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High Water and Cool Temps Make the Exploits a Challenge

CBC NEWS - Newfoundland

High waters, cool temps making for poor salmon fishing on the Exploits River
Local outfitter says long season means no time to panic yet

CBC News Posted: Jul 13, 2016 4:05 PM NT

Fishermen on the Exploits River say it's been tough going for salmon fishing so far this July, but not because there are fewer fish.

Heavy rains have resulted in water levels being much higher than they usually are this time of year.

That, combined with unusually low July temperatures, has created a situation where salmon are full of energy and swimming quickly up the river without stopping in pools along the way.

"If salmon are moving through, basically you're just hooking fish that are moving up the river," said outfitter Don Pelley, who has been fishing on the Exploits for more than 50 years.

"When a group of fish come through, you manage to hook a few salmon, but they don't lie in the pools so it doesn't give you much of a chance. So when they move through, basically you're fishing dead water."

Pelley told CBC's Central Morning Show that numbers of salmon on the Exploits are fine, as nearly 30,000 fish were recorded making their way up the stream last season.

He said the salmon enhancement program is to thank for that.

Not worried yet

While the season is off to a slow start, Pelley said it's not time to panic yet, as a few days of dry weather could get water levels back to where they were.

Pelley has seen seasons worse than this, and with the season open until the end of August he's optimistic that there will still be some good salmon fishing yet on the Exploits River in 2016.

"Right now we've got one of the best rivers in North America with regards to salmon production, so we're doing very good," he said.

"Usually the fishing is pretty good somewhere throughout the year at least, maybe not the first two weeks of July, like this year but I'm sure it will get a little bit better."

With files from the Central Morning Show