Atlantic Salmon Season – With Winter Hanging On

Today is April 15, 2014, which means it is the beginning of the Black Salmon season in New Brunswick, but this is the tail end of the hardest winter in a generation. More about this in the New Brunswick section below.

Even though winter hangs on, it is still time to begin thinking of connecting with Atlantic salmon rivers. On the Penobscot River in Maine, there is a new counting facility beginning operation today, taking the place of the Veazie Trap that was demolished with the dam last year. We believe the photo of the new trap below is the first published image of the new facility.

It is also time for each Atlantic salmon angler to review their live release skills. Take another look at ASF’s Live Release Video, that is available on Vimeo and YouTube. To connect with these videos, click here.

Maine

The highlight for today is the beginning of operation for the new fish lift at the Milford Dam. This new counting and assessment facility is located on the east side of the Penobscot River at Milford, opposite Old Town.

The improvement of the fishway with new fish lift comes as the dam itself has changed hands. Milford is now one of about 14 dams on the Penobscot owned by Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, which in turn is a subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management of Toronto.

The construction of the new fish lift was completed on schedule. The fish enter a hopper, and are then raised and dumped into an upper flume. From here the returning Atlantic salmon and other migratory fish swim upstream to a facility where broodstock will be collected, as they were at Veazie.

“River herring will also be collected for stocking further upstream,” notes Don Dow of NOAA, “while shad will be returned directly to the river.”

This photo is of the main hopper at Milford Dam.  In the photo the hopper is at the top of it's lift to dump fish into the upper flume.  From here, the fish will swim upstream to a collection/counting facility where Atlantic salmon broodstock will be collected.  River herring will also be collected for stocking further upstream.  American shad will be returned directly to the river.  This facility and the Orono trap begin operation today, April 15. 2014. The image was taken about 10 days ago. (photo Don Dow/NOAA)

This photo is of the main hopper at Milford Dam. In the photo the hopper is at the top of it’s lift to dump fish into the upper flume. From here, the fish will swim upstream to a collection/counting facility where Atlantic salmon broodstock will be collected. River herring will also be collected for stocking further upstream. American shad will be returned directly to the river. This facility and the Orono trap begin operation today, April 15. 2014. The image was taken about 10 days ago. (photo Don Dow/NOAA)

New Brunswick

Barnaby River, just south of Miramichi, photographed Apr. 11. (Geoff Giffin/ASF)

Barnaby River, just south of Miramichi, photographed Apr. 11. (Geoff Giffin/ASF)

Miramichi – “Hope for warmer temperatures and rain,” says Keith Wilson. All the branches of the Miramichi remain in thrall to winter, with many anglers looking on in frustration as the ice stretches from shore to shore. Although black salmon season opened today, the general consensus is that it will be another week until anglers will be able to get on the river, and even that may be tentative.

The photos tell the story. This spring is more like the tales told from the 1920s, of late spring and low water.

 

the Little Southwest Miramichi just shows the first tanatalizing signs of melting on Saturday, April 12, 2014 (photo Debbie Norton/Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures)

The Little Southwest Miramichi  shows the first tanatalizing signs of melting on Saturday, April 12, 2014 (photo Debbie Norton/Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures)

What else is happening?  DFO has release details of the 2014 striped bass angling season. For details click here, but basically there are three seasons. Many remain concerned that numbers of striped bass are causing excess mortality in Atlantic salmon smolts as they leave the Miramichi system next month.

Restigouche – Winter still has full control of this river and its tributaries in both New Brunswick and Quebec. As of the middle of last week snowmobiles were still zipping down the middle of the Restigouche.

A photo taken April 10 on the Resigouche (photo David LeBlanc)

A photo taken April 10 on the Resigouche (photo David LeBlanc)

Present flow on Matapedia River is below any previously measured minimum

Present flow on Matapedia River is below any previously measured minimum

 

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