A river impeded by a dam flows free again, to the delight of anglers. It is the Des Escoumins, and the photo was taken this past Saturday, June 22.
The salmon migrating back to this small Quebec North Shore river can now do so without the barrier that was impeding their return for over 100 years. Due to a fire that required dismantling of the structure, the river now flows naturally, with only a small waterfall to mark where where the dam was located. Salmon can jump this small waterfall “with their eyes closed”.
During the large tides associated with the full moon this past Sunday, the level of the lower river was almost as high as the top of the waterfall, making it even easier for the fish to continue on up to the spawning habitat. This is a gift to Atlantic salmon – and a milestone for the Des Escoumins. There will be a feature on this river’s story in the Autumn 2013 Atlantic Salmon Journal. Be sure not to miss it.
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General – Low water and low flow rates are the reality as this point, but angling news is still good. The final grouping of salmon rivers such as the Mitis and the Malbaie (Charlevoix region) will be open on July 1.
Angling to date has been quite good on the Des Escoumins River, with over 100 salmon being hooked and roughly half being landed and released. Many MSW’s have been observed and angled which is a promising sign for the rest of the season for anglers in the upper sectors.
To June 17, there were 203 fish landed, including 15 releases, while to the same date in 2012, 156 were landed, including 12 releases. It is important to note that angling was stopped early in June this year due to very high water. This high water had the effect of encouraging the salmon to continue upstream without resting in the lower reaches of the river. The flow rate on the Matapedia on June 26 was 40 cubic meters/seconds and rising slightly.
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To June 24, 124 fish were landed, including 14 releases, and by the same date in 2012, 89 were landed, including 15 releases. River levels are continuing to drop quickly.
To June 24, 195 fish had migrated through (194 salmon and one lone grilse). By the same date in 2012, 367 (326 salmon and 41 grilse) had been counted. To June 24 ,29 salmon have been retained which is exactly the same compared to the previous year. No reported releases to date.
A reminder that it is important for all anglers fishing Quebec rivers to report their releases.
As of June 24, 156 salmon had been reported released in comparison to 191 salmon released at the same date in 2012. The Bonaventure is flowing at a rate of 27 cubic meters per second, a drop of 50% in six days.
Gaspé Rivers – York, Dartmouth, St-Jean
Angling on all three rivers has been relatively good to date, but the need for more rain is now becoming the subject of many discussions along the rivers. Angling results reported as of June 24 for the York 115 salmon released, on the Dartmouth 98 reported releases. For the jewel that is the St-Jean, anglers have reported 21 releases.
Many fish were observed migrating upstream during the few days prior and during the full moon on June 23.
The Moisie is lowering at 245 cubic meters per second and dropping fast, fast, fast…
Ginette Pelletier, program coordinator for the Moisie River Protection Association is reporting angling results at June 24 as follows:
- Sector 1, 95 salmon killed, 22 released.
- Sector 2, 35 salmon killed, 38 released.
- Winthrop-Campbell Sector, 46 salmon killed, 10 released.
The native subsistence and ceremonial fishery is reported to have taken 68 salmon and 43 salmon caught on the fly.
Saint-Jean River (North Shore)
Christian Kirouac, FQSA board member reported excellent angling for the period of June 11 to 20. In the 20 plus years he has angled this river, he personally has never seen so many MSW’s. While at the 12 mile camp, Christian invited Kim Whoriskey to dinner one evening to conduct a presentation on her smolt tracking work. In Christian’s words, “the group came away from listening to Kim with a totally new perspective on the state of the resource.”
During the June 11-20 period many fish in the 18 to 25 lb range were released to continue their migration.
Aux Rochers River
Mariette Alain, DG of the Association de protection de la rivière Aux Rochers is reporting good angling to June 24. Many of the 20 fish that have been counted to date are large MSW variety (25 lb+) migrating through the counting facility.
On the angling side, 83 salmon and one grilse have been released to date.
As of June 26, 54 fish have reached the counting facility (52 salmon and 2 grilse). Unfortunately, this river which was one of the most prolific in Quebec until the early 1900’s and restored by a dedicated group in the 1980’s is now closed to fishing. Investigations point to a lack of proper downstream passage for smolts at small hydro facilities.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The first postings by DFO of counting fence numbers are now available, with all of the numbers to June 23.
Exploits – To June 23 there were 2,614 salmon at Bishops Falls, down significantly from the 4,087 in 2012. The higher number in 2012 may be a reflection of the early date of migration last year, according to Fred Parsons and others.
The numbers of salmon counted on the Exploits vary tremendously this time of year, depending on how early or late the run is. Fred Parsons noted these numbers for June 27 through the past several, and that overall there is not a pattern. As we all know, in 2012 the Exploits numbers dropped off early, during July.
- 2013 – 5,600
- 2012 – 6,200
- 2011 – 1,200
- 2010 – 6,200
- 2009 – 1,700
Campbellton River – 803 in 2013 vs. 1010 in 2012
Middle Brook – 176 in 2013 vs. 138 in 2012, a nice increase so far for this river.
Conne River – 1,704 in 2013, vs 1,555 in 2012. This is an encouraging return, given the five year average of 1,100, but still well below the 1984 to 1991 average of 2,624.
Harry’s River – The Didson counter has 648 as of June 23, ahead of the previous year’s 517.
Bay St. George Rivers – Angler reports from earlier this week noted water levels were low, and water temperatures are starting to increase. Some fish being hooked, but overall the angling is not as good as that in the previous week. Overall, the anecdotal reports are saying the number of fish being angled is slightly better than last year.
Sand Hill River – This can be an extremely volatile river as to salmon numbers. To June 23, only six grilse and 45 large salmon were recorded, compared with 129 grilse and 117 large salmon in 2012.
As to water levels in Labrador, anecdotal reports from the Forteau were saying that levels were still high.
Northwest Miramichi – Angling reports have been positive this year. Below is that of Mike Bardsley who was on the river last week:
“Fishing was great, catching was decent – we canoed the ‘Horsehoe’ on the Northwest Miramichi between Miners Bridge and Wayerton bridge, tenting for two nights. Our group landed five big salmon and two grilse – all bright as a dime. Water was perfect, fish were starting to show and everyone on the river was seeing some action. Not crazy action… but fish around, including many in the 12lb – 18lb class.”
Salmon have been later reaching the Northwest Barrier, and the counts and as expected, the counts at this point have been lower than in 2012. As of June 23 there were just two grilse and 11 large salmon, while in 2012 there were 20 grilse and 70 large salmon.
Southwest Miramichi – Anecdotal accounts have been of good fishing, with enough cloudbursts to keep the water levels up, and to help cool down the river. Thursday was also cooler than days earlier in the week, helping to keep the temperatures down.
The Dungarvon Barrier counts are somewhat encouraging. As of June 23 there were 21 grilse and 43 salmon, a significant improvement over the 2012 returns to the same date of 18 grilse and 20 salmon. Everyone hopes those numbers will continue to improve.
Cape Breton – Anecdotal information is saying that fishing has actually been good on the Margaree and Cheticamp. with many successful trips to those rivers. This week cloudbursts have helped keep the water levels up, especially on the Cheticamp.
LaHave – The Morgan Falls Fishway is reporting 85 grilse and 45 large salmon as of June 25. That is far ahead of the 12 grilse and 20 large salmon reported about the same date in 2012.
Penobscot – The returns continue to be low, with 324 as of June 26, the lowest year since 2000, and second lowest since 1983.
Other rivers in Maine, to June 25 – The Narraguagus has had 10 this year, the Androscoggin and Kennebec each two, and the Saco and Union Rivers each a single salmon.