Atlantic Salmon – Lightning in Water

In the wildness of our rivers, Atlantic salmon are like flashes of lightning. Seeing, even just one can give a jolt. If one is angling, the very first one brought to the shallows and

Jack Cameron, First Salmon. Jack, age 10 and from New Brunswick, caught this, his first salmon, on the Serpentine River in Newfoundland on Aug. 31 this year. Thanks to Ewan Cameron for sharing this wonderful shot.

then gently released has the power to become a lifelong highlight of experiences. The photo at left is just that, a memorable moment for Jack Cameron, aged 10.

On August 29, just two weeks ago, he was fishing on the Serpentine River in North American, and caught – and released – his first Atlantic salmon. The expression on this young boy’s face says so much about the experience as guide Dawson Hovey snapped the photo. Jack Cameron will undoubtedly remember this moment, and this experience, decades from now.

A moment frozen in time, when he connected with a living creature that has all the magic of electricity. We would encourage any other anglers who have similar stories of releasing an Atlantic salmon to share them. In addition, Cameron entered ASF’s Live Release Draw, another way of saying it is important to let that Atlantic salmon continue its migration, as its ancestors have done for millenia.

Incidentally, check out who else has registered a live release this year.


Fire and Water Do Mix. Cooler evenings, an angler in the river. Photo Charles Cusson/ASF

Grand Cascapedia – To August 31, Darlene Sexton reported that 305 fish were landed for the month (275 salmon and 29 grilse released). These numbers compare well to the August last five year average of 298 (Made up of 2011 (477) 2010 (305) 2009 (267) 2008 (220) 2007 (221)). Water levels and temperatures were good for the first10 days of September. Up to date numbers will be available next week.

Matane – To September 11, a total of 2,135 fish (1,056 salmon and 1,079 grilse) had migrated to their native river. A total of 824 fish (337 salmon and 487 grilse) were reported landed. Mandatory live release of mature salmon began as of September 1 in sector 5. As of September 11, the Matane was flowing at 11cubic meters/second and dropping.

Lower St-Lawrence Region

Colours for the River. September can offer perfect days on a salmon river, and the foliage is part of the perfection. Photo Charles Cusson/ASF

Matapedia – To September 12, for the season that started on June 1, the CGRMP reported that 801 fish had been landed, including 55 reported releases. The 5-year average (2011-2007 based on numbers provided by the CGRMP) of landed fish at August 31 is 1,340. Following the count in mid-August, the CGRMP stated that there were sufficient numbers of fish to sustain a harvest until September 15.

New Brunswick

Miramichi – Temperatures are cooling down nicely, and there was some rain this past week, but the number of Atlantic salmon coming up remains low. Some angling activity in the lower Miramichi river area, but only occasional hits further up. Fish coming to the barriers are minimal. At the Dungarvon Barrier there were no Atlantic salmon this past week. (see year to date chart below), giving a total of 37 grilse (vs. 75 in 2011), and 177 large salmon (vs. 408 in 2011).

Dungarvon on the Southwest Miramichi illustrates the year’s low grilse runs.

Five grilse came to the Norwest Miramichi Barrier fence, again showing that grilse numbers are way down – 156 this year vs. 694 last year. One needs to remember that last year really was exceptional.


Had a conversation with one of the biologists involved with the Atlantic salmon in Maine this past week. With the extra rain, 5 new salmon arrived at the Veazie Barrier. I note the DMR site had numbers as of Sept. 11 of 612, making that 3 salmon to that date.

The interesting point was that the fish, whether salmon or grilse, have this year been strong, and healthy, with no signs of emaciation. Just no signs from the fish themselves of what might be causing the numbers decrease in 2012.

Far more positive has been the demolition and removal of the Great Works Dam, which has largely been completed. As the main dam disappeared, a “legacy dam” built earlier in the 19th century began to show, as expected. Significant portions of that dam have also been removed. The effort is on schedule to have all Great Works removal completed by Nov. 1.

Nova Scotia

Northwest Margaree – Up and Back Again. Water levels looking workable to check out any new Atlantic salmon.

Amazing what a toned-down hurricane can accomplish. Northern Nova Scotia had quite a swipe from Tropical Storm Leslie, and the water went up, and now is down to fishable levels. Just have a look below at the NW Maragaree chart.

Given the beauty of the week, the cooler temperatures, the better flow, this might be the week to experience this glorious river in hopes of finding its wonderful salmon.


As of Sept. 7, all Newfoundland salmon rivers were closed except for the “big three” – the Humber, Exploits and Gander.

The Gander had a modest bump in flow from the tropical storm, but not a major increase. Other rivers more sensitive to sudden downpours did have increased levels that hopefully will encourage any Atlantic salmon out in the coastal waters to make a run for it up native rivers.

The Humber went up about a foot and was already high. A few recent reports of salmon hooked in the lower river, but mostly folks are waiting for the water to go back down.

Here’s hoping the magic of autumn includes more Atlantic salmon.

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