Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, July 31, 2014

The pattern of small spurts of fish coming in one day and then very few the next several days continues to frustrate anglers.  Last weekend saw a good day as noted below in the MSA report.  Then it was back to hit and miss again.  If one is at the right place at the right time, then there may be some success, but generally, most anglers are being disappointed.  ASF has asked all anglers to voluntarily release even their grilse as numbers so far have been extremely low.  There was even a report of a seal close to the Red Bank Bridge area.

Northwest Miramichi River Catch and Release measures

As you know, the Northwest Miramichi River system is currently under a catch and release management regime until July 31, 2014 and returning to a grilse retention fishery on portions of the Northwest, Little Southwest and Sevogle rivers on August 1, 2014.  With the low returns of salmon and grilse that have been recorded at the Northwest Cassilis Trapnet and at the Northwest Protection Barrier up to this point, there is always a possibility that those catch and release measures be maintained until the end of the season for conservation reasons.  So keep your eyes open for any communications from the DFO on this matter. You can always check their recreational fisheries website at the following address: http://www.glf.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Gulf/FAM/Recreational-Fisheries

August 1 until August 21 sees the second striped bass retention period. (See details below).

Deals 4 U

Doug White’s Tammerack Sports Fly Shop in Juniper said he would be unavailable for comment this week, but added “I’ll be away … No fish, nothing has changed anyway”.

W. W. Doak and Sons in Doaktown said conditions were certainly better this week with the raise (approx. 1 foot) in water and temperatures in the mid 60s Fahrenheit.  This had the fish moving from the cold water pools into the runs and further up river.  Catching was average with some having luck, while others had none.

Flies of choice were Same-Thing-Murrays, Undertakers, Glitter Bears, Shady Ladies and White-tailed Green Machines.

Derek Munn of Ledges Inn in Doaktown and Mountain Channel in the Rapids area said they got some much needed rain Monday and Monday night.  The river came up about 6 inches in the Doaktown area and they were hoping it may come a little more yet. The fishing has been fair the last week as they we are picking up a few fish every day.   Most were grilse, along with the odd salmon in the 10-14lb range.  Mountain Channel has been about the same seeing and hooking a few fish everyday but no big numbers, from what I been told it sound like they got a little bigger rain then we did with a lot of the rain hitting over the Cains.

Flies of choice were everyday mostly small bugs and steamers in dark colors along with Bombers that were mostly blue and white, and brown and orange.

Herb Barry Sr. of Herb’s Fly Shop on the Station Road in Blackville said angling was not very good, with only the odd fish hooked here and there.  Very few locals were not even bothering to fish.  The water was on the rise Tuesday.

Flies of choice were White-tailed Green Machines, Shady Ladies and Bear Hairs.

Angler at the Depot Crown Reserve stretch last week

Angler at the Depot Crown Reserve stretch last week

Curtis Miramichi River Outfitting in Blackville said there were a few fish coming in, most of which were small grilse.  Water conditions were a little high Tuesday and dirty, but they felt it should be a good level and clear for the weekend.  Canoeing conditions were great.

Flies of choice were White-tailed Green Machines, Bonnie Bells and Bombers.

George Routledge of George’s Fly Shop at the Mouth of Renous in Quarryville was unavailable for comment as both he and his wife Shirley are both in the hospital.  Both are in our thoughts and prayers!

But word on the street was that angling was slow with only an odd fish being hooked.

Jim Laws of Miramichi Hunting and Fishing in Newcastle, Miramichi reported fishing as still slow, with only the odd report of success.  The water came up some.   Laws reminded those who wish to fish for striped bass that the second retention season begins August 1 and closes August 21.  However, this season is more for the rest of the Gulf Region than specifically for the Miramichi.  The trap nets are picking up some, but they are mostly small.  See the MSA report below for size, possession, etc.

Flies of choice were White-tailed Green Machines, Black Ghosts and Bombers.

Syd Matchett of Trout Brook Fly Shop on the Northwest Miramichi said angling was slow again this week although a few fish had been caught.  One angler hooked a salmon and a grilse Monday, while another released a 15-pounder Tuesday on one of the Crown Reserve stretches.  A party of four who had the Depot July 23-25 hooked four and landed two, while seeing several others.  But most anglers are reporting not even seeing a fish.

Flies of choice were Small dark flies such as Bear Hairs, Shady Ladies and Undertakers on nos. 6 & 8 hooks, along with a few Bombers.

Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures on the Little Southwest Miramichi could not be reached, but there were no guests at her establishment this week, so the word was very poor angling.  The water had come up on Tuesday, and anglers were hoping.

As per last week, there were small splashes of fish moving through one day, and them very few for a few more days. Over all, I guess being “on the water” in hopes of good timing might produce some success.

Angler at the Depot Crown Reserve stretch last week

Angler at the Depot Crown Reserve stretch last week

Don’t forget to show your support for our sponsors, because without them, this column would not be possible.

Check out Deals 4 U in Miramichi for your grocery needs, and good Cuban cigars to celebrate getting back to the rivers.  Drop by Mac’s Seafood for Miramichi Smoke House Award Winning Smoke Salmon.


If you would like to sponsor this column, give us a call at (506) 352-7668 or email .

Mac's Seafood MarketThought for the Week: “I have fished through fishless days that I remember happily without regret.” – Roderick Haig-Brown

E-MAIL One angler wrote:


That was a real “doom and gloom” report on the salmon returns so far this year, and you chose to close the report with a picture of a dead grilse?

