This is an autumn to remember. Last week the rains came to many rivers, but especially those in New Brunswick, and the Miramichi and dozens of others overflowed into the surrounding forests. This week we might have seen Hurricane Joaquin, but instead it decided to head directly for England, and we ended up with a long series of beautiful days, the late-changing foliage finally taking on an autumn tinge. Even the roads are colourful with orange markers – but that is because there were so many washouts that crews are still filling in the margins of highways and byways.
For an ultimate good news-returning salmon story, check out Jacquet River, towards the bottom of the New Brunswick coverage.
By yesterday the Southwest Miramichi was gorgeous. The water had gone back down, and the silt load had passed along. Perfect for anglers or anyone else wanting a crisp day on the river.
At Wilson’s Camp the angling party was having some success on connecting with the salmon, and the salmon were showing more energy with the temperatures and water levels. Water temperatures are still surprisingly warm, at about 50 F.
DFO’s statistics for Sept. 30 are out and here are where things stand:
Millerton now has 1356 grilse and 544 large salmon, totalling 1,900 to Oct. 30. In 2014 there were 631 grilse and 426 large salmon to total 1,057 to the same date.
The Dungarvon Barrier had 167 grilse and 158 large salmon to the same date, totalling 325. In 2014 there were only 126 grilse and 68 large salmon, totalling 194. Conclusion: while there has been a three-fold increase over 2014, the Miramichi numbers are still very depressed. Last year there were something like 18,000 grilse and salmon return to the Miramichi, but a couple of decades ago the number was 150,000. Enough said.
The Cassilis Barrier has 1,345 grilse and 322 large salmon, totalling 1,667 to Sept. 30. By comparision, in 2014 there were 89 grilse and 73 salmon totalling 162.
The Northwest Barrier is not showing the same degree of increase at all, to this point. It has 228 grilse and 73 large salmon totalling 301. In 2014 there were 149 grilse and 57 large salmon totalling 206.
Saint John River
At Mactaquac to Sept. 30 there were 606 grilse and 90 large salmon, totalling 696. In 2014 there were 126 grilse and 68 large salmon totalling 194. These numbers fail to fully capture the long term negative impacts the Mactaquac Dam has had on the native sea-run species like Atlantic salmon.
The Nashwaak has had 197 grilse and 30 large salmon to Sept. 30, totalling 227. In 2014 to the same date, there were 46 grilse and 15 large salmon totalling 61.
Magaguadavic – The numbers of grilse and large salmon are identical for both 2015 and 2014 to Sept. 30 – 6 grilse and 3 large salmon totalling 9. However, this year there have also been 13 salmon farm escapees identified at the fishway in St. George.
Northern New Brunswick
Nepisiguit – This river continues to amaze with its return in 2015. To Sept. 30 there were 1,107 grilse and 700 large salmon counted, totalling 1,807.
Jacquet River – For this river, the theme this year must be “give them rain and they will come.” Until Sept. 28 this year the salmon return had been pitiful, totalling 89 grilse and large salmon. And then came the rains, and in they flooded. Check out the table below, but put this one in the record books for recent years.
On ONE DAY, last Friday. Oct. 2, the counting facility had 100 grilse and 162 large salmon, totalling 262. Very close to three times the previous count for all of this year in one day!
In total, Jacquet River is now at 233 grilse and 257 large salmon, totalling 490. This is more than four times last year’s 57 grilse and 62 large salmon totalling 119. Shows what a nice big batch of rain clouds can bring at the right time.
Cascapedia – The 2015 numbers for June to Sept. are in and they make a lively comparison to those of 2014. What a wonderfully productive and beautiful river.
Sackville River – To Sept. 30 there were 29 grilse and 2 large salmon, totalling 31. In 2014 to the same dates, it was a low point of 7 grilse and 3 large salmon totallng 10.
LaHave – Morgan Falls has had 154 grilse and 18 large salmon, totalling 172. In 2014 there were 42 grilse and 21 large salmon, totalling 63.
West River, Sheet Harbour – Check out the “News from the Regions” Blog on the ASF website. Unfortunately the deluge of rain that swept down about 10 days ago ripped out the counting fence. But in the late summer it found some very important facts – Thanks to the liming project and better conditions in the river, plus somewhat better condition at sea, there were a total of 34 adult salmon, mostly but not entirely grilse, returning to this limed river.
Bill Haley has had interesting success in somewhat gauging salmon moving up by watching them from Doyle’s Bridge. This week there are a fair number moving up the river.
Alex Breckenridge, the Tying Scotsman, notes there are small numbers of cars up and down the river, mostly in the lower sections. Like others, he hopes for more rain tomorrow and the weekend, but the fishing could be good once the water comes up.