Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mother Nature provided a much needed couple of days of rain last weekend and early this week.  The result was a spike in catching fish as they came to life and were on the move.  Let’s hope this continues as it is time for the Fall runs to begin.

If you are out angling next week, be cautious and wear some Hunter Orange as it is the annual “Swamp Donkey Hunt”, otherwise known as “Moose Season”.  Don’t be grunting too hard trying to land the big one, because you may have some unexpected company.

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The following chart is an interesting record of what percentage the fall run numbers are in terms of the total year counts on the Main Southwest Miramichi. I received this in a PDF file and was unable to cut and paste it accordingly.  The left stats are for salmon, while the right are for grilse.  I was not able to put the headings above the grilse, so you’ll have to judge from the salmon.  What is fascinating is that last year the Fall run of salmon was 50 plus % of the year’s total, while the grilse was just under 50%.  Hopefully we get a huge Fall run again this year.  It would do wonders for our over all numbers for 2015.  (Unfortunately, I don’t have similar stats for the other rivers.  If anyone has them, I’d appreciate receiving them)


Yr       Sept 15  Oct15  % increase % of yr

2001  715         1592    122.66%    55.09%        1594   2503  57.03%  36.32%

2002  348         561      61.21%      37.97%         2319  3016  30.06%  23.11%

2003  783         1183    51.09%      33.81%         1833  2444  33.33%  25.00%

2004  691         1124    62.66%      38.52%         2433  3213  32.06%  24.28%

2005  497         782      57.34%      36.45%         1845  2596  40.70%  28.93%

2006  632         1154    82.59%      45.23%         2105  2933  39.33%  28.23%

2007  437         643      47.14%      32.04%         1125  1439  27.91%  21.82%

2008  242         280      15.70%      13.57%         1384  1472  6.36%    5.98%

2009  782         864      10.49%      9.49%           881    1008  14.42%  12.60%

2010  655         866      32.21%      24.36%         2303  2813  22.15%  18.13%

2011  627         760      21.21%      17.50%         1831  2089  14.09%  12.35%

2012  471         596      26.54%      20.97%         454    535    17.84%  15.14%

2013  325         383      17.85%      15.14%         427   468     9.60%    8.76%

2014  289         592      104.84%    51.18%         379   746     96.83%  49.20%

Ave.  515         788       53.08%      31.77%        1468  1924  32.38%   22.69%


I am looking forward to this Sunday when I’ll be one of a party of four fortunate enough to able to spend a day with Keith Wilson at his Wilson’s Sporting Camps.  I have had the pleasure of fishing there before while doing research for my book Salmon Country.  It is a beautiful spot.  Keith operates year round, catering to anglers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, snowmobilers, conferences and quiet get-aways.  Check him out by Goggling Wilson’s Sporting Camps.

W. Doak and Sons in Doaktown said water conditions were very favourable and fishing was good since the rain.  Rain on the weekend was a God-send, and Monday-Tuesday’s addition was icing on the cake.  Catches have been mostly fish that have been in the system, with a good mix of salmon and grilse.

Flies of choice were Fall patterns such as Ally’s Shrimps, General Practitioners, Copper Killers, L.T. Specials and Mickey Finns along with Same-Thing-Murrays and White-tailed Green Machines.

Derek Munn of Ledges Inn in Doaktown and Mountain Channel in the Rapids area said there was lots of water after the rain, and Monday’s rain added another 10-inch bump.  Consequently, fishing has been good since the weekend.  Catches have been mostly older fish, with a slight edge to grilse over salmon.  There were a couple of salmon in the 15-pound range.

Henry and Albie Putnam from Brunswick Maine with Ledges veteran guide Lloyd Lyons

Henry and Albie Putnam from Brunswick Maine with Ledges veteran guide Lloyd Lyons

Henry and Albie Putnam from Brunswick Maine with Ledges veteran guide Lloyd Lyons

Henry and Albie Putnam from Brunswick Maine with Ledges veteran guide Lloyd Lyons

Flies of choice were Blue Bombers, Ally’s Shrimps, General Practitioners and White-tailed Green Machines.

