Every river needs to be celebrated. Like magic carpets, rivers flow from highlands to the sea and we are fascinated by them our entire lives. Rivers with runs of Atlantic salmon take that magic to a different level entirely.
In salmon rivers we have creatures that grow and then at the right moment of their life development, length of day and water temperature they turn downstream and swim into the seemingly trackless oceans to swim their way unerringly to feeding grounds, and eventually back to the self-same river where they were born. It is almost like every fish has a personal sat-nav system – but one developed long before the rest of us even thought of the idea.
This early in the season the thoughts flow to the kelts; salmon that spawned last autumn, and spent the winter in the rivers, not eating. Soon they will be returning to the ocean to travel off to far feeding grounds again, repeating a miracle of migration.
Upsalquitch River Day
Last Saturday, April 25, was just such a day when we celebrated a river. ASF’s new Director of New Brunswick Programs, Nathan Wilbur, took part in Upsalquitch River Day that drew together almost 200 adults and children to celebrate that river and its salmon.
“There was still ice floating on the river, so folks were not out on the river yet.”
Nathan Wilbur was set up with a display, along with DNR, First Nations, Restigouche Watershed Council and CPAWS. It was a sharing of all that the Upsalquitch promises for the warmer months ahead. Plenty of children learning about the river in a new way, and their parents and grandparents, including river guides and camp owners sharing the latest news and the hopes of the season to come.
Many Kelts in the Miramichi
Nathan Wilbur was out on the water on Sunday, April. 26.
“We put in at the Priceville Foot Bridge and motored upriver a few kilometres to the area near Wilsons, checking out the edges of the river. There was a bit of ice here and there on the shore, but none floating down the river. The water level was high but had come down about a metre in the previous three days, and it was perfect spring fishing levels.”
“We released three smaller kelts, and hooked a couple of others. One had a hook in its mouth from last fall that we removed as well. The condition of the fish looked normal for kelts. One was quite colourful, and a couple were looking quite bright.
“We ran into friends and they said they had released about a dozen kelts. And the folks we talked to at Wilson’s were all catching fish. It was a great day, and an interesting start to the season.”
Obviously both water and air temperatures were on the cool side, but that just adds to the spring experience.
Northwest Miramichi – Reports are that ice is still holding back the angling.
Penobscot – The Milford fish lift went into operation on Monday. This year there are apparently some small changes being made to smooth the operation there – adjustment of stop logs, etc.
Cheticamp – While there is no salmon season yet, ASF’s Director of Nova Scotia programs did note that anecdotally there were more kelts than usual in the river this year.