Salmon Waiting for Rain – and Some Will Get It

Low water in the Nashwaak River will mean salmon "hunkered down" in pools, waiting for the water flow to increase. Taken Sept. 10, 2015. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Low water in the Nashwaak River will mean salmon “hunkered down” in pools, waiting for the water flow to increase. Taken Sept. 10, 2015. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

For taking a late summer vacation, the period leading up to Labour Day Weekend and into the beginning of this week was wonderful. Clear skies and warm temperatures across a large area of eastern Canada and Maine.

The downside has been the present low water conditions with warmer than normal temperatures. The temperatures are dropping somewhat but that rain is needed before Atlantic salmon start being active again, and begin moving up the rivers.

New Brunswick

With the very, very low water,  angling reports have varied from dismal to “lukewarm positive.” Note that the Little Southwest River did get a bump of water early Thursday. And on Friday, Sep. 11 heavy rain is falling.

Most areas are expecting a considerable rise of water on Friday into Saturday with a major disturbance passing offshore.

Syd Matchett up the Northwest Miramichi notes the salmon are mostly lying in the deep pools waiting and showing little enthusiasm for anglers. “They might nose something, but drop right back down,” he said. “They are laying in the pools upstream of where I am, and in the pools downstream of where I am.”

Debbie Norton noted that some younger anglers had some moderate success, connecting with a salmon in a recent evening.

Brock Curtis of Blackville has found conditions improving:

“We have had salmon fishing weather the past couple of days here on the Miramichi, with cloudy and cooler temperatures. The forecast for today is sunny with 25C temperatures. Tomorrow we get our much needed rain.

The rivers remain low but anglers are catching fish. Last week was quite productive here on the lower section of the Miramichi.I saw a nice salmon landed last night within a stones throw of the tackle shop. More anglers are around for the fall fishing so we should hear more in the next few days. Hoping a raise in water will bring in some fresh fish.

Vince Swazey in Boiestown finds that the fish are mostly lying in the deep pools, waiting for more water and cooler conditions.

And what does the counting fence data say?

Dungarvon on the Southwest had only seen a single salmon in the week up to Sept. 6, giving a total of 154 grilse and 149 large salmon, compared with 74 grilse and 58 large salmon in last year’s abysmal returns.

The Northwest Barrier has seen three grilse pass through in the week to Sept. 6, making for a total count of 190 grilse and 64 large salmon, compared with 142 grilse and 56 large salmon in 2014.

Restigouche System

Larry’s Gulch has just shared their final numbers for the year, and since they have a long history, the results are interesting. Always be aware that the numbers depend as much on angling pressure as they do upon actual salmon numbers.

The numbers of salmon brought to a canoe or to shore. Larry's Gulch is now a total live release camp.

The numbers of salmon brought to a canoe or to shore. Larry’s Gulch is now a total live release camp.

Perhaps these numbers reflect the thinking of many – better than last year, but not nearly as good as in many past years.

Estuary of the Tetagouche River in early August, 2015. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Estuary of the Tetagouche River in early August, 2015. Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Jacquet River – The counts have certainly been low this year. To Sept. 6 there were 57 grilse and 20 large salmon, compared with 51 grilse and 49 large salmon in 2014 to the same date.

Quebec

In general water levels are low at the present time. Precipitation of any consequence does not seem to be in the cards until early next week. Overall numbers continue to show great promise for the spawning season. But in Quebec, the number of fish that have returned to date remind us that we still have a lot to learn in regards to what is going on in the ocean. In 2014 a good return was expected and look what happened – a disastrous year.

Rimouski River
To Sept. 9, 2015, 171 salmon and 652 grilse had been counted for a total of 823 fish, while in 2014 to the same date 314 fish had been counted (188 salmon and 126 grilse) . Two years ago, in 2013, 504 fish had been counted (328 salmon and 176 grilse) had been counted.

Captures to Sept. 9 2015 include 100 salmon released and 212 grilse retained for a total of 312, while in 2014 to same date there were 27 released salmon and 23 retained grilse for a total of 50.  Two years ago, at the same date, for the season, 89 salmon had been released and 50 grilse killed for a total of 139.

Fall colours along Gaspé rivers. Photo Charles Cusson/ASF

Fall colours along Gaspé rivers. Photo Charles Cusson/ASF

Matane River
To Sept. 9 2015, 1,046 salmon and 1,323 grilse had been counted for a total of 2,369 fish, while in 2014 to the same date 715 salmon and 665 grilse had been counted totalling 1,380 fish. Two years ago, in 2013 for the season, 2,183 (1,595 salmon and 588 grilse) had been counted.

Reported captures to Sept. 9, 2015 total 899 fish. 120 salmon killed, 576 grilse killed, 162 salmon released and 41 grilse released.
Reported captures to Sept. 9, 2014 totaled 347 fish. 38 salmon killed, 236 killed, 62 salmon released, 11 grilse released.

Matapedia River

As of Sept. 8 2015, 1,214 fish had been reported landed which includes 219 released.
To Sept. 9 2014, 900 fish had been reported landed which included 240 released.
At the comparative date in 2013, 1,286 fish had been reported landed which included 155 releases.

The breakdown of salmon to grilse numbers is not available until the official 2015 report is released in early 2016.

