Live Release Can Help Save the Day

Grilse being released, Bonaventure River, Gaspe this past week.

Grilse being released, Bonaventure River, Gaspe this past week.

Now is a time for live release. Overall, this year there is continuing evidence for concern about numbers, especially in Quebec and New Brunswick. It can make the difference between a poor spawning period and one where the numbers are closer to average for recent years. You can make that difference, and ASF is asking anglers to take that extra step.

Good live release techniques need to be learned, and then need to be shared among angling friends. Check out the excellent video that is available on both YouTube and Vimeo from ASF. Click here

In New Brunswick there is a great incentive to buy a live release license – the New Brunswick Salmon Council offers a contest, and there is a card to fill out and send in. In addition your name is placed on a page of honour – the ASF Live Releasers

Special River Report from Northern New Brunswick

ASF’s Geoff Giffin has been travelling to camps and visiting river pools across northern New Brunswick. Below is his special report this week:

“In the last couple of days, I had the opportunity to visit some camps on the Upsalquitch, Kedgwick and Restigouche rivers. There is general agreement that the number of fish caught to this point in the 2014 season is about a quarter to half of what would be considered a normal year.”

“For the most part, the fish being caught have been in good health with the exception of some that appeared to have cuts on the fins and other similar injuries earlier this season, and others that have had red sores. One grilse caught two weeks ago on the Upsalquitch was reported to have had numerous toonie-sized red sores all over its back and sides.  I had the opportunity to release a grilse on the weekend that was in fine condition except for a small red spot on the belly.”

“It appears that Hurricane Arthur wreaked havoc in rivers draining New Brunswick into the Restigouche and Bay of Chaleur areas, but hardly any rain fell in the Kedgwick where it had remained low. Just this week the Kedgwick received some rain and finally brought it up a bit from its description of being bone dry through much of the summer.”

Jacquet River Upper Barrier. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

Jacquet River Upper Barrier. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

“Contrast that to the Jacquet River where the river rose over 10 feet and swamped the barrier and holding pool and completely mangled much of the rebar and steel tubes used in the barriers.

Twisted supports and bent reinforcing rods from the Jacquet River Barriers give evidence of the extreme force of water during Tropical Storm Arthur. It has been a major effort to restore the barrier.

Twisted supports and bent reinforcing rods from the Jacquet River Barriers give evidence of the extreme force of water during Tropical Storm Arthur. It has been a major effort to restore the barrier. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

Staff now have the upper and lower barriers back in place and I observed a few dozen bright salmon safely holding in the sanctuary provided by the Jacquet River facility.  I also visited Kedgwick Forks Crown Reserve Pool and the number of fish holding in the sanctuary of that pool, which is watched closely by DNR wardens, is half of what they would normally see in the pool this time of year.”

“Everyone is very disappointed and very concerned that the salmon protection barrier will not be installed at 10-mile Pool on the Northwest Upsalquitch.  According to DNR, a number of circumstances led to this decision including the need to replace much of the infrastructure (shelters, generator, tanks, etc) at the site.  DNR has assured us that they will be working closely with DFO to ensure that there will be increased enforcement presence as a result.”

Bright 36-inch female released on the Upsalquitch this past weekend by Ben Giffin. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

Bright 36-inch female released on the Upsalquitch this past weekend. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

“A few camps did indicate a slight bump in the catch rate in the last couple of days likely due to the welcome rise in the Kedgwick and Restigouche rivers as a result of some needed rain.”

“Perhaps of greater concern is the fact that some camps are reporting a reduction in the number of parr being seen and caught in some areas. I’ve noted this in discussions with people both within the Restigouche watershed and in parts of the Miramichi drainages. I am curious as to whether this is being observed elsewhere as well.”

Other Notes from Northern New Brunswick

Signs at Larry's Gulch this week. Photo Geoff Giffin

Signs at Larry’s Gulch this week. Photo Geoff Giffin

Kedgwick – Donald Sullivan of the Kedgwick Salmon Club says that there has been a bump of waster in the last couple of days, and there appear to be more salmon around – and they are taking flies. He notes that a group in on Monday and Tuesday of this week connected with 19 salmon. At the same time, he notes the Club is 200 salmon below where it was last year. Donald Sullivan also noted that at the Kedgwick Salmon Club they had not been seeing the small grilse reported from so many other rivers.

Restigouche – Bill Harnett of the Restigouche River Lodge was noting there had just been a bump of water that should help in the next few days, but that overall it had been slow fishing though the season.

