Friday, April 15 is the long awaited “Opening Day” for anglers to hit the water in pursuit of Spring or “Black” Salmon. Basically, salmon angling will be all hook and release in NB as per last year. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans released the following Wednesday April 13, 2016:
Catch and release remains in effect for Atlantic salmon recreational fishing in the Gulf Region in 2016
Based on scientific monitoring, indicators and advice and following extensive consultations with stakeholders and the public, Fisheries and Oceans Canada today announced that the current catch and release management measures for the recreational fishery in the Gulf Region will be extended for another year.
The yearly fishing quota for small salmon (grilse) will remain at zero in the Atlantic salmon recreational fishery. Like in 2015, anglers will be required to release all Atlantic salmon during the angling season.
The management measures announced today will continue to help with the overall efforts of achieving conservation objectives for Atlantic salmon in the Gulf Region.
Any decisions to change these management measures will be based on the most recent science advice and in consultations with Aboriginal organizations, provinces, stakeholders and the public.
Please note that all tags distributed with the provincial salmon angling license in the Province of New Brunswick are to be used solely on Landlocked salmon in prescribed waters defined in the provincial angling guide: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/nr-rn/pdf/en/Fish/Fish.pdf
To report any suspicious fishing activity, please contact the nearest Fisheries and Oceans Canada office or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
The Main Southwest Miramichi is pretty well open for boats from Boiestown to below Quarryville with only some shore ice to go. The water had come up about three feet by Wednesday.
The Northwest and Little Southwest are still not totally open. The ice is weak, but still in from the Anderson Bridge more or less to the Red Bank Bridge. Syd Matchett said that the Northwest was clear from Wayerton to the Fourman Lodge but jammed up there. It was also jammed above the Wayerton Bridge up around the corner, so it will be a few days before boats can safely be put in. One does not want to be caught with ice coming down river and no place to get out.
A few safety reminders as we head out early this season. I’ve mentioned them in the past, but it never hurt to jog the memory.
Anglers must use single barbless hooks or ones with the barb pinched back. So check your fly box to make sure all hooks are prepared before you hit the water. Putting on a barbed hook by mistake may could be very costly in terms of fines, loss of equipment and angling privileges.
Get your licence at Service NB Offices (Remember they are closed Saturday and Sunday) or your local fly shop or convenience store that sells them. Only Crown Reserve licences are available at DNR offices this year.
There area lot of deer around the rods this time of year, so take a bit more time and drive a bit slower to make sure you arrive and depart for home safely.
With the excitement of getting back onto the river, we might tend to be over anxious, forgetting the common sense needed for safe angling. One mistake can be too many given conditions and temperatures this time of year. Currents are extremely strong as rivers are flooded with spring run-off and ice, and the water is COLD. A dip means hypothermia in literally minutes. It may be too late for a second chance.
First, I’ll address “shore angling.” Although a lot of shore ice has gone, there is still some around. Many times spring ice will completely cover the shore after the river opens making it necessary to crawl over it. This can produce nasty falls. The ice can also be soft and give way causing twisted knees.
If one slips, he may end up in fast current and be gone, especially with heavy clothes on. Most shore anglers never think to wear a life jacket. Even if he manages to grab on to something, equipment may be lost as well.
Even if one does successfully navigate over bank ice, he has to still keep an eye on it. Melting may collapse the ice sending it sliding into the river behind you. If you aren’t careful it can trap you knocking you into the water.
Wading this time of year is very dangerous. Even what was familiar ground becomes strange in spring high current. One step too many can throw an angler off balance in heavy current, and getting over ice usually means there are no bushes handy enough to grab.
Even if the shore is clear and one knows the ground to be level, he still has to be checking up river for ice which may have slipped into the water.
Of course, one should never venture forth alone. If anything happens, you are on your own.
Now for boats. Common sense should prevail. A stupid move could be deadly in spring water. First, make sure the “PLUG” for draining the boat is securely in place before putting the craft into the water.
The anchor should always be heavy enough to hold in strong current. A heavy chain link is recommended, but attach it by a rope. Most do this, but some may try a cable or chain. If the boat is anchored and up-river ice suddenly comes down, there may be no time to pull anchor.
