It is all about the rain

River Wye in Wales

We were talking with Stuart Smith of the Wye Salmon Association in Wales this week. He noted that in the last 90 days there had been only three days without rain somewhere in the catchment area. Certainly would be nice to have a few of those rain days here in northeast North America.

We had been discussing salmometers – tables to find the approximate weight of a salmon using its length and then reading off the kg. or lb. He noted that ASF’s salmometer was a better measurement device in the Wye system than the one they had used, which was based on heavier Norwegian fish. The Wye, incidentally, is 5th longest river in the UK, and while it rises in Wales, for a considerable length it actually forms the border between Wales and England. Relatively pristine water too, with the second largest salmon run in Wales.

On to our own rivers, there have been some rains in the past few days, but more is needed.

New Brunswick

Hammond River, Sep. 6, 2012

Down in southern New Brunswick it poured rain yesterday, which is a wonderful thing to happen. ASF’s Program Director for NB sent along a photo of the Hammond River taken on the weekend, and it looks more like a seasonal stream than the year-round river it normally is.

The Miramichi has some really good news. DFO lifted the fishing ban on 12 of the 15 salmon pools at the beginning of this week. The three pools still closed are Indiantown Brook, Wilson Brook (Bear’s Den) and Sutherland Brook.

Temperatures are dropping and the weather pattern is destabilizing, so let’s all ask for more rain and clouds.  With the rain there should be some positive impact on the Atlantic salmon numbers – and the conditions they need to put up with as they work their way upriver.

Lyttleton – Little Southwest Miramichi

Just checking the flow graphs, and there is a nice little upward hiccup at Lyttleton on the Little SW, but no increase in flow at Blackville on the Main SW – but hopefully it is just taking some time to work down the river.

The latest barrier counts have come in, and little has changed.

The Northwest Cassilis Trapnet had 177 salmon to Aug. 31 this year against 387 last year to the same date. As for grilse, it was 243 this season vs. 1,064 last.

At the Southwest Millerton Trapnet, there had been 457 in 2012 to the end of August, against 596 in 2011. Down, but not out of line with yearly variation.

For grilse it was 446 this year vs 1,761 last year, approximately a quarter of the 2011 returns..

The Mactaquac numbers for the Saint John large salmon are far from impressive; 96 this year to Aug. 31, vs. 593 last year, and for grilse,  83 vs. 909 a year ago.

On the Nashwaak, numbers are even lower, with 34 large salmon return vs 226 and 15 grilse compared to 391 a year ago.

In the outer Bay of Fundy, the Magaguadavic River has also reached a low point, with one large salmon this year, while a year ago there were 8 grilse and 9 large salmon, making the drop from 17 to 1.

In the northern part of New Brunswick, numbers are not quite so low. At the Upsalquitch barrier, there were 245 large salmon and 210 grilse to Aug. 31 this year, compared to 605 large salmon and 620 grilse in 2011. Overall, roughly a third the number this year.

Incidentally, while the north of the province had some rain on the weekend, the flows don’t show any step up in the past day.

Nova Scotia

The Margaree fishing is slow and mostly down in the lowermost river still.

The Cheticamp is the big news – it is open again. Temperatures have dropped, more rain is called for and Parks Canada made the change.

On Wednesday afternoon the rain was coming in from the west, and considerable amounts were being called for in the newly opened Northumberland Strait rivers, plus the Eastern Shore and Cape Breton  rivers.


Leaping Salmon – Big East River

The good news is that, with even a modest decline in temperature, many rivers have been reopened in the past week. Best place to get the full list is the SPAWN website.

Hot Water in NL – Terra Nova River. Temperatures remain relatively warm, even if there is some decline.

Looking at any of the graphs, the strange thing is to see how high the temperatures are still, even after Labour Day.

In the west, there has been rain in the Humber Valley area, and a few reports are coming in of some success. In places water levels are now high.


In this lack-lustre year, the total salmon at Veazie on the Penobscot remains stuck at 609.

This entry was posted in Salmon Runs. Bookmark the permalink.