Jacquet River – The barrier had counted 22 large salmon and 24 grilse as of July 27, vs. 32 large salmon and 66 grilse in 2013 to the same date. Note that the barrier was out of commission following Tropical Storm Arthur.

Jacquet River Barrier to July 27

Jacquet River Barrier to July 27

Miramichi – The tropical storm Arthur did more than just drop trees on roads and raise the water levels on the river and increase the silt load. It also took out the counting fences and other trap net facilities, and now the scientists are in a bit of a quandary on how to fill in the data gaps.

The barrier was smashed with the force of the water and full-sized trees coming downstream on July 5, and even with Herculean efforts to rebuild, by the time the water subsided, debris cleared and the structure rebuilt, it was not able to begin counting salmon again until July 24. The question is how many Atlantic salmon passed upstream during that period. The table below provides historical data from the Dungarvon barrier back to 2002.

The Dungarvon Barrier disappeared into the flood waters of July 5, and was not in full operation again until July 24. How many Atlantic salmon passed upstsream?  How many dropped down and then went upstream again?

The Dungarvon Barrier disappeared into the flood waters of July 5, and was not in full operation again until July 24. How many Atlantic salmon passed upstream? How many dropped down and then went upstream again?

WillDoyle releases a grilse on the Northwest Miramichi July 12 this year.

Will Doyle releases a grilse on the Northwest Miramichi July 12 this year.

While the barrier counters have been out, anecdotal evidence has shown that some Atlantic salmon have come up through the system in recent days. Water temperatures have dropped a bit as nights have been cooler. Morning angling is one’s best recourse. Meanwhile the levels have been good for fishing.

Mark Hambrook noted that some anglers on the Little Southwest had seen some success with hooking up with the salmon – and also there were a few new salmon in the trap nets Monday and Tuesday. But overall, he noted the activity was slow at the moment.

 Quebec

Due to apparent low numbers, most rivers have implemented Live Release for all salmon measuring 63cms or more.  By the same token, with a bump in water in many rivers, angling action has improved and some new fish have started to appear.

Matapedia RiverLive release in effect as of August 1

To July 29, 607 fish were landed (including 88 releases).  A decent amount of rain received on July 28 and 29 increased the flow to 43 cubic meters per second from 17 on the 27th.

The in-river count was completed last week, and CGRMP management decided to use a precautionary approach based on the results.  Majority of fish observed were 3 SW salmon with few 2 SW and fewer grilse than usual.

To July 30 2013, 907 fish had been reported landed (including 108 releases), on the same day the river was flowing at 15 cubic meters per second early in the AM and by midnight was flowing at 23 cubic meters per second.

At the same date in 2012, 612 fish had been reported landed (including 52 releases).  In 2011, to date, 1,557 fish were reported landed which included 208 reported releases.

Causapscal River – Season was to July 15

As of July 23, 445 salmon and 20 grilse have migrated to the “Marais” sanctuary pool.  One individual was estimated at 45 lbs.

For the 2013 season, 866 migrated to the sanctuary pool, in 2012 481, in 2011 1,224

Matane River – Live release was implemented on July 23

Matane Fishway. Photo Charles Cusson/Atlantic Salmon Federation

Matane Fishway. Photo Charles Cusson/Atlantic Salmon Federation

As of July 29, 622 fish (393 salmon and 229 grilse) had migrated through the fishway.  As of July 28, for the season, 78 fish had been landed, 38 large salmon killed to July 22, 2 salmon reported released and 38 grilse killed.

As of July 30 2013, 1,388 fish (1,059 salmon and 329 grilse) had migrated though the counting facility.  Also to date, 240 fish were reported landed (156 salmon and 84 grilse).

As of July 30 2012, 1,375 fish (766 salmon and 609 grilse) were counted.  Landed to that date totaled 438 fish (225 salmon and 213 grilse).

Sainte-Marguerite River

To July 28, 28 salmon had been reported released and 4 grilse killed.

To July 30 2013, 98 fish had been landed, 89 salmon were reported released and 9 grilse retained.

At the same date in 2012, 131 fish had been landed (122 salmon and 9 grilse).

Aux Rochers River – Live release was implemented on July 13

To July 29, 298 fish had migrated to the trap (181 salmon and 198 grilse).  Also to July 29, 103 fish had been landed, 57 salmon released, 6 salmon killed, 5 grilse released, 35 grilse killed.