If ice hits the anchor rope, it will sink the boat and anglers will likely be caught under a floating raft of ice. Using a rope enables one to cut it in an emergency. Therefore, have a sharp knife HANDY.
Some boats use two anchors which most consider dangerous. Make sure the bow is pointing into the current when the anchor(s) is dropped. A side-ways boat is a sure invitation to flip.
Always follow the recommended number for the boat. Don’t cram five into a boat built for three. Be careful of having too much weight at the front of the boat when the anchor is dropped. When it grabs, the front will naturally take a dip. Too much weight in front may mean anglers taking a dip.
A bailing can on board is a necessity, not only for when a leak occurs, but when heading up river at a pretty good clip, there’s often a lot of spray that accumulates in the boat. This will be enough to wet lunches, ruin cameras or other materials placed on the floor.
Every boat must also have at least an oar or paddle in case the motor quits. A pair of either is even better as one person trying to guide a boat in fast water may lead you in circles. A set pole to push off shore is also a good idea.
When starting the engine, make sure everyone is ready and seated. A sudden start can knock a person off balance. When moving around in the boat, be careful making certain not everyone moves in one direction at the same time. Have life jackets for each person and WEAR THEM.
Even a spare fuel can is not a bad idea. Sometimes travelling up and down the river you may hit heavier water than expected and use more fuel than anticipated. Always check and fill the tank before leaving. It is also wise to have an extra plug and plug wrench along with a few basic tools.
Should the motor fail, a tow rope makes life a lot easier should another angler offer help and to throw to someone overboard. A whistle and water-proof flash light are required items.
When approaching another boat, take a wide berth and slow down so as not to cause a wake which could rock another boat. If someone is anchored, don’t stop too close. When angling for spring salmon, many fishermen let out tremendous amounts of line and then reel in. You don’t want your line in someone else’s territory.
A neat idea for measuring the length of fish is to have a scale marked along the top sides of the boat. This way length can be taken quickly and the fish released, or better still the angler can gauge the length with a quick look with the fish still in the water. Some have a scale marked on the middle seat of the boat where the fish can be laid quickly and released. This saves time and fumbling for a measuring tape and often prevents a good tape from getting wet or bent.
A pocket journal is a good way to record a day’s fishing. It’s always nice to look back and know exactly who caught what. This can settle friendly arguments, should anyone’s imagination go adrift.
Dress warmly in layers and have a rain coat. You can always take it off, but without enough clothes, it can be a miserable day should a cool wind come up. A thermos of coffee or tea can be a welcome treat. Don’t forget to have the trailer in good working order (tires, lights etc.) inspected and registered.
Don’t forget your streamer flies.
So remember the old Boy Scouts motto “Be Prepared” as you get out and “on the water”.
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For a good read I’ll mention two books. One is Brad Burns’ Closing the Season which sells for $40.00.
Closing the Season: Salmon Fishing in New Brunswick on the Miramichi and Cains Rivers
A celebration of salmon fishing in a great Canadian watershed that boasts the largest run of Atlantic salmon in North America.
To get a visual preview of the book or to order, go to bradburnsfishing.com. Closing the Season is also available at Syd Matchett’s shop, Curtis Outfitters, WW Doak and Fredericton Outfitters.
The other is Wayne Curtis’ new book In the Country, a collection of stories, some of which deal with angling ($21.95). Both would be great additions to any angler’s library at home or at the camp or cottage.
Thought for the Week: “Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” Ted Hughes
Atlantic Salmon Federation News
Tues., Apr. 12, 2016
Cascapedia with Atlantic Salmon
The Cascapedia is one of the great success stories of conservation. Check out this video from Salmon Lodge that gives a sense of the Atlantic salmon of this river.
ASF’s Facebook Survey Wants Your Opinion
Are you a user of Facebook and especially ASF’s Facebook page? If so, please fill out the short survey. You can go directly to it at:
PEI Salmon Projects Receive 107K
The Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation has announced new funding for PEI salmon projects.
New Brunswick received 21 grants for a variety of conservation projects
SPAWN Full-Page Ad on Placentia Bay Project
SPAWN in Newfoundland placed a full page ad on the Placentia Bay project on Saturday. Check it out.
