Salmon fishing friends – I thought you might enjoy a little report and the attached photos from the tail end of the New Brunswick salmon fishing season. 2011 saw a great run of salmon on many rivers on both sides of the Atlantic; the Miramichi and its tributaries were included in the good fishing. At Campbell’s and Keenan’s we easily surpassed our catch record for the season, and with a little lower average height of water to help hold the fish in the pool it might have been even better…but it was plenty good enough! About 40% of the fish that we caught were salmon as opposed to grilse, and Jason Curtis’s wife Jennifer had the largest. We put it in the book as 38 pounds. Perhaps most notable was the best early season fishing in years. We had fish holding in the pool in late May, and June was by a wide margin the best one for us in the last 5 or 6 seasons.
We had great hopes for the Cains fall fishery, but with the water low and dropping for almost the entire last few weeks of the season our section of the river came up a bit short. Only a dozen fish were landed from the Mahoney Brook waters in the last two weeks, but among them was a large cock salmon taken from right in front of the camp. That fish, and a lovely hen on 5/29, were my most memorable fish of the season.
Lloyd Curtis and I fished the Mahoney Pool downriver from the Cains camp on Thursday 10/13. To our surprise, though the pool was so low as to be nearly without any flow of current, it was filled with fish. When a flock of mergansers flew close over its surface salmon boiled and jumped all over the water for a good 250 feet! Getting many of these “fish in a barrel” to bite was another story, though we did manage a couple. The forecast changed during the last day or two of the season, and it rained heavily on Friday night. Saturday, the last day of the season, began with the water very low but beginning to raise. The salmon were on the move upriver in a big way. Everyone saw fish in the water right next to them, and they were jumping and porpoising out of the water as they made their way upriver all day long. We guessed that more than a 1,000 salmon swam through the narrow slot at the head of the home pool. We landed just one of these fish and had one other on the line. Everyone knows that rapidly rising water is not good for hooking fish, still it seemed as if there were so many salmon that we should have hooked a few more. In the end, though, it was a great experience just to watch all those great fish in close quarters, and to be there with them as they headed for their spawning grounds at the end of such a memorable season.
If you want a full resolution picture of any of the photos let me know. The pictures of the cock salmon and of the angler fishing through the leaves were taken by George Watson.