To July 30 2013, 494 fish had entered the trap (377 salmon and 77 grilse) for transport around the falls.  To date, 186 fish have been landed (122 salmon released, 25 salmon retained, 4 grilse released and 35 grilse retained).

Anglers on the aux Rochers River.

Anglers on the aux Rochers River.

Trinité River

As of July 29, 247 fish (69 salmon, 178 grilse) have migrated through the fishway.  To date, 10 salmon have been reported released, 1 grilse released and 10 grilse killed.

The total run for 2013 which migrated through the fishway was 398 fish (226 salmon and 172 grilse).

Mitis River – Live release was implemented on July 23

To July 29, 129 salmon and 54 grilse had been counted and 5 salmon and 3 grilse retained.

To the same date in 2013, 612 salmon and 282 grilse had migrated to the counting facility and 137 had been killed, 3 released and 91 grilse retained.

Madeleine River

To July 29, 219 salmon and 129 grilse have been counted via the fishway for a total of 348.  At July 23 2013, 1,011 fish had migrated via the fish-way.

Rimouski River

To July 29, 50 salmon and 6 grilse have reached the counting facility.  To date 10 salmon have been released and 2 grilse killed.

To July 30 2013, 386 fish had been counted migrating through (269 salmon and 117 grilse).  Also to date, 101 fish had been landed (73 salmon released and 28 grilse retained).

To the same date in 2012, 339 fish were counted (166 salmon and 173 grilse).  84 fish had been landed to that date (22 salmon released and 62 grilse retained).

York River – Live release implemented on July 23

As of July 23, 406 fish had been counted (297 salmon and 109 grilse).  The total run for 2013 revealed 1,556 fish (1,295 salmon and 261 grilse).

As of July 29, 67 fish had been released and 202 killed (breakdown not available) for a total of 269.  At the same date in 2013, 124 fish had been reported released and 102 killed for a total of 226.

Dartmouth – Live release until in-river count data is analyzed

As of July 25, 518 fish had been counted (353 salmon and 165 grilse).

As of July 29, 72 salmon have been reported released and 50 grilse have been killed for a total of 122.  In 2013 at the same date, 130 salmon had been released and 27 grilse killed.

The total run for 2013 revealed 1,137 fish (926 salmon and 211 grilse).

Gustave Pedersen releases a grilse at Falls Gully on the Bonaventure last week.

Gustave Pedersen releases a grilse at Falls Gully on the Bonaventure last week.

Cascapedia River

Society manager Darlene Sexton is reporting to July 24 a total of 914 fish have been landed for the season (over 95% released).  The river received a good bump of water over the last few days and should translate into some good numbers of the month.  The figures for July will be available next week.  Darlene also mentioned that an in-river count will be attempted by mid-August conditions permitting.

Newfoundland

For a while it seemed that Newfoundland was warmer than everywhere else, with more than half the salmon rivers closed because of high water temperatures. But the heat wave has somewhat abated, and DFO has now opened a number of rivers that had been closed.

The situation is confusing, and with so many rivers changing status between closed and open, consult DFO’s own page for the listings of rivers that are open and closed at this time. The page is here:
http://www.nfl.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/NL/River-Status/In-Season

There appear to be salmon still coming in from the sea. Especially in northwest Newfoundland the water levels were somewhat high, and cooler.

Anglers on Portland Creek  hooked several fish on the evening of July 25, above the highway bridge despite battling rather high water levels at the time. Photo Don Ivany/ASF

Anglers on Portland Creek hooked several fish on the evening of July 25, above the highway bridge despite battling rather high water levels at the time. Photo Don Ivany/ASF

Exploits – As of July 27 the Exploits has had 22,888 salmon, down from 31,104 last year. But it is interesting that this year more than 5,000 have come in during the week July 20 to 27.

Campbellton River – As of July 27, there were 2,491 return, vs. 4,387 last year.

Conne River – continued low, with 1,178 returning, vs 2,550 to the same date in 2013. In the 1984 to 1993 period, the average return was 6,018 to the Conne.

Harry’s River – like many other Western Newfoundland rivers, it continues to do well, with 3,559 salmon returned as of July 27. In 2013, there were 2,803. Considering there is always a problem of illegal fishing on this river, the 2014 number is a positive sign.

Northern Peninsula

Don Ivany, ASF’s Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Programs, just completed a trip to Labrador and back down to Corner Brook.

“The rivers from Gros Morne north are very high. The St. Genevieve had good water, and a good run of fish, but no one was fishing there (on Fri. July 25). Also few fishing at the Torrent.