Communications Position Open at ASF
A reminder there is an employment opportunity at ASF as Director of Communications. The deadline is April 15, 2016. For full details, go to:
The ice is moving in some tributaries and with the rain and warmer weather we expect the rivers will be ready for anglers on Opening Day, next Friday, April 15. DFO has not made an announcement yet on the regulations for this coming season but we have been assured we will hear before the season opens.
With the season opening next week you may be interested in buying your license online! It is a bit of a process your first time through but DNR has allowed for purchasing of all classes of angling licenses from their website.
Go to E-Licensing. Scroll down to the ONLINE banner and Click Apply Here. If it is your first time using this system, you will need to register as a new user and obtain an Outdoors Card Number. If you have previously registered at a Service New Brunswick service centre or vendor location and obtained your Outdoors Card Number, you will need to become an online user and create a password for your online security and privacy.
This will work for residents and non-residents. After filling out your contact information you can print your Outdoor Card number. You can then go directly to purchasing your license – the licences available for purchase are based on your registration information. If the licence you wish to purchase is not listed, you may not have the appropriate qualifications (for example: age, residency and training).
There is a lot more information on the site and it seems easy to use. There is also a list of vendors and SNB offices on the site should you prefer to go there. With the line-ups at SNB these days it may be worth your while to do it yourself online.
Friday April 29th – please plan to attend this year’s Science Information Session at the Central NB Woodmen’s Museum from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Put on by the MSA and the Miramichi Watershed Management Committee, this is a full day of presentations and discussions with science professionals concerning issues related to salmon, salmon conservation and the Miramichi River. For a complete listing of speakers, go to Science Session. Please note a light lunch will be offered so please confirm your attendance to this free of charge informative session by contacting Kate at 506.622.4000 or email@example.com.
Saturday, April 30th – The 63rd Annual General Meeting of the Miramichi Salmon Association, Inc. will be held at 1:00 PM at the Upper Miramichi Community Centre in Boiestown. All MSA members are welcome.
Saturday, April 30th – The 20th Annual Ice Breaker Dinner will be held during the evening at the Woodmen’s Museum in Boiestown. This ever popular event welcomes the arrival of another fishing season on the Miramichi, but even more importantly, pays tribute to the people along the river – everyone who makes this Miramichi watershed such a special place. The evening will be a night of fun and stories, a delicious meal, raffles, and as always a short but entertaining auction. Always a sold out event, reserve your tickets today by contacting Kate at (506) 622-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moncton Conservation Dinner – Thursday, May 19th 2016 – This 16th annual “Freeman Dunnett Conservation Dinner” will recognize and honour Mr. Bryant Freeman for his life-long commitment and contributions to salmon conservation. This year’s Live Auction will once again feature many unique and special fishing experiences, and as the event date draws closer, details for the trip offerings will be available on-line at Freeman Dunnett Conservation Dinner. Please note – for those who cannot attend the event, absentee bidding can be arranged by contacting Kate at 506.622.4000 or email email@example.com.
Win a trip to Larry’s Gulch Lodge on the spectacular Restigouche River! Donated by the Province of New Brunswick, this all-inclusive salmon fishing trip is for 2 people (one shared rod) for the dates June 11-13, 2016, which is typically when the early run (of really big fish!) start to show up in this stretch of the Restigouche River! Only 500 tickets are being sold at $10 each or 3 for $20 – all proceeds go to support MSA’s work on the Miramichi River. Draw date is May 19, 2016. Get your tickets while they still last by calling Kate at 506-622-4000.
Finally, a new fishing season means a renewal of Membership – 2016 Membership Renewal packages will be mailed next week. We delayed this year’s mailing by a few weeks so that we could include a copy of our new 2015 Annual Report, which will provide you with an overview of the important conservation activities and accomplishments that your membership dollars made possible last year. As you’ll see in the Annual Report, your support really does make a difference, so please be on the look out for your 2016 renewal package… and special thanks to all those who took the initiative to renew on their own! If you’re not an MSA member, please join our team today….you can become a member (or renew) online at Become a Member or Renew your Membership or you can just contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 506-622-4000.
Good luck to all those who make it out next week for Opening Day…. be sure to send us some pictures!
Yours in Conservation;
Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of the late Eric P. Baylis of Dartmouth, NS. Many anglers knew Eric well as he was an expert repair man for many reel companies, particularly Hardy Reels. He will be missed!
Until next week