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Atlantic Salmon Anglers, Happiness and Beauty

Atlantic Salmon anglers don’t see the world as others do. They  have an altered sense of happiness and sense of beauty that is different from others. They dream of quiet or roaring rivers, and fantasize on opportunities to stand in waist-deep water or sit in a canoe gliding softly across a river. Those are the delights of the Atlantic salmon angler.

They are focused on a creature that remains invisible much of the time, a fish beneath the surface that is capable of bursts of speed to 20 mph, yet has an unpredictability of behaviour that some would call disconcerting.

C. D. Clarke releases a beautiful fall Atlantic salmon this September on the Miramichi

C. D. Clarke releases a beautiful fall Atlantic salmon this September on the Miramichi

Salmon anglers spending hours on the edge or in the middle of the river, see beauty in the glorious colours, shape and sheen of these wild Atlantic salmon – so much so it sometimes startles them. They see scales that change colour with the light and the shadows. They marvel at the sleek profile and sense of purpose delineated by every feature of the fish.

The fish become individuals – at least some of them do.

A beautiful profile - Atlantic salmon released in July on the Cascapedia River by Richard Barbacki.

A beautiful profile – Atlantic salmon released in July on the Cascapedia River by Richard Barbacki.

The salmon above is a good example. We had some email conversations with the angler on which of the two salmon he photographed was the most beautiful. Not which was the better photo – but which was the most beautiful salmon. We will leave you to decide, with the second salmon in the image below.

In years like 2014 the numbers of Atlantic salmon have been lower, causing concern among anglers and alarm among scientists. The concern is important for the future of the species. But to anglers the sense of concern is filtered through those extra memories of the  river encounters, and the sense of wonder at having such a beautiful creature inhabiting its waters.

That is what makes a passion. It is having the knowledge, but also the inner understanding. And make no mistake, Atlantic salmon angling is a passion.

Richard Barbacki releases an Atlantic salmon in July at the Alder Pool on the Cascapedia.

Richard Barbacki releases an Atlantic salmon in July at the Alder Pool on the Cascapedia.

River Notes

Quebec

Cascapedia – Totals for the Year 2014

Final Statistics are available for the year, below them are the numbers for 2013 and 2012. As most are now aware, the Cascapedia has been a live release river, and the numbers of this river’s runs has been very reassuring.

In the 2014 season, note that numbers are down from 2013, as they have been for the majority of Atlantic salmon rivers in North America.

2014 numbers for Atlantic salmon of the Cascapedia.

2014 numbers for Atlantic salmon of the Cascapedia.

2013 numbers for the Cascapedia River.

2013 numbers for the Cascapedia River.

cascapedia-2012

Nova Scotia

Northumberland Strait Rivers –

Gerry Doucet sends along this report:

Conditions for the Northumberland rivers remain poor with little to no rain again last week.

However the Harvest Moon produced giant tides and salmon just started showing up in the tidal pools on the River Philip and the West in Antigonish County and the East in Pictou County.

The forecast looks promising as anglers await the arrival of predicted moisture over the next few days. At the mid-point in October, the 2014 salmon season has been as poor as we have had on record.

Margaree –

John Cameron on the Margaree at Ross Bridge Pool on 1 Oct. 2014.

John Cameron on the Margaree at Ross Bridge Pool on 1 Oct. 2014.

On Monday there was a nice bit of rain to temporarily bring up the levels somewhat, but overall the low water conditions have continued, with many Atlantic salmon now throughout the system, but especially in the lower part.

Dr. John Chaisson with salmon on the line, Ross Bridge Pool on 1 Oct., 2014. Note the low water levels.

Dr. John Chaisson with salmon on the line, Ross Bridge Pool on 1 Oct., 2014. Note the low water levels.

 New Brunswick

Wednesday was the last day of the Atlantic salmon angling season in most of New Brunswick, and there were a couple of spectacularly warm and wonderful days at the end. From now until Oct. 29 the Tabusintac, Burnt Church and Bartibog remain open.

Northwest Miramichi –

The Northwest Barrier count for the week ending Oct. 12 has interesting numbers. In the week there were 30 grilse and 4 large salmon. That preponderance of grilse ties in with the comment last week by Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Adventures that anglers were catching about three grilse to every large salmon.

To Oct. 12, 2014 overall for the year, the numbers are less impressive. The barrier count is 185 grilse and 65 large Atlantic salmon, vs. 227 grilse and 250 large salmon in 2013.

The Northwest Miramichi, Sevogle, Little Southwest Miramichi, and related watersheds are such beautiful, captivating waters to spend time on that we need to make sure there will be Atlantic salmon there for the future. Continued total live release would be a start.

Paul Elson releases a 24-pounder on 9 Oct. 2014 on the Little Southwest.

Paul Elson releases a 24-pounder on 9 Oct. 2014 on the Little Southwest.

Paul Elson fished much of the last week of the season on the Little Southwest Miramichi, Northwest Miramichi, and nearby.

In the last couple of days of the season I didn’t see very many fish. I suspect they were moving up the rivers rather than lazing in the pools. Went to a couple of favourite pools on the Northwest and saw a couple of fish jump, but overall there weren’t many there.

Same went for the Little Southwest. The fish seemed to be moving up the river.

8 Oct., 2014 on the Miramichi - the leaves still on the trees. Paul Elson

8 Oct., 2014 on the Miramichi – the leaves still on the trees. Paul Elson

Southwest Miramichi –

Not a lot of activity at the Dungarvon Barrier. For the week ending Oct. 12 there were 21 grilse and 12 large Atlantic salmon.

Considerable thought is going into making the best estimate for the period the Dungarvon Barrier was destroyed by Tropical Storm Arthur. Various estimates have been put forward, but it looks like the number of fish not counted might have been in the order of 100. Click on the image below of the spreadsheet, with the estimates in yellow.

Dungarvon Barrier counts. Numbers in YELLOW box are likely numbers not counted during the period in July when the fences were down.

Dungarvon Barrier counts. Numbers in YELLOW box are likely numbers not counted during the period in July when the fences were down.

Restigouche

David LeBlanc on Thursday noted fairly heavy rains that should help bring up water levels throughout the system, and facilitate the upstream movement of the Atlantic salmon.

Rain is coming down in northern New Brunswick and Gaspe, and should help Atlantic salmon on their way upstream.

Rain is coming down in northern New Brunswick and Gaspe, and should help Atlantic salmon on their way upstream.

 

Atlantic Salmon Anglers, Happiness and Beauty

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