I’m disappointed.

Reply from Doug: {You are correct:  But the grilse was legally caught, legally tagged and legally able to be kept.  If the angler wishes to release the next one, I’ll be happy to include that photo as well.  Your comment is well taken, and may encourage others to release more fish.   Cheers & Thanks…Doug}

FR. MSA:  Hi All

Some good news this week from the Millerton trap. On Sunday 47 grilse and 25 salmon were put through the trap and on Monday 20 grilse and 17 salmon went through. Cassilis also saw a small increase with 5 grilse and 5 salmon being put through on Sunday. These fish did not have lice on them and some had been tagged earlier at the Chatham trap so is thought they were not new fish coming in but rather hanging around in a pool somewhere. It is estimated that these traps catch approximately 7% of the fish going up the river.

Barriers / Traps
The Dungarvon Barrier was completely wiped out on Saturday the 5th during Tropical Storm Arthur. The upper barrier was reinstalled on the 18th and a new fish trap was installed and staff began counting fish again on the July 24th. As of July 5th there were 79 fish at the barrier. DNR has sent some historical numbers of salmon arriving at the barrier from July 6th to the 24th – the window that the barrier was not counting salmon this year. From 2002 – 2013 an average of 151 grilse, 32 small salmon and 25 large salmon (for a total of 208 fish) arrived in that 19 day period.

Only 6 new fish were counted from the 24th-27th (3 grilse, 1 small salmon and 1 large salmon), with all of them coming on the 26th and 27th.

Mark Cogswell with a nice salmon he was a pretty proud angler

Mark Cogswell with a nice salmon he was a pretty proud angler

Dungarvon Barrier Counts as of July 27th 2014

Grilse  (to 63 cm) Small Salmon (64-84 cm)  Large Salmon (>84 cm)   Total Small &  Large    All  Atlantic Salmon Brook Trout
2014 to Date     43       12     30     42     85  23
Previous Year to Date    182      87     121     208     390   56

Twenty one new fish arrived at the Northwest barrier from July 21st to the 27th – 16 grilse, 3 small salmon and 2 large salmon.

Northwest Barrier Counts as of July 27th 2014

Grilse  (to 63 cm) Small Salmon (64-84 cm)  Large Salmon (>84 cm)   Total Small &  Large    All  Atlantic Salmon Brook Trout
2014 to Date     103       37     18     55     158  786
Previous Year to Date     128      88     103     191     319   1065


Satellite Tagged Fish

In May, as you may remember, we tagged 11 kelt on the Northwest Miramichi with satellite tags. One of the fish – a large female we have named Margaret – entered back into the system and hit a receiver at Cassilis on July 18th, hit again on the 19th at Cassilis and 5 minutes later 2 km upstream of Cassilis. MSA and ASF staff have been checking other receivers up and downstream and canoeing the river with portable receivers trying to locate her but have had no luck. If you catch her or even see her laying in a pool please let us know – the tag is easy to spot – I have attached a picture. The satellite tags are set to pop off if the fish dies (does not move) or at the end of September but will not pop off in fresh water. Therefore it is vital we find her and salvage the data.

Striped Bass

Just a reminder that a retention season for striped bass will open again on August 1st and run until the 21st. The retention limit is one fish a day with a possession limit of one – 50cm to 65cm size slot. Fishing will probably be best along the coast this time of year though we have reports of bass still being caught in the Southwest and Northwest Rivers and our trap near Chatham has been full of bass.

Fredericton Dinner

19th Annual Fredericton Conservation Dinner is taking place Tuesday, September 26th at Fredericton Inn, where we are again honouring an individual who has served the cause of salmon conservation with great distinction.  It is both a pleasure and an honour to receive the Hon. Keith Ashfield, Member of Parliament for Fredericton and past Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as our special guest, and we look forward to his message regarding the importance of the wild Atlantic salmon to New Brunswick, both in economic and environmental terms.

For tickets, please contact Jo-Anne Linton at ; or call 506-457-2220.

Enjoy this great weather – yours in conservation;

Nola Chiasson

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

To see proper release of salmon click here or on the photo below (you will be redirected to the Atlantic Salmon Federation website).


Atlantic Salmon Federation News
Thursday, July 24, 2014

ASF RIVERNOTES – The Mystery of the small grilse
ASF RIVERNOTES this week draws together reports of the very small grilse, showing it is a widespread phenomenon. Plus new insights into returns – and angler tales.

ASF Research Blog – Monitoring the Magaguadavic
ASF Researchers gather information and inspect fish daily at the Magaguadavic River dam in southwest New Brunswick. Check it out.

Restoring Alewives to the St. Croix, a boundary river
Check out this 2-minute video showing the tracking program that is designed to assist restoration of alewives in the St. Croix River.

Nova Scotia Net-pens Still Not Recovered After Two Years
Studies have discovered that the bottom underneath cages abandoned two years ago have still failed to recover ecologically.

Maine Governor Designates $25,000 to Downeast Salmon Federation
The facility in East Machias has generated considerable interest for its environmental themes and growing importance for wild salmon restoration Downeast.

Busy Week Catching Poachers in NL
Poaching remains an important stress to Atlantic salmon populations in Newfoundland. This week’s list of crimes illustrates how widespread it is.


Until next week

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