The Angler with a Broken Rib, and Other Stories from Salmon Rivers

Lewis Hinks, ASF’s Director of Nova Scotia Programs, is devoted to Atlantic salmon rivers, to the heritage of angling, and to the enjoyment of time on rivers, whenever he can get it.

He also is skilled in sea kayaking, and in August was taking a special course on controlling sea kayaks in surf. He was holding his kayak near shore when another participant lost control of the kayak as it surfed in and hit Lewis in the back. The blow provided a large bruise, and considerable pain as well.

The following weekend he was booked  to go salmon angling in Gaspé, in what was an annual pilgrimage with close friends to that land of crystal clear rivers. There was success too, and with the help of painkillers, a great time, with salmon being released to continue their journey to spawning areas.

Only when he returned home did he have an x-ray because of the continued pain, and discovered there was a broken rib. There was no bravado in his comments on the subject – just that he was glad he could enjoy the salmon angling.

Lewis Hinks releases an Atlantic salmon in one of the rivers of the northeast Gaspé Peninsula. Photo Carl Purcell.

Lewis Hinks releases an Atlantic salmon in one of the rivers of the northeast Gaspé Peninsula. Photo Carl Purcell.

Maps that Put Dreams on a Computer Screen

Is anything more evocative than a map of a region or river you want to explore, or perhaps to seek that special Atlantic salmon?

Maps of rivers you know bring back excitement with the name of every pool, and maps of rivers you have not yet explored bring a sense of adventure and the tantalizing sense of the unknown.

Over the past few years an ever-greater number of North American salmon rivers have detailed maps on line. Sometimes they are newly drawn coloured efforts, while in other cases they are old maps scanned and shared online. The old New Brunswick river maps are indeed very useful:

  •  New Brunswick Salmon Maps
    • many older maps for the Miramichi, Restigouche, Bartholomew, etc. After clicking to bring up the river, click on the river segment square for the detailed map. Click here

River Notes

This is a great time to be out on a river across the Atlantic salmon’s range in North America. In some places like the Miramichi and Cape Breton the leaves are turning. Several areas, especially Nova Scotia, received a great sousing at the beginning of this week. The air is crisp, and the water temperatures are dropping. The insects are not an issue.

Salmon numbers may be down, but the salmon and river experience seldom gets much better than it does this week and weekend.

Nova Scotia

Northumberland Strait Rivers – a Report from Gerry Doucet:

Sunday night and Monday morning brought some much needed rain to Nova Scotia. A fast developing low pressure system provided a good soaking to the entire province Some areas on the South Shore and surrounding Halifax received over 100 mls of rain while the Northumberland Strait rivers received between 50 and 75 mls.

These rivers were flowing high and dirty on Monday evening as they crested, and many salmon anglers were able to venture out on Tuesday as the water began to clear. This is the first sustainable opportunity for the annual fall run of Atlantics to begin their autumn migration towards the spawning grounds in Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou and Antigonish Counties.

Early angling reports are spotty at this time but rain event provided a broad soaking for the Northumberland Rivers that haven’t had any appreciable rain since August.

The James River looking downstream from the TC Highway bridge, on Monday evening. Note the digger log that provides a valuable riffle for river habitat. This structure was installed by the Antigonish Rivers Association and Habitat Unlimited. Photo Gerry Doucet

The James River looking downstream from the TC Highway bridge, on Monday evening. Note the digger log that provides a valuable riffle for river habitat. This structure was installed by the Antigonish Rivers Association and Habitat Unlimited.
Photo Gerry Doucet

Margaree – Reports are coming in that the river is providing excellent conditions, and the salmon are cooperating in taking flies. The great deluge has also apparently encouraged the salmon to move upstream. And once again, fall colours are coming out to make the valley even more beautiful.

As for water levels, check this out. Compete blow-out on Monday, then back to excellent flows for anglers

The Northeast Margaree is in excellent shape for anglers at the moment, and perhaps for rest of the week.

The Northeast Margaree is in excellent shape for anglers at the moment, and perhaps for rest of the week.

New Brunswick

Miramichi – Water levels are a bit low. Fall reds, yellows and oranges are beginning to colour the hillsides. Anglers are finding the Atlantic salmon more amenable to taking a fly, with numbers of large salmon lazing in the pools.

It isn’t quite a fall run, and the counting fences aren’t showing more than one or two new salmon, but conditions on the river help make up for it.

Angling on the Little Southwest Miramichi this week. Crisp air, cool water. Great experience. Photo Geoff Giffin

Angling on the Little Southwest Miramichi this week. Crisp air, cool water. Great experience. Photo Geoff Giffin

Newfoundland

Fishing has been slow. The past several days have seen some heavy rains, and most remaining angler areas have the water too high at the moment. One report from an angler who a week ago visited the Gander: he fished Top Pool and Straight Pool at Glenwood, with no sign of fish.  Note that only the lower stretches of the Humber, Exploits and Gander are now open.

 

Dave Vardy motoring through Dark Angle Pool on the Gander River in a Gander River boat in late July, 2013.

Dave Vardy motoring through Dark Angle Pool on the Gander River in a Gander River boat in late July, 2013.

New England

Penobscot – Maine DMR is reporting one more salmon at the Milford Fish Lift, bringing the present total to 260 Atlantic salmon. Sadly, this remains among the lowest returns recorded for the Penobscot.

 Merrimack River – This river passing along the NH/MA border and then north through NH has had 41 Atlantic salmon this year. In 2013 the US Fish and Wildlife Service ended a 30-year restoration effort due to budget cuts and only limited success in maintaining numbers.

Final Word – the Hat and the Salmon

Lewis Hinks releasing an Atlantic salmon on the York River, QC. Photo Carl Purcell

Lewis Hinks releasing an Atlantic salmon on the York River, QC. last week. Photo Carl Purcell

Reports from Quebec are not available this week.

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