Newfoundland and Labrador is brighter than in most other areas.
Newfoundland closed many rivers in the centre and west of the island, but many have now been reopened. For the latest list of closures, phone (709) 772-4423.
Exploits – Returns are tapering off, but as of July 29 there had been 28,922, down significantly from the two previous good years. In 2011, the return to July 29 was 37,399.
Terra Nova River – 2,986 to July 29 vs 3,957 last year
Conne River – This south coast river has been performing BETTER than the previous few years, bucking the trend. There were 1,960 as of July 29, vs 1,189 in 2011.
Harry’s River – On the west coast, the Harry’s River number, using the Didson equipment, is 2,194 vs. 3,955 in 2011
Humber – Recently, the conditions were certainly improved from earlier in the season. Beginning mid-July there were good reports from the Lower Humber River, especially at Boom Siding (outlet of Dear lake) where anglers enjoyed good success. Ron Vincent released a 20lb fish there in mid-month. A number of other large fish have been hooked along with many grilse.
Torrent River – A total of 3,666 is perhaps better than initially hoped, and well ahead of last year’s 2,343.
Western Arm Brook – Reversing the story of the Torrent, this river had 793 return by July 29, vs. 1,307 last year.
Pinware – Word from yesterday is that this Labrador river has low flows, like so many others.