Every Salmon River a Universe

ASF’s “What Works and What Doesn’t” International Restoration Workshop held in St. Andrews last Wednesday and Thursday was a real eye-opener. One major point coming out of the two days was how important it was to tailor all the techniques available to each individual river. If you want to scan through blog posts of the presentations made as they happened, click here, and if you have an interest in the agenda and the abstracts of the presentations, click here.

The presentations also focused attention on details. For example, the corrugated culvert materials slowed water speed through these tubes beneath roadways and offered small parr the opportunity to find a respite in the grooves. Meanwhile smooth culverts speed up water, making it more difficult for Atlantic salmon to move upstream. Details matter.

New Brunswick

Southwest Miramichi – The latest numbers, to Sept. 22, just came in and the returns climbed significantly earlier in the past week. We now have 250 large salmon at the

Dungarvon Barrier to Sept. 22

Dungarvon Barrier to Sept. 22

Dungarvon Barrier vs 107 in 2012, and 213 grilse vs 135 in 2012.  Still not a great year, but certainly a breath of relief following 2012’s numbers.

Northwest Miramichi – Not nearly as many Atlantic salmon reached the NW Barrier this past week as at Dungarvon, but all are welcome. The Sept. 22 numbers include 214 large salmon vs 128 in 2012, and 186 grilse vs 161 in 2012. The Northwest Miramichi has a long road ahead towards returning to high numbers, but compared to 2012 this is a good year.

Northwest Miramichi Barrier to Sept. 22.

Northwest Miramichi Barrier to Sept. 22.

Overall, the river levels have remained high, but the angling has been improving somewhat. The weather for the next ten days promises to be generally sunnier yet with crisp temperatures, so this may be a good time to be out on the river, with water levels dropping slowly.

Hopefully we can all look forward to at least a decent fall run, fingers crossed.


ASF Director of New England Programs takes time out to fish the Miramichi, with this nice salmon released this past weekend, on Sept. 20, 2013

ASF Director of New England Programs takes time out to fish the Miramichi, with this nice salmon released this past weekend, on Sept. 20, 2013

For other rivers, DFO released the Sept. 15 count numbers of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia counting facilities.

Saint John River – Returns continue to be at critically low levels, with 120 large salmon vs 99 last year, and 278 grilse vs 84 in 2012. While the numbers are up, they are still showing returning numbers that indicate truly major problems.

Nashwaak River – The returns to Sept. 15 for the Nashwaak are on the same order – 34 large salmon vs 35 last year and 54 grilse vs 15 in 2012.

Magaguadavic River – The returns of three large salmon and three grilse to Sept. 15 are certainly an improvement over the single large salmon of 2012, but are also still at extreme low levels. Against those low numbers there have been 18 aquaculture escapees showing up at the counting facility.

Jacquet River – This northern NB river’s counting facility is registering to Sept. 22: 189 large salmon vs 49 in 2012, and 141 grilse vs 143 in 2012.  The low grilse numbers in 2013 has been a major topic of conversation along all of the Baie des Chaleurs rivers, including the Restigouche.

Nova Scotia

LaHave – Note that angling is being restricted on the LaHave for trout fishermen, as there have been too many reports of Atlantic salmon being hooked. The river needs help with its Atlantic salmon populations, but the conversation has certainly increased on the benefits of having anglers with eyes on the river vs the health of the fish.

To Sept. 15 there have been 107 large salmon vs 31 in 2012, and 74 grilse vs 26 in 2012. Nice to see a bounce, especially on the large salmon, and this year many are feeling there is now a chance for the river’s future. Still, we aren’t out of the woods. A modelling of the river’s salmon run discussed at ASF’s Restoration Workshop last week indicated the possibility the population could be gone in a half century unless things are turned around.

River Philip – A few fish in the lower river, and some above. Some are trickling into other Northumbeland Strait rivers. Jamie Caddick of “Chasing Silver” in Truro notes “We desperately need water in the Northumberland Strait rivers.  Most folks aren’t fishing yet. Hopefully levels will improve.”

Margaree – Atlantic salmon are coming in, and along the river anglers have been hooking up with salmon. Water had been on the low side, but the Margaree had a nice spike in flows on Monday night that should help.


Marcel Caissie releases a salmon at Double Hole on Sept. 18, 2013.

Marcel Caissie releases a salmon at Salmon Hole on the Bonaventure River Sept. 18, 2013.

The Cascapedia River Museum has a brand new website that has been up just a few weeks, at http://www.cascapedia.org . It is worth browsing through to see what is offered for permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as the materials on Atlantic salmon. It also has a fine page on the camps of the Cascapedia. As many will know, this is a river with a background of royalty, as well as doing extremely well in salmon returns, and the river users have a live release philosophy – together, its a winning combination.


DFO has not released salmon counts since Aug. 25.  It has been noted by many that there are more large salmon in many of the rivers this year. Meanwhile, things are winding down for anglers, with the main season closed.

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