ASF RIVERNOTES Aug. 23, 2018


  • Many Salmon Pools on Miramichi Open Again as water temperature drops. Click here
  • Margaree time restrictions removed. See Margaree section below

Shorter days and longer nights on salmon rivers. The Upsalquitch River in early September. Nathan Wilbur/ASF


Dark Skies on a Salmon River

Now that the end of August is in sight, the nights are getting longer, and for anyone staying on a wilderness river that hosts Atlantic salmon, those late August and September skies can be very dark. For some, it will be the darkest sky they will experience during the entire year.

The salmon are certainly the main draw, but that that dark sky at night can enhance that experience. Perhaps taking a half hour to explore the sky will enhance the whole salmon river experience.

If this might interest you, there are several excellent apps you might add to your smart phone to help you navigate the sky as elegantly as you navigate the river below. In that dark sky there are not just constellations and star groups, but with the dark conditions even some of the deep sky treasures can be seen, either just with your eyes or with binoculars. Items like the Andromeda galazy, and the globular cluster M4. Things you may have never seen before.

My favourite app is SkySafari plus. It costs about $13 but has enough bells and whistles for anyone who wants to enjoy the night sky. It has features such as being able to point at a place in the night sky, and the display shifts to show that very segment of the cosmos.

It even has a button to push to turn everything red to help keep the pupil's in your eyes larger. Pretty slick. The app also has an incredible array of adjustments possible - the maximum magnitude for stars, how many names show up, details on stars, planets and deep sky objects. It isn't hard to learn, as it is very intuitive.

In late August the Milky Way with all its wonders is directly south at 10 pm. The SkySafari Plus app offers red view for night vision. One can change the percentage of star names that show up, decluttering the view on the phone's screen.

Dark skies above, salmon below. Do they see anyting of the night sky, and does it register with them? Question to ponder on a calm night.

One final point, there is one constellation I always rename in my own mind. Near the Milky Way is Delphinus, the Dolphin. But to me it is a salmon, leaping above the water and into the sky. Its a personal constellation, or as it is not official, a personal asterism. While waiting for that next Atlantic salmon, enjoy that dark sky. The stars may be blazing brighter than you will see them the rest of the year.

Officially "The Dolphin". Personally, prefer "The Salmon".

Moonrise over the Restigouche on 18 Aug. 2018. Bill Taylor/ASF


Lower North Branch of the Little Southwest Miramichi. Water is finally cooling down. Photo Bill Taylor/ASF

Nathan Wilbur, ASF Director of Programs for New Brunswick notes:

Itís been a tough summer for anglers with the heat, beginning in early July.

Thankfully, rain has come in some areas and the nights are cooling off. This is turning out to be one of those years when August fishing conditions are shaping up to be better than those in July, at least on some NB rivers.

On the Miramichi, waters have cooled off such that the coldwater pools have finally reopened for fishing (except 3 pools; see notice below from DFO). The DFO trapnets and CAST ARIS cameras on the Miramichi will show whether the improved conditions draw in salmon from the estuary. Links to those counts can be found here:  

Notice from DFO regarding coldwater pools:
This is just to advise you that as per the Miramichi Watershed Warm Water Protocol, the two conditions have been met to reopen 26 cold water salmon pools to salmon angling:  The weather forecast predicts daytime air temperature to be moderate during the next 7 days with cooler nightly temperatures AND the fish is moving out of the cold water refuges.
The following three cold water salmon pools will remain closed to fishing until December 31, 2018: 
  • Confluence of Sutherland Brook and Northwest Miramichi River, including the waters of Sutherland Brook upstream to the Highway 420;
  • Waters of the Southwest Miramichi River in Quarryville, 300 m upstream and 300 m downstream of the Quarryville Bridge, including Indian Town Brook from its confluence with the Southwest Miramichi River, upstream to Highway 108 bridge;
  • Confluence of Wilson Brook and Southwest Miramichi River, including the waters of Wilson Brook 100 m upstream of its mouth, an area locally known as the Bear Den;
Here is the notice to recreational anglers:
And the variation order listing the many pools now open again:

Brock Curtis of Curtis Miramichi Outfitters notes:

A noticeable change in temperatures late last week and rain over the weekend really changed the river conditions here on the Miramichi. River levels are nice for fishing and the water temperatures are back to normal. Our evenings are quite cool and this has had a positive affect on the rivers.The 26 cold water pools throughout the watershed were opened again today at 4:00PM. We were hearing of quite a few salmon showing last week but this week anglers are now hooking into grilse. Some with fresh sea lice on them. I expect we will hear more stories from anglers at the tackle shop this week.

On another note. One angler was telling me of catching a small silver fish on the fly while fishing salmon, approximately 3" long that he and his buddy hadn't seen before. Their best guess was that it must be a striped bass. It was caught on the lower section of the river here in Blackville. This is the first of any sightings we have heard in this regard. He was wandering if any other anglers had the same experience.


Recent downpours have cooled off and raised the Nashwaak River. Taken Aug. 21.  Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF


The Restigouche has more cold water springs, keeping it somewhat cooler than the Miramichi. But now temperatures really are dropping. This is Indian House on the Restigouche on 18 Aug.  Bill Taylor/ASF

Misty morning at Indian House on the Restigouche on 18 Aug. 2018.   Bill Taylor/ASF

Nova Scotia

Greg Lovely has the following on the Margaree:

Finally some good news. With the nights cooling off,the river temperatures have now dropped significantly.

