Almost without seeing the change, a cold, wet and icy late spring has changed into early summer.
We are now past the opening date in many jurisdictions. Trees are leafing out, water temperatures are beginning a slow rise, and dropping water levels make conditions fishable.
Penobscot: Everyone is watching carefully the returns this year. Year before last the returns were wonderful, but plummeted in 2013. Water levels have dropped enough for the brand-new Milford fish lift to be working now, and as of May 27 six Atlantic salmon had been assessed there. Given the endangered status, everyone would like to see improved returns this year.
From Debbie Norton comes word that some bright fish have been seen on the Northwest Miramichi. Indications are that the Northwest Miramichi reached only 40% of its conservation minimum in 2013.
The most exciting news so far in 2014 is that the Metepnengiag First Nations Band Council has decided to keep gill nets out of the water. This forward thinking decision shows a wise understanding of what is best for the river and its Atlantic salmon at this time. It shows a connectedness with the river’s future.
Meanwhile, the striped bass fishery, which was being extended several days, has been good.
Restigouche: David Leblanc notes:
“Only a few fish were caught yesterday on the main stem, two at Restigouche Salmon Club, two on the Matapedia, and few on lower Restigouche… Water is nice, little bit above the average but dropping, still at 10°C”
It is too early to say that the season is anything other than spotty. Water levels have been dropping, in some rivers faster than others naturally. No salmon on the Causapscal River have been reported as of Monday morning.
The cold opening season weekend appears to have delayed returns this year. ASF’s Don Ivany has this to say:
“All reports of the start of the angling season in Nfld this past week-end appears to be one of the bleakest in years. While water levels and water temperatures on most of our early run rivers were near perfect, most anglers say they never saw a fish, or heard of any fish being caught.
As of today (Monday, June 2) I am only aware of one small grilse (about 2lbs) being caught on Southwest Brook by an unknown angler, and one hooked and lost on Robinson’s River by SPAWN President, Keith Cormier, and that’s it. So it would appear that poor returns in 2009, coupled with increased quotas in net fisheries in recent years, and a late spring with very heavy ice conditions that continue to persist all along the entire Labrador coast, down through the Strait of Belle Isle, and all along the East coast of the Northern Peninsula as far south as white Bay, have all contributed to a very poor start to the season.
Let’s hope many of the fish are just late because of all the ice, otherwise this may be a very poor year!
The map of Ice Conditions from May 29, last week, shows the difficult sea conditions faced this year by salmon. Red indicates 9/10 and 10/10 ice cover.
For anglers, this year’s Angler’s Booklet and descriptions of the salmon rivers labels the rivers by the maximum numbers of tags allowed. Live release is always the best, but the listings do make it clear to the angler the maximum take.
In addition, the pdf of the map helps visually.