Herb Barry Sr. of Herb’s Fly Shop on the Station Road in Blackville said after the rain, there were lots of fish moving and the water was a bit high.  Anglers were seeing lots, and catching some.  Over all, it was a big improvement over recent weeks.

Flies of choice were Ally’s Shrimps, General Practitioners, Green Rats, Sugarman’s Shrimp and a smattering of traditional Fall patterns.

Curtis Miramichi River Outfitting in Blackville said there are good numbers of fish in the river, and anglers are back to catching since last weekend’s rain.  The water was up and fish were moving.  There were a few fresh fish mixed with older fish that have been in the system for a while, and catches have been a mix of salmon and grilse.  There was one 20- pound salmon reported.

Flies of choice were Carter’s Bugs, Brown Bombers, Black Ghosts and White-tailed Green Machines.

George Routledge of George’s Fly Shop at the Mouth of Renous in Quarryville said the fish were there, but they were not many anglers out and not many fish being caught.  Water conditions were good and there were a few fresh fish among the mix.

Flies of choice were Black Ghosts, Shady Ladies, Bear Hairs and White-tailed Green Machines on no. 6 hooks.

Jim Laws of Miramichi Hunting and Fishing in Newcastle, Miramichi noted that trout season has ended, but generally, angling was slow with only a few fish being hooked.  But to balance that, there were not many anglers out.

There were reports of small bass making their way up river.  Anglers in the Neguac area had been catching small ones there last week, but now the bigger stripers have arrived there, so they are making their way back up the Miramichi in time for some good Fall striper action.

Flies of choice were Royal Coachmen and Dry Flies & Bombers with a few White-tailed Green Machines.

Syd Matchett of Trout Brook Fly Shop on the Northwest Miramichi said the water was up nicely, and the fishing was good.  Chris Edmonds and a friend hooked two each, and another couple hooked two salmon on Monday.

Guy Sorel also hooked two, or one salmon twice.  Sorel hooked the first and then decided that he liked the fish so well, that he would join it.  Ker-splash!  In he went, “ass over kettle” as they say, but the fish wanted no friend in his pool so off it went.  Sorel then proceeded back to shore to remove his waders and wet vest, when he saw either the same fish roll, or another in the same area.  Back out he went in his already wet clothing, hooked up again, and decided to take a second dip, being tripped up by the same rock behind him again!  I guess this was a new version of “Swimming with the dolphins”.  Perhaps we’ll call it “Dipping with the salmon”.

Flies of choice were General Practitioners, Ally’s Shrimps and L.T. Specials.

Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures on the Little Southwest Miramichi said “the rain came down and the water went up”.  That certainly made the fishing better.  Giles Beech from the UK finished his stay on a very positive note.  He’d been having no luck until Sunday when he landed three salmon and lost two.  These were old fish that came to life after the rain.

Fly of choice was the Blue Ewe.

Norton mentioned that the MSA has been doing cold-water enhancement for salmon at Doak Brook in Doaktown on the Main Southwest, and at Otter Brook on the Little Southwest.

So as we move into Fall foliage, better angling conditions, and hopefully the start of the Fall runs, it is time to get out and “on the water”.

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 Market to get fresh-cooked lobster and all your seafood needs!

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Thought for the Week: “The four B’s of fishing: boat, bait, beer and BS.” …Anonymous


doug1Hi Doug,  not all of our regular group could make it so Aaron and his 12 yr old son Connor and I decided to squeeze one more Crown trip in this past weekend.  We headed up to Squirrel Falls in hopes that Connor would land his first grilse.  He’s been on one other Crown trip with us but the conditions were poor with high dirty water at Crawford.  Also he’s been out a few times salmon fishing with no success.  Now I’ve fished trout with Aaron, Connor and Aaron’s other son Riley before, and having already done 12 crown trips with Aaron with our regular group I know Aaron is an avid dry fly fisherman.  He loves his bombers and has great success with them, would this be a tale of son following in the footsteps of his father?

