At last we can look forward to Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers in 2017 - now that the record-breaking water flows and levels have subsided towards a normal range.
For those areas allowing an Atlantic salmon kelt angling season, the season was largely a washout. Certainly those kelts had an easier journey downstream with such high water.
But now, we are all looking forward to beautiful conditions as shown in the photos in this Rivernotes, that have all been taken in the past few days.
Graham Chafe, ASF Biologist, releases a kelt fitted with an acoustic transmitter back into the Restigouche River near Mann Mountain, above the confluence with the Matapedia. The kelt has spent the winter in the river, not eating, and living off its own fat reserves. Once it reaches the ocean, it will likely migrate to far Greenland feeding grounds. Photo ASF Research.
Northwest Miramichi at Trout Brook, image taken May 23, 2017. Water levels are dropping. Photo Heather Dixon/ASF
This is one of those moments where we are both looking back and looking forward at the same time. Looking back at the high water levels following an extremely rainy first half of May, and looking forward towards having Atlantic salmon returning .
The water levels in May washed out much of the kelt angling season, but as we slide into the end of May, water levels are returning to a normal range.
There have been whispers of a few Atlantic salmon nosing into the Miramichi, but it is really early days yet. But checking out water levels on the rivers, we can certainly look forward to more than Brook Trout and Striped Bass in the next few weeks. Water temperatures remain COLD!
Hammond River in southern New Brunswick, taken on May 16. Water still high, but falling rapidly. Geoff Giffin/ASF
The Nashwaak, a tributary of the Saint John, as it was on May 20. Water high but falling steadily towards great conditions.
Alex Breckenridge of the Tying Scotsman notes that water levels certainly were high but have now subsided to normal levels - perfect for June 1, and his fly shop opening June 2.
Greg Lovely reports from the Margaree:
The weather here except for a couple of days has been terrible – cold and windy. The "bug hatches are on and some nice trout have been caught. The river levels have just returned to a good fishing height recently. From the few fishing reports I have heard, there have been a few kelt salmon remaining in the river, and no sign of bright salmon yet.
On May 24, Lewis took this photo of the Margaree from Cranton Bridge, and noted that water levels had declined to the normal range. Photo: Lewis Hinks/ASF
Middle River at Twin Churches on Cape Breton was also down to normal levels on May 24. Photo Lewis Hinks/ASF
From Charles Cusson, ASF Director of Quebec Programs:
With only a handful of rivers opening to angling this week, there are no captures reported to date. The vast majority of rivers will be occupied by many anxious anglers as of June 1st.
The big story has been the amount of water some watershed received damaging infrastructure and most certainly modifying pools and current directions.
Below are flow graphs demonstrating the extreme conditions that affected certain rivers (way above and beyond any normal flow for the period).
ASF's Don Ivany reports water remains high on most rivers, with Atlantic salmon season a week away.
Marine Department of Marine Resources is reporting their first Atlantic salmon at the Milford Fishlift, on May 17.
While they are not sea-run Atlantic salmon, Grand Lake Stream, west of Princeton in Washington County, has been attracting anglers this year, as always, with its landlocked Atlantic salmon. Water temperatures were cold this past weekend, and levels remained above normal, as they have been almost everywhere.
Angler in Grand Lake Stream, taken May 20. Photo Geoff Giffin/ASF
Grand Lake Stream on May 20. Hard to believe this had heavy industry - the world's largest tannery - throwing effluents into it in the 1870s. Now it is clear, clean and perfect for landlocked Atlantic salmon. Photo Geoff Giffin