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Reading the Patterns of Salmon Returns

Here and there the weather is finally turning warm – and almost hot, which some would say is about time, it now being July. The downside is the dropping river levels and rising water temperatures.

Video: In New Brunswick, we all hope the Petitcodiac and the Pollett Rivers will  begin their recovery this year. There were good early signs. In the early 1950s, Dr. Paul Elson did remarkable research Рthe first studies of the Atlantic salmon productivity of a river, and it was completed on the Pollett. This included the number of eggs laid, fry numbers, parr densities, smolt runs, etc. His work is still the basis of productivity estimates for salmon rivers in North America. He took home movies of his work Рand below is a 5-minute excerpt. It shows what the Pollett River is potentially capable of becoming again in future.

Some updates of rivers and returns:

New Brunswick:

Restigouche River

Restigouche – There are considerable numbers of large salmon moving up. At Three Sisters Pool Crown Reserve, one group brought in (and released) 10 large salmon and 1 grilse, but also hooked 10 to 15 large salmon that were not landed – all the above in the first few days of early July.

Just before, at the end of June, another group on the same pool had 30 large salmon on line, and 5 grilse.

Upsalquitch –¬† Excellent fishing for both large salmon and grilse this past week.

NW Miramichi, Sevogle & SW Miramichi – Sections of these rivers are now live release only, as of July 6. Read more at:


Penobscot: The returns of salmon at the Veazie Dam trap have now reached 2,874 as of July 5. This is fine news indeed. But temperatures are rising. Meanwhile the Saco has seen 82 come back.

Narraguagus – 106 returning Atlantic salmon have been recorded on the Narraguagus as of July 5. More than 70% are large salmon – and the total return to date is greater than any return since the late 1980s.


Water levels are dropping, and Atlantic salmon runs are now increasing

Torrent River Fishway 2011

Torrent River – Late July 5 three salmon finally showed up in the Torrent River Fishway, almost two weeks after the run usually starts. Then on the morning of July 6 more than 30 were passing upstream, so the run is definitely underway.

Exploits River – run to July 3 was 6,333, continuing far below the record of 16,637 set last year to this date.

Conne River – 1,056 to July 3, well below the 1,454 of 2010, and average of 1,697 for the 2006-2010 period. Reminder that COSEWIC has designated the south coast rivers as THREATENED, and the Conne River returns tend in that direction.

Harry’s River – the 1,835 seen to July 3 is not comparable to other years, since the counting facility is near tidewater. An electronic DIDSON unit is being used for the first time on the river.

Nova Scotia

LaHave – 64 salmon and 249 grilse have gone through the Morgan Falls Fishway. However, water levels are rapidly dropping, and water temperatures rising past 23 C.

St. Marys River – no reports on the salmon coming in, but river levels are dropping rapidly now.

St. Mary's River – Rapids


Reading the Patterns of Salmon Returns

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