“Temperatures are still only at 17 to 18 C. At River of Ponds the river is still too high to fish. At Portland Creek, four or five fishing there, and they were getting some fish. Fish are certainly still moving through. This means it will likely be good fishing in August this year in the headwaters of these rivers.

79 year old Mr. Tipple who has been fishing River of Ponds since 1961 is seen spending a quite solitary evening fishing the River last week at the out flow of the first pond on the system.  There are nine such ponds on this system... Hence the name... River of Ponds.

79 year old Mr. Tipple who has been fishing River of Ponds since 1961 is seen spending a quite solitary evening fishing the River last week at the outflow of the first pond on the system. There are nine such ponds on this system… Hence the name… River of Ponds. Photo Don Ivany/ASF

Lomond had good reports as well, but from the Lomond down the Humber, water levels are getting low, and warm at 29 to 30 C. Further down, all the Bay St. George Rivers are low.”

Western Arm Brook – For some reason this river in Gros Morne National Park is doing very well, with 1,409 returning to July 27, vs. 521 last year.

Torrent River – Still ahead of last year, with 2,746 as of July 27, vs.2,661 in 2013. Interestingly, back in the 1984 to 1991 period the river only average 1,230.

Closer to St. Anthony’s – Barb Genge of Tuckamore Lodge is reporting there are lots salmon in the rivers of the northern segment of the Northern Peninsula.

“River at the Forks is filled with salmon, But they started coming in three weeks late this year. There is plenty of water, but the temperatures are coming up. But we have it cool at night, and overcast, so that’s good.” – Barb Genge

Labrador

Don Ivany’s recent impressions from angling in Labrador:

“I saw relatively few people angling in Labrador last week. There are decent signs of fish, but they are hard to connect to. On the Pinware one fellow released a 15-pounder.

“Temperatures have been really warm in Labrador. The air temperature was 35 C in the Mary’s Harbour, Charles River area.

The latest counting fence data is interesting, indicating salmon are coming in, but late.

English River – 46  large salmon and 191 grilse as of July 27, a very large increase over the week before. To the same date in 2013, the number were 26 large salmon and 64 grilse.

Sand Hill River – there have been 600 grilse and a hundred large salmon in the past week, bringing the July 27 totals to 523 large salmon and 1,662 grilse, totaling 2,185. In 2013 there were 1,222 large salmon and 1,463 grilse, totaling 2,685.

Muddy Bay Brook – Lagging this year, with 12 large salmon and 101 grilse, compared with 16 large salmon and 189 grilse in 2013.

Paradise River – To July 27 it had 28 large salmon and 142 grilse, compared with 63 large salmon and 79 grilse in 2013.

Nova Scotia

Margaree – Lewis Hinks notes that the river is up a bit. However, fishing remains slow at this time.

LaHave – Morgan Falls is reporting 20 salmon and 40 grilse as of July 30. Water levels good, with the temperature 22.7 C at 8 am. A year ago, on July 31, there were 101 large salmon and 69 grilse. The year before (2012) to the same date, there were 67 salmon and 18 grilse in what had been considered a very bad year. Where are the large salmon in 2014?

Western New England

Connecticut River – As of July 13 only 31 Atlantic salmon had returned to the Connecticut River,

Maine

The Penobscot as of July 29 saw 174 large salmon and 78 grilse, totaling 252 Atlantic salmon return to the Milford fish lift. In addition, two large salmon and three grilse were counted at Orono.  Thus the total to today is 257. Salmon continue to come in slowly. River temperatures are still high and are ranging from 23-25. C. By this time last year the Veazie fishway was out of commission for the dam removal, but had passed the previous record for low numbers – 357 salmon

Kennebec – As of July 29 the Kennebec has 13 salmon

In other rivers to July 29, the Androscoggin has 3 large salmon; the Saco also with 3 large salmon. Downeast, the Narraguagus has 2 large salmon; the Pleasant 1 large salmon and 2 grilse; and the Union River through Ellsworth has had 1 large salmon.

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One Response to Live Release Can Help Save the Day

  1. Pierre Mercier says:

    My kids were fishing last week on the Petite Cascapedia. A lot of action my son caught a large male 17 lbs and release, Boy and girls lost 3 salmon in two days….My son lost one also on the Bonaventure. Water level was almost perfect in both rivers, saw a lot of fish, and the weather was great. As usual people at the Zec were convivial.

    Pierre

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