Editor's Note: While the main site of the ASF RIVERNOTES has some well-deserved maintenance, we are posting the next several issues on ASF's main site.
A Quick Look Back at 2015
The scientists have done all their calculations following on-the-ground assessments and we can say that 2015 was definitely an improvement over the near disasters in the previous few years. Some very important rivers still have very depressed numbers, including the NW Miramichi and SW Miramichi, but at least the direction offers hope for the future.
Below are the percentage attainment of salmon egg conservation limits in a few selected rivers in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence:
SW Miramichi 91%
NW Miramichi 78%
Morell (PEI) 34%
The numbers are better, but still not high enough, as the level of 100% means barely enough to sustain the population, with no surplus for harvest.
In the Bay of Fundy and southern Nova Scotia the results remain critically low, although an uptick in Penobscot River returns is definitely encouraging.
Saint John 2%
Other areas will be covered either in sections below, but to see a better overview of the STATE OF THE POPULATION, download ASF's 4-page summary. CLICK HERE.
In the photo at right, Swedish angler Stephan Sandberg shows a beautiful silvery large salmon released on the York River in Gaspé on the last day of May this year. Great colour!
(credit: Quebec Sporting)
A note on a sampling of last year's egg attainment in Quebec Rivers:
Jacques Cartier 30%
À Mars 101%
De la Trinité 76%
Quebec is now instituting a new 10-year management plan for Atlantic salmon that will see many rivers needing to attain higher return rates before any harvest, but also promises to provide assessments earlier in the season. More in a future edition.
From ASF's Charles Cusson this week:
A vast number of rivers opened their season on June 1, but angling started as of May 19 on the Causapscal River and as of May 25 on the Moisie, York, Dartmouth and St-Jean rivers. Some fish have been spotted and landed to date but river levels have been dropping fast, but it seems Mother Nature will be helping out during the next few days. Next season opening dates are June 15 and July 1.
2016 marks an important change to Atlantic salmon management in Quebec. Except for a few rivers, Moisie, Natashquan, St-Jean (North Shore) as of June 1, York and Patapedia as of July 1, all large salmon must be released until a mid-season abundance assessment can be made. The English version of the new management plan is expected very soon.
Reminder to anglers fishing Quebec Rivers, take the time to report your releases in order to have the most accurate angling statistics and for the river managers to accurately calculate angling success. Tight Lines.
York Dartmouth and St-Jean (Gaspé) There have been sporadic captures and releases to date as Stefan Sandberg of Sweden angling on the York can attest. The best is yet to come.
In the Northwest Miramichi a few bright salmon are showing up, and in the Lower Restigouche the odd large bright salmon is coming in.
The year 2016 provided a very strong black salmon season, and the fish, both large and out-migrating grilse, were generally in very healthy condition as they moved downstream.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Don Ivany, ASF's Director of Programs for Newfoundland and Labrador, was out on the water for the opening of the Atlantic salmon season.
"The season began with rain, fog, cold. It was perishing cold on the hands early on, but it did warm up by noon.
On Middle Barachois the fishing was spotty at best. One was angled at Hole in the Rock. I saw one angler release two, and two other anglers had singles apiece. Water conditions were good - medium to high, and cold.
On Crabbe's River, didn't find any "inside", but a few down near the trestle, close to the ocean.
On Robinson's, one big fish was found below the highway bridge. On the Codroy, a few fish were found.
Best reports in the region came from Southwest Brook. River was a bit high, but 16 fish were angled in the lower part of the stream.
Overall, the salmon seem to be coming in on schedule. It wasn't the best Opening Day, but alright."
As to the 2015 assessments, there was a very large return of grilse to Newfoundland, and the egg deposition numbers indicate overall health in the populations:
Harrys River 147%
Meanwhile, in LABRADOR, the numbers were also high:
Sand Hill 95%