Fall Runs – Silver at the end of the Rainbow

It is definitely autumn, with the rain coming down in buckets in many locations every few days.  Those following the Atlantic salmon say “finally”, and love to have the rain coming down.

Nova Scotia

 Cheticamp – The water flow and temperatures are good. Still, not a lot of fish reported, but it is early for fall fish. Look for more at the very end of September and into October

Margaree – The water levels are good. Not huge numbers of fish, but reports are coming our way that here and there fish are being angled all along the river.

Margaree – photo by Gord Magee

River Philip and the Northumberland Strait rivers – Fishing is good on the Philip, and perhaps, to this point, returns may actually be ahead of last year’s.  It is still early for these fall runs and we will keep watching.


If the rain happens, the last 10 days of the season could be the best ever.  With early autumn storms brewing, anglers are hoping for one last shot of silver, gold, bronze.

Gaspé Region

Matane – To September 17, a total of 2,163 fish (1,069 salmon, 1,094 grilse) had migrated through the fishway and  850 fish (342 salmon, 508 grilse) had been reported landed.  Mandatory live release of mature salmon was mandated as of September 1 in sector 5.  At September 17, the Matane was flowing at 11.5 cubic meters per second and rising.  Releases have not been reported as of yet (5 year average is 48).

Lower St-Lawrence Region

Matapedia River – Morning fog at the Adams Pool. Photo Charles Cusson

Matapedia – To September 17, the CGRMP reported that 813 salmon and grilse had been landed, including 67 reported releases.  Water flow continues to be very slow, holding at 10 cubic meters per second.  Mandatory live release of salmon is in effect from September 15 to September 30, as usual.

Mitis – To September 17, the Mitis Zec reported that of 918 fish (560 salmon, 358 grilse) were counted entering the watershed and that 267 fish (123 salmon and 144 grilse) were landed, including 27 releases.

North Shore Region

Aux Rochers – To September 9, the counting facility had welcomed 881 fish (791 salmon, 90 grilse) which is within the 5 year average for salmon but a much lower number this year for grilse, a situation observed on most rivers this year.

Godbout – Up to September 9, the Godbout ZEC reported 209 fish (126 salmon and 83 grilse) were landed.  Of those, 78 salmon and 29 grilse were released and 19 grilse were retained.  For the same period, 824 fish made it to the barrier fence.  This number indicates the Godbout should be within the 5 year average for number of fish available for spawning.

New Brunswick

Miramichi – It is still a waiting game, with hoped-for rain not materializing in any significant way. Some salmon are being angled, mostly fish that have been in the system. There is very little action at the counting fences.

Upsalquitch – The official number to Sept. 15 was 249 large salmon vs. 627 last year and 233 grilse vs. 633 in 2011.

Jacquet River – The barrier reported 49 large salmon to Sept. 15, vs. 219 in 2011, and 141 grilse in 2012 vs 344 in 2011.

Saint John River – Numbers remain critically low, with 99 large salmon to Sept. 15 vs. 612 last year, and only 84 grilse vs. 922 last year.


The season is winding down. Only the Humber, the Exploits and the Gander remain open, and while there are some salmon, the water is “in the trees” as one person put it.


Penobscot – There have been a few new Atlantic salmon at the Veazie Trap, bringing the total to 614. This is far below the wonderful 3,092 counted last year to this point.

The Great Works Dam is almost gone now. The early September photo below shows how remnants of previous structures have again seen light of day, after a century.

Penobscot’s Great Works Dam Gone. Photo Penobscot River Restoration Trust.


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