This summer ASF’s Research Department has kept up a blog of its activities, at least when the researchers can take a little time to download some photos, and work in the office. The field season has been long and intense, and lately more than a little wet.
There was a rush to complete as much electrofishing as possible. A backpacked generator provides a stunning charge, allowing the fish in the stream to be captured, measured and then released again.
It takes concentration and ASF field staff are well trained in the use of the equipment to maximize safety. Everyone keeps exposed hands well clear of the water when the zapping charge is applied, then in a highly coordinated way collect the small fish.
The rush is now on to head north to retrieve receivers in the Baie des Chaleurs, and download the data. Also, check out this week’s Research Blog Update - a satellite tag attached to a kelt this spring popped off and began transmitting in the far north.
Also this week, Jonathan Carr is taking part in a major conference in West Virginia on land-based closed containment aquaculture that has drawn attention of members of the industry and scientists from 14 countries. Busy times.
By all accounts the Northumberland Strait season for Atlantic salmon opened well, with plenty of water, and according to Danny Ripley the salmon had already started arriving in August in the River Philip. Naturally there is optimism for the conditions, and predictions for something of a rebound in numbers this year.
Margaree – The Margaree had been slow, but a major set of rainstorms has almost certain improved conditions, making a great start for the autumn.
LaHave – Numbers to Aug. 31 are 104 large salmon vs. 27 in 2012, and 74 grilse vs. 18 in 2012. Something good is happening there.
Sackville River – Returns have been far from good on the Sackville. 3 salmon to Aug. 31, the same as last year and far below the 24 in 2010. For grilse, the number is down to 5, below last year’s 8 and way down from 2010’s 50.
Southwest Miramichi – It was a great end of August, with fine water levels and fish in considerable numbers, even if they were slow to take a fly. But now the clouds have opened up again, and with the high water, this is going to be a difficult week.
To Sept. 1, the Dungarvon Barrier has counted 225 large salmon this year against 107 in 2012, a nice improvement, and actually ahead of either the 2010 (158) or 2011 (218) counts. Nice to see.
For grilse, the 192 this year vs. 134 in 2012 is certainly an improvement, but looks anemic compared with the 434 in 2010 and 514 in 2011. Something is still happening at sea.
The Southwest Juniper Barrier numbers are interesting, with 273 large salmon this year vs. 217 in 2012. There were 231 grilse in 2013, vs. 99 in 2012, so that is something of an improvement.
Northwest Miramichi – To Sept. 1 the 200 large salmon is a major step up from the 127 in 2012, although a little behind 2010 (253) and 2011 (209).
For grilse the 156 is very slightly ahead of last year’s 149, but a mere shadow of the good years 2010 (647) and 2011 (633).
Saint John – The depressed numbers continue with 111 large salmon this year to Aug. 31, compared with 96 last year. For grilse there is a bit of daylight, with 273 in 2013 vs. 83 last year. Still, these returns are so weak when compared with 2010 (2,224) and 2011 (909).
Nashwaak – The Aug. 31 returns have 33 large salmon vs. 34 last year, and grilse 54 vs. 15 last year. As with many of these barriers, the numbers may be in error due to flood periods etc., but the comparisons with 2010 are not attractive, when 226 large salmon and 391 grilse returned.
Magaguadavic – This outer Bay of Fundy river has had 3 large salmon and 3 grilse to the end of August – plus four aquaculture escapees. Still an improvement over the single large salmon and lack of grilse in 2012.
Restigouche – The Upsaquitch Barrier is reporting 312 large salmon vs. 245 in 2012, and 279 grilse vs. 210 in 2012. Like most areas, the entire Restigouche system has seen a major rise in water levels with the rain earlier this week.
Jacquet River – The barrier is reporting 111 large salmon vs. 49 in 2012, a nice number to have, but only 114 grilse, vs. 129 last year and 504 in 2011.
Nepisiguit – There were 96 large salmon vs. 64 last week, but as reported last week, there was a considerable period when the fence was not counting. For grilse, there have been 69 to Aug. 31, vs. 129 in 2012, and 504 in 2011.
The temperatures have been cooling and the water rising. However, the season is almost over. It ends Sept. 7 everywhere on the island, except for the Gander, Exploits and Humber, where the fall season continues to Oct. 7.
Humber – Reports indicate things are cooling off in temprature, but with fish not very aggressive.
Gander – There are definitely still fish in the Gander! One angler reported hooking four fish on Sunday and two on Monday, then watched the water rise into the woods.
In Labrador, the season ends Sept. 15.
Recent precipitation in salmon country will continue the overall good angling conditions that have prevailed most of this season.
As of August 29, the Madeleine River Zec reported that 1,258 fish (1,012 large salmon and 246 grilse) had passed through the counting facility to date this season.
Although the numbers indicate a near doubling of the numbers when compared to 2012, the sobering statistic is the 30% drop in the number of grilse which has been seen in many other rivers this season.
As of August 31, 514 fish had been counted (320 salmon and 194 grilse) compared to 385 (179 salmon and 206 grilse) by the same date in 2012.
Captures to August 31 include 87 released salmon and 49 retained grilse for a total of 136. The Rimouski grilse number decline again reflects a generalized trend on most rivers. Fortunately the increase in large salmon is also a general trend.
To August 31, 1,585 large salmon and 583 grilse had been counted, totalling 2,167 fish. To the same date in 2012 for the season, 2,026 (999 salmon and 1,027) grilse had migrated through the counting facility.
Reported captures to August 31 total 626 fish (384 salmon and 242 grilse). At the same date in 2012, 742 fish had been reported landed (318 salmon and 424 grilse).
To August 31, for the 2013 season 1,216 fish have been reported landed which includes 142 released.
To August 31 2012, 763 fish including 55 releases
To August 31 2011 1,989 fish including 279 releases
To August 31 2010 1,236 fish including 157 releases
To August 31 2009 1,112 fish including 111 releases
To August 31 2008 1,409 fish which included 213 releases
To August 31 2007 993 fish including 106 releases
To August 31 2006 1,330 fish including 161 releases
The breakdown of large salmon-grilse numbers is not available until the official 2013 report is released in early 2014.
The in-river count was done on August 20 which determined that harvesting could continue until September 14. The last two weeks of the season are mandatory live release of salmon.
Stay tuned for a detailed accounting of season ending reported numbers to September 30 with comparative figures.
To date at August 31, 651 salmon and 353 grilse have been counted for a total of 1,004. In 2012 at the same date, 918 fish (560 salmon and 358 grilse) had been counted.
Captures to date are reported to be 276 (27 large salmon released, 118 salmon and 131 grilse reported deceased). The reported captures to the same date last year were 259 (22 salmon released, 101 salmon and 136 grilse deceased).
This season, to August 31, the crystal blue green waters of the “Bonnie” has produced the following:
1,090 fish had been landed of which 915 large salmon were released and 175 grilse were retained. At the same date in 2012, 973 fish had been landed, 993 large salmon releasedand 280 grilse retained.