Almost Autumn

Another week and September will be upon us. Hopefully that means autumn rains. Water is low in most places, and we need it. We also await the cool clear air and tinges of colour in the forest that make September special, not to mention the deepening colour of returning Atlantic salmon, the ones we hope to see in greater numbers than we have this summer.

Howard Gould releases an autumn fish on the Little Southwest Miramichi last year. Photo Paul Elson Jr.

Report Bass Sightings

ASF Asks Anglers to share sighting reports of Striped Bass in salmon rivers

There has been an alarming increase in the number of Striped Bass sightings far upstream from tidewater in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and even Labrador in 2017. ASF is now asking anglers to share their sightings in salmon rivers with our biologists by filling out a simple one-page survey. Anglers can provide valuable information in understanding the impact the Striped Bass may be having on juvenile salmon and other fish.



ASF's Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador Don Ivany reports:

The DFO Counts are posted up to Aug 20th. 

I crunched the numbers and overall returns are down 33% compared to the 2016 numbers for the same time period.  Of particular note is that counts are down on all rivers on the island. 

With only two weeks to go in the regular season it is highly unlikely that returns will pick up on any rivers in the province.

The only good news is that there has been an increase in water levels on rivers on the Northern Peninsula and most are now at medium levels or slightly above. There has been a slight increase in levels on other rivers in western and southwestern NL but water temperatures are still on the high side for this time of year, and slowing angling success. 

It would appear that Central NL did not see enough rain to change water levels in that area and most rivers remain low with high water temperatures still.  

Water levels have been fluctuating between low and medium on rivers in eastern NL. 

Angler on the Lower Humber River at Leddingham Shoals on the morning of Aug. 23, 2017.  Photo Don Ivany/ASF

In the upper Northern Peninslua, Barb Genge of Tuckamore Lodge has said the rivers are doing well:

Have a young girl and her Dad from Nova Scotia fishing,,and they were finding lots of fish. They just realesed 2.  They can't believe how healthy the river is.  

Have a former Newfoundlander from Calgary:  He fished last Saturday in the afternoon and Sunday in the morning, with four released on Saturday and two on Sunday. He found it to be the best fishing he had experienced on the island.  He informed me lots of fish in the river.  He fished a completly different place than the present guest.  Two different guides were reporting, so all is well here with water levels and salmon.


Don Ivany also reported on Labrador rivers, noting the Aug. 20 counts from DFO:

In Labrador, large fish returns are down on the Sandhill by about 50% from last year while grilse numbers are up by about 33%.  However grilse numbers are down on all other monitored rivers in Labrador.  Overall, large fish returns are up on two rivers and down on two rivers compared to last year.

Water levels have also risen on most rivers  in Southern and Central Labrador.  Hopefully, the rise in water levels will allow fish that have been held up in most rivers to now make it to their spawning grounds.

Mike Crosby of Flowers River Lodge notes:

Water at the present time is high at Flowers River, which has slowed the fishing down. Our anglers are still catching fish and we expect the fishing to pick up as the water drops.

Flowers River has spectacular sections of river that can be wonderful salmon angling territory.  Photo Don Ivany/ASF


Charles Cusson, ASF Director of Quebec Programs, reports:

Water levels continue to be abysmally low.  Although anglers are having some success on certain rivers, any help from Mother Nature will be received with thanks.

On the Cascapedia, Darlene Sexton is reporting 246 salmon released for the month to August 21st.  In the last week, flow on the river started at 13.6 cubic meters per second, spiked to 16.6 to settle back down to 14.4 by August 23rd.

Note that data used in the Quebec section of the ASF RIVERNOTES are sourced from various river websites, social media and Quebec government sources.

The latest available numbers:

New Brunswick

Like Quebec, more rain and lots of it would be a most welcome change to what has been one of the driest summers on record.


Recent photo at the Cruikshank Pool on the Sevogle River, a tributary of the Northwest Miramichi. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

Nathan Wilbur, ASF Director of New Brunswick Programs, notes that while there hasn't been much action, in the last day or two there has been a report of some active Atlantic salmon in the Blackville area.

DFO has posted the mid-August trap counts, and they do make interesting reading.

These trapnets, the Cassilis for the Northwest Miramichi and Little Southwest Miramchi, and the Millerton trapnet for the Southwest Miramichi, capture a portion of the salmon travelling up from the sea. The concern is the drop in large salmon especially, but overall the numbers are in the same category as other years within the recent series - all at the historically low end of returns to the Miramichi. Undoubtedly the lower water levels have been a factor, but it remains unclear what other forces are keeping the numbers low, although over-winter survival at sea is of concern.

Angler on tight water on the Sevogle River.  Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

Elsewhere in New Brunswick, the low water is contributing to low Atlantic salmon numbers.

Upstream to FV Meadows on the Hammond River, a Bay of Fundy River that flows into the St. John. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF

On the Nashwaak, Nathan Wilbur inspected the low water conditions on Aug. 23.

The Nashwaak on Aug. 23, 2017. Time for some remedial rain to fall.   Photo Nathan Wilbur/ASF

Jaquet River

Numbers are just in for the Jacquet River in northern NB. A modest group of grilse are in, but no large salmon. River levels are low.

Nova Scotia

Gold River in Nova Scotia is one of the exceptional rivers in the province with good water levels, thanks to some recent intense storms.  Photographed on Aug. 23, 2017. Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF

West River Sheet Harbour, where a lime doser project is bringing the river back to life, the low water remains a problem. Photograph taken Aug. 22, 2017.  Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF

Lewis Hinks, ASF Director of Programs for Nova Scotica and Prince Edward Island, notes the mixed reports on river flows:

Water levels appear to vary across the province. Recent rain has had a bit of a positive impact on some rivers on the western mainland, but rivers on the eastern end of the province are still very low. Very warm weather recently has also added to the problems associated with low water. Cooler temps are in the forecast but a good soaking is needed.


Greg Lovely
says of present conditions:

The last rain we had did little to raise the levels of the Margaree. New salmon are coming in on these very high tides of the last few days and are concentrating in the pools in the lower part of the river. I have seen and heard of fish being hooked. The striped bass are busy now feeding on the baby alewives on their migration from Lake Ainsley to the Gulf of St Lawrence.

Today (Fri., Aug. 24, 2017) there were showers in Cape Breton, but they appear to have missed the Margaree and Cheticamp area largely untouched, unfortunately. The showers have crossed Newfoundland in a narrow band that could be good for rivers in the western part of the Central Region, such as the Exploits.