Well we arrived at Squirrel Falls camp or we like to call Squirreleeee Falls camp early Saturday afternoon to find no one there.  Looking at the logs not much fishing going on at this stretch with limited success with the very low water conditions.  Now we had fished this stretch 2 times before, two trips in 2011 one in August and one in September.  We did very well, water conditions were perfect and hooked a lot of fish including some big salmon.  On the second trip in September 2011 a friend of Aaron’s, Bobby M. even landed his first which was a big hookbill on a fly I gave him to use, the L.T. Special.  He skipped catching a grilse for his first and jumped right to the big leagues! lol

So getting back on track, we unpacked and geared up and headed down to the river around 2:30 pm.  It wasn’t long Aaron hooked a grilse, he got Connor to come over to fight it.  Connor grabbed the rod but the fish had different plans and jumped out of the water and before I could get my hands on the net the fish was off.  A little coaching was given from father to son on how to handle the rod and fight the fish, hopefully next time it will make the net.  Less than 3 hours later Connor was casting his Dad’s favorite bomber and hooked into a grilse on his own!  Again Dad giving son some coaching and I grabbed the net.. not long and we had it in the net!!  Connor hooked and landed his first grilse ever!  We got the fish out of the net, pictures taken and guided Connor on how to properly revive the fish.  Man Aaron was some proud of his son!  Great moment that I’m sure they both will remember for ever.  As always when a fish is caught a hand shake is given to the successful fisherman, with this being a welcoming into the club hand shake for Connor.  Now Aaron did end up landing a grilse that first evening too.. well you can bet they both used the same fly pattern…. and yes it was a bomber.. go figure! lol

doug2The second day was slow fishing in the morning with no fish hooked so we decided to take a bike ride up Trash Heap pool, saw a cow moose on the road on the way up.  No fish in Trash Heap, water very low.  Checked out Camp Falls pool no real water to hold fish there too.  We headed back to camp and cooked up lunch then headed back down to the river for an evening fish.  Well Connor put on his Dad’s favorite fly and didn’t fish long before he hooked into his second grilse of the trip! And did much better this time and we got it into the net no problem.  So that’s 2 fish now for the young rookie!  He is certainly showing us old boys how it’s done! lol As with all the fish photos are taken, fish released and again the celebratory hand shake acknowledging a job well done.  Well Connor and Aaron was seeing so much action on their bomber I decided to tie one on that we found at Groundhog Landing a few weeks before.  Same fly they were using just slightly different body colour.. well I didn’t fish long and I hooked my first grilse of the trip.  No issues getting it in and again pictures taken, fish released and hand shakes all around.. we were feeling pretty good, what could be in store as we still had lots of time that evening.  Well just at dark Connor using that magic bomber hooked into another grilse, he tried to step back and tripped.. line went loose and the fish jumped and got off… well well well.. who would of thought Connor would hook into 3 fish, landing 2 of them!  Again good job Connor!  At this point it was pretty much dark so we headed up to the camp for the night.

The last day was pouring rain all morning so we packed the trucks up and was headed home by around 10:30 am.  Squirrel Falls has been great to us, rugged..yes.. wild and majestic.. yes… a place where 2 newbies, Connor and Bobby landed their first.. yes!  Aaron asked Connor if he was hooked, YES! was his reply.. being 12 years old he has many years of Crown Reserve fishing to do.. kinda wish I had started that early at it myself.

Chad Hebert


Hi Doug,

I enjoy getting your report very much, it keeps me in touch with what’s going on the river.

Thanks for all you do to keep anglers up to date !


Mac Hawkins

Atlantic Salmon Federation News – Friday, Sept. 11, 2015

ASF RIVERNOTES – Waiting for the Rain – and for some rivers it is coming
ASF Rivernotes has the latest information on the salmon runs, as we switch into autumn conditions. The salmon are waiting for that rain.

How Important are Wild Atlantic salmon to Canada’s Leaders?
ASF is surveying the views of Canada’s Federal Party Leaders on their commitment to Atlantic salmon conservation.