Mitis River
To Sept. 9, 2015, 1,450 fish (451 salmon and 999 grilse) had been counted.
To date at Sept. 9, 2014, 508 fish (290 salmon and 218 grilse) had been counted.
Two years ago, at the same date, 1,010 fish (655 salmon and 355 grilse) had been counted.

For the season at Sept. 9, 2015, 267 fish (50 salmon released and 217 grilse killed), while last year a total of 78 fish 27 salmon were released, 4 salmon and 47 grilse reported deceased) had been reported.
The reported captures at the same date in 2013 were reported at 311, 34 salmon released, 144 salmon and 133 grilse killed.

Madeleine River
To Sept. 9, 2015, 1,339 fish (544 salmon and 795 grilse) had been counted, while in 2014, 570 fish (308 salmon and 262 grilse) had been counted migrating.
In 2013, the closest comparative date is to Sept. 11, 1,280 fish (1,021salmon and 259 grilse) had been counted.

The number of fish landed to date in 2015 is not available at this time.  But based solely on the migration numbers to date, angler success will most likely be much better than the 77 fish landed (22 salmon released and 50 grilse killed) for the entire 2014 season.
In 2013, 158 fish had been reported landed (54 salmon released, 49 salmon and 55 grilse killed).

Godbout River
To August 30 2015, 861 fish had been counted (421 salmon and 440 grilse).
2014 comparative migration data was not available

To August 30 2015, captures totaled 353 fish (121 salmon released, 65 grilse released and 167 grilse killed.) In 2014, to August 26, 131 fish had been reported landed (68 salmon released, 16 grilse released and 37 grilse killed.

Trinité River
For the season at August 30, 642 fish had been counted (141 salmon and 501 grilse).
For the 2014 season in its entirety at Sept. 30, 300 fish had been counted (65 salmon and 235 grilse).
162 fish had been reported landed to August 30 2015 (25 salmon and 17 grilse released, 120 grilse killed).
52 fish had been reported landed to Sept. 30 2014 (17 salmon released and 35 grilse killed).

Old Fort River
932 fish had been counted to August 30 2015 (50 salmon and 882 grilse).
2,105 fish had been counted to Sept. 30 2014 (78 salmon and 2,027 grilse).
Captures to August 30 2015 total 385 fish (348 released and 37 harvested).
Captures for the 2014 season totaled 401 fish (349 released and 52 harvested).

Des Escoumins River
To Aug. 30, 2015, 95 fish had been reported landed (28 salmon and 16 grilse released, 51 grilse killed).

To Sept. 30 2015, 31 fish had been reported landed (23 salmon released and 8 grilse killed).

Migration numbers are no longer available since the removal of dam in 2013.

Nova Scotia

Margaree –

Greg Lovely wrote at 5 pm. On Wednesday:

“Just back from a hugely successful sweep of a pool on the Margaree for broodstock for the hatchery. Water is low. We need rain but the fish are still cooperating at times, ie. early morning and in the evening. Still seeing a good mix of salmon and grilse. Although anecdotal, this seems to be a pretty good year so far. The fall “bronze” fish are still to arrive. Perhaps with the next rain, we will see them.”

Alex Bainbridge of the Tying Scotsman notes there have been a few weak showers in the past few days. Conversations at his fly tying shop with some young anglers said they had a fish the previous evening, and were enjoying the river conditions. Earlier in the week, notes that he heard of 4 fish today and one of the guides told me his party raised and lost 3 but they enjoyed the experience.

Cheticamp
For an interesting insight into this river, go to the ASF Blog of the Regions – Click here

Meanwhile, René Aucoin reminds us that the Cheticamp Is a Spring river (June to mid july).  As such not much going in August and September.  Small Fall run in October.

Cheticamp River was flowing briskly in late August, following the massive rain on Aug. 22. Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF

Cheticamp River was flowing briskly in late August, following the massive rain on Aug. 22. Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF

Northumberland Strait Rivers
All reports are that these streams are in desperate need of rain – any rain, and lots of it. Last year was also a low water year, not good for these salmon runs.

Newfoundland

We are now into the fall fishing in Newfoundland. Rivers on the island were closed on Sept. 7, except for the Gander, Humber and Exploits.

Gander –
Tolson Parson reports:
Low water and poor fishing right now. There are still fish around. I heard a report of some good fishing in the Terra Nova river last week. It is supposed to rain on Saturday; maybe that will perk things up.

Don Ivany was reporting that the action in western Newfoundland is somewhat lackluster at the moment.

Up the Northern Peninsula there were some positive reports up to the end of the season.

The Latest from Iceland

Looking up the latest catch figures for Iceland rivers, it reinforces the news of good runs this year in that country that is at the heart of the North Atlantic’s Atlantic salmon world.

The best Atlantic salmon rivers in Iceland, as of Sept. 9, 2015, compared with the full season returns for 2014.

The best Atlantic salmon rivers in Iceland, as of Sept. 9, 2015, compared with the full season returns for 2014.

Notices – A couple of upcoming events have posters here:

GFC Poster ASFEC 2

The Future of Salmon - Doaktown

The Future of Salmon – Doaktown

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One Response to Salmon Waiting for Rain – and Some Will Get It

  1. J E Yvon Dery says:

    Just comming back from 3 days on the Ste-Anne (2 rods, 5 fishes), 3 days on the Bonaventure (2 rods, no fish) but a lot of stripped bass and 2 days on the Malbaie (Hautes-Gorges) 2 rods, 1fish. All fish were released alive. With a little rain, Fall fishing will be great…

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