If anyone is an optimist, it is an Atlantic salmon angler. On many rivers anglers, guides and camp owners this week talk about the salmon moving briskly upstream, taking advantage of water levels that vary from normal to high, and temperatures that might be called cool, or no warmer than seasonal.
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With most rivers only opening on June 15 – or in some cases July 1 – angling to date has been productive with the very high water levels….but these levels are now dropping fast.
To June 11, 44 fish were landed (includes 4 releases). By the same date in 2012, 49 were landed, including seven releases. It is important to note that angling was stopped early in June this year due to very high water which is causing the salmon to scoot up river without resting in the lower reaches of the river.
The flow rate on the Matapedia on June 7 was 175 cubic meters per seconds. Just six days later it is flowing at 80 cubic meters per second.
Season started on May 15, and the first fish was brought in on May 22. To June 11, 45 fish have been landed (includes 8 releases). By the same date in 2012, 73 were brought in, including 14 releases. The Causapscal was also closed for a period of five days since the start of angling season due to high water.
Gaspé Rivers – York, Dartmouth, St-Jean
Angling on all three rivers was slow starting in late May due to extreme water conditions but has now improved. On May 25 the York was flowing at 140 cubic meters per second and the Dartmouth at 210 cubic meters persecond. This is a lot of water for these small rivers.
Angling results reported as of June 12: York 29 salmon released and for the Dartmouth 11 reported releases. No data is available for the St-Jean as of this date. All Salmon landed on the York must be released to June 21; on the Dartmouth all season; and on the St-Jean to July 30th. Mid-season results from in-river counts determine if a harvest can be maintained on the York and St-Jean.
To June 10, Sector 1 angling results are as follows:
- Sector 1, 95 salmon killed, 22 released.
- Sector 2, 28 salmon killed, 38 released.
- Winthrop-Campbell Sector -11 salmon killed, 3 released
- Moisie Salmon Club to June 11, 9 salmon killed, 48 released and 37 fish that were hooked and lost.
Water flows on the Moisie have dropped significantly in the last week, going from 600 cubic meters per second on June 7 to 420 as of June 13. Rain will be needed further north in the Fermont region to sustain good angling conditions.
In the Restigouche River region the talk is of water levels now “about perfect”, but having been high previously. David LeBlanc of the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council notes the salmon are “moving fast this year”, and considerable numbers of 30-pounders have been noted.
Bill Hartnett at Restigouche River Lodge noted they have had seven fish over 30 pounds in the past week, the largest 38 pounds. All of this with good water levels and colder water temperatures.
In the Miramichi, water levels have been fairly high. Manley Price at Rocky Brook Camp said one fish had been brought to shore about a week ago, and a few had been hooked recently. Keith Wilson reports some fish brought in, with water levels still above normal for this time of year – too high high to fish some of the pools.
As of June 9, two grilse and two large salmon were counted at the Dungarvon Barrier, less than the four grilse and 3 large salmon in 2012, but still promising for this early date, given the good river conditions for salmon.
At the Morgan Falls Fishway on the LaHave River there have been 30 salmon and 10 grilse as of June 12, significantly better than the 20 salmon and 12 grilse last year by June 28, two weeks later.
In Cape Breton, the Margaree has a few reports of Atlantic salmon coming into the lower river, and certainly water levels have been good to high.
On the Cheticamp, Rene Aucoin notes:
So far returns seem to be quite good. About 25+ fish hooked and released so far, and about 10 released on Sunday (after Andrea) alone. Reports of many fish being large multi sea winter 10-15 lb range. Hooked 3 myself (2 large ones on Sunday at Terre Rouge and 1 large one in the 12 to 14 lb range at campground pool last evening. Water conditions excellent.
On Harry’s River, 88 salmon had passed the Didson counter, as of June 12. The Didson counters use radar echo technology to count the salmon. While they are much appreciated in British Columbia and Alaska as a counting tool, they have had mixed reviews in Newfoundland due to some difficulties in determining which fish are grilse and which are large salmon when they are near the size boundary.
Exploits – First 150 salmon through Bishops Falls, and perhaps a regular year on the Exploits. Fred Parsons notes the grilse tend to be well-fed, although it is a small sampling so far. Water levels are good and water temperatures are around 14 C to 16 C, less than last year’s temperatures. He also noted that with the poor returns last year, that it would seem the Exploits with its return of about 30,000 in 2012 was the watershed producing the greatest number of Atlantic salmon in North America.
On the Terra Nova, Kevin Stroud caught one, reported others in the past few days, either caught or hooked. Two went through the fish ladder which is about 10 miles up from saltwater. Water levels are good. Last year the Terra Nova did not suffer from high temperatures in the same way many neighbouring rivers did, but was closed for significant periods to reduce a high fishing pressure due to the other rivers being closed.
Penobscot – The past several days of rain have made the river flows go back up and are continuing to rise (approximately 50,000 cfs). Salmon continue to come in and the Veazie Trap has collected a total of 200 to date. River temperatures remain around 16 to 17°C.
Besides the Penobscot, only two salmon have been counted on the Narraguagus, and one salmon on the Saco, as of June. 10.