Having not fished in over a month, I ventured out today and was rewarded with a typical 12 pound MSW wild hen. I was beginning to forget the feeling...haha

Now stakeholders in the Margaree will have to play catch up to the Miramichi and develop warm water protocols. This year was the first year ever that the Margaree river had to close because of warm water conditions.

This was an exceptionally warm summer and although I personally do not want a repeat next year,better to have a sensible protocol for our river in place so it is simple to implement when adverse water conditons come again.

FINALLY the variation order is up on DFO's website early Aug. 23 regarding removing the existing time restriction:

Pursuant to subsection 6.(1) of the Fishery (General) Regulations, the Regional Director-General, Maritimes Region, Fisheries and Oceans, gives notice by variation order MAR-VAR-2018-103 that the close time variation order MAR-VAR-2018-101 is hereby revoked. Angling in the inland waters of the Margaree River, Inverness County, Nova Scotia from the highway bridges in East Margaree upstream to Doyles Bridge on the Northeast Margaree River, including the Forks Pool and including the Gallant River upstream from its confluence with the Margaree River to the highway bridge on the East Margaree Road, may resume on August 22, 2018 at 16:00 hours.
The Maritimes Region Close Time Variation Order MAR-VAR-2018-101 is hereby revoked.http://www.mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Maritimes/Orders-Registry/Report?order_id=5453 

Newfoundland and Labrador

For the first time this summer, DFO has been slow putting up its weekly salmon count numbers. As of 9 am Aug. 23, the last one available is Aug. 12, reported on last week.

Eagle River

A nice grilse being released near Pratt Falls Lodge on the Eagle River in Labrador. Article is coming, likely in the Winter 2018 issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal.  Photo Livia Goodbrand.

Eagle River and Pratt Falls Lodge - Look ahead to the Winter 2018 issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal for salmon adventures written up by Livia Goodbrand.   Photo Livia Goodbrand.

Flowers River

Colin Baxter releasing a beautiful, bright salmon on the Flowers River Aug. 11 with another long time buddy and Flowers guide Rob Solo.

Corner Brook Stream Update

Keith Piercey this past week provided us an update on the amazing good news story about Corner Brook Stream, and its fishway. The run was literally brought back from zero.

This is the tenth year for SPAWN operating the salmon trap on Corner Brook Stream. The small stream flows through the center of downtown Corner Brook, NL and past the large Kruger newsprint mill, finally entering the Bay of Islands. The stream was blocked by the original dam back in 1925 and until a fishway was installed in the replacement dam salmon were landlocked, eventually mixing with fry placed in the stream that came from the ASF Fish Friends Program. Primary DNA in todayís salmon is inherited from the original land-locked fish!

Corner Brook Stream Atlantic salmon fry.  Photo from SPAWN

Despite major replacement of a bridge across the stream this season, the salmon have returned once again in sufficient numbers to meet the spawning requirement of 72 fish. With help of a summer student SPAWN does two checks daily and the weekends are covered off by Board Members.

That number, recorded last year, is the lowest number recorded in nine years of monitoring.  This year, up to August 15th the count stood at 101.  The attached chart shows the counts since recording the migration. The wooden trap was built by staff from DFO in Central NL and is due to be replaced. Given the Glynmill Pond, where the fishway is located, goes through great fluctuations during the summer and is the water supply for the mill, there are times when the Pond must be drained or the level lowered for maintenance. At all times we have had total cooperation from Kruger who ensures we are notified of changes and assists in any way they can.

There have been 101 salmon as of Aug. 15 in 2018 returning to Corner Brook Stream.


Charles Cusson, ASF's Director of Programs for Quebec, says:

Water levels continue to be abysmal and have reached record lows.  Although anglers are having some success on certain rivers, any help from Mother Nature bringing heavy rains will be received with thanks.
Data used in the Quebec river notes are sourced from an array of river websites, social media and Quebec government sources.

Darlene Sexton of the Cascapedia River Society writes:

I finally had some time to go over all the June and July stats and there were some that were missing with our wading and guide sections so the numbers went up a bit. It has been a strange year with such cold weather and a slow start in June, around two weeks behind, to crazy heat and low water in July and August.  Perry and Tommy were talking this morning and between them it is probably close to 75 years guiding on the river and they have never seen it this low.  There are rocks showing that have never showed before and Tommy was talking about Big Jonathan and how you can walk right around on the rocks yesterday with sock feet and not get wet.  Crazy weather.  No sign of a good rain in sight either.  We need a few days or evenings of rain to help us as well as farmers, animals in the woods, and all around.  We are more than thankful that we have had no forest fires.


Marc Antoine has been talking about doing the count for a few weeks now and has dived a few times but the water isnít clear enough to get a good count.  Hoping he will be able to do it this week or next.  Everyone says there are lots of salmon just in deep holding pools now and sticking together.

Release at Charlie Valley Rock on the Cascapedia, taken a few years ago. Photo Elaine Jewett.

Water low, but a bit of hope on 23 Aug.

Atlantic salmon passing up the Matane Fishway; a facility that offers viewing of the fish underwater.

Beautiful Atlantic salmon being released on the Nabisipi River. Martin Silverstone/ASF