Actual Surveys and the Special Report on Wild Atlantic Salmon are available in EN and FR at the link below

For our Canadian readers, we encourage you to contact your local candidates and ask them how important wild Atlantic salmon conservation is to them.
New ASF Blog – News from the Regions
ASF’s Directors of Regional Programs will keep you up to date on some of the issues and other matters occurring in the region’s. It begins with a fascinating story on the Cheticamp

A Window into Atlantic Salmon Science
In 2013, more than 100 attended an ASF workshop on what works (and doesn’t) for salmon recovery. You can download and read both a summary and the full proceedings, that detail the latest research. Do note that some files are large and will take time to download.


The Central New Brunswick Woodmens Museum, Boiestown, will be hosting 2 evenings of HAUNTINGS ALONG THE DUNGARVON TRAIL!  AN OUTDOOR GUIDED TOUR WITH GHOSTLY TALES!


ADULTS (OVER 16 ) $8.00

CHILD (10 TO 16 YEARS) $5.00







Enjoy a delicious pork roast dinner with all the fixins, then….Roll up your sleeves and join in the fun as Michelle Daigle and Don Rigley (AKA Frantically Atlantic) entertain you with yarns, songs and a few surprises along the way.

Frantically Atlantic is a musical duo based in Fredericton, NB.  They celebrate Atlantic Canada with a broad repertoire of traditional songs and tunes (Celtic, Acadian and beyond), having mastered several instruments including fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, spoons, to name only a few.

Tickets are $25.00

Under 12 – $12.00

The fun starts at 1:00 p.m., Sunday, October 18, 2015- Dancing shoes recommended

Only a few tickets will be available at the door, so call the Museum today to book your tickets 369-7214.



Doaktown Curling Club, 29 Prospect Street

Beginning at 4:30 pm with a Meet n’ Mingle and followed by a buffet dinner and the induction ceremony itself, the evening promises to be a memorable one with a variety of silent, Chinese and live auctions, great food and, in particular, heartfelt tributes to five individuals whose lives have been intertwined with those of the Atlantic salmon.

This year our five inductees are:

JASON WAYNE JOHN CURTIS of Keenan, NB.  One of the youngest inductees in the history of our Hall of Fame, Jason has been professionally involved with salmon and salmon conservation since the age of 18 when he began work at the Old River Lodge.  Since then, he has gained a well-deserved reputation as a guide par excellence, a dedicated conservationist, and an enthusiastic educator having been one of the founders of the Fly Fishing Club at Miramichi Valley High School and a long-time volunteer with the Miramichi Salmon Association.

JOHN WILLIAM HAWKES (posthumously) of Miramichi, NB.  The word most often used to describe John Hawkes is “passionate” – he was passionate about his devotion to the River, passionate about the sport of salmon fishing, and passionate in his quest to make others (especially youngsters) as dedicated as he was to the love of fly fishing.  An educator in all aspects of his life, John was one of the organizers of the Miramichi Youth Fly Fishing Program and through the challenges he faced in his last years, an inspiration to everyone he met.          

DOUGLAS RAYMOND MACDONALD of Moncton, NB.  2015 has been a good year for Doug MacDonald.  On May 21, he was honoured for his long-term commitment to the Miramichi Salmon Association and his financial support of its many initiatives.  On October 3, the Atlantic Salmon Museum will acknowledge not only Doug’s dedication to the MSA, but also his devotion to salmon fishing, salmon conservation and most of all, the importance of leaving a lasting legacy for the next generation.   As a successful businessman and an experienced angler, Doug recognizes the importance of conservation and the impacts it poses for the economy and our way of life.

WILLIAM ROBERT MACKAY of Hayesville.  Bill MacKay is referred to as one of Canada’s top river guides and, with a career that began in 1950 when he was only 18, one who perfected his craft at an impressive number of fishing camps up and down the Miramichi.  Deadman, Salmon Brook, Hinchey Pond Lodge, Clearwater, Pond’s, KenMore Camps, the Griff-Inns, Rocky Brook . . .  the list provides only a glimmer of Bill’s widespread reputation as a guide who was very much in demand.  Not satisfied with his many hours on the water searching for salmon, he also took up canoeing and has won many canoe races on both the Miramichi and the Saint John Rivers.

EVERETT ALEXANDER MOIR (posthumously) of Bloomfield Ridge, NB. The River did it all for Everett Moir – from nearly drowning him in a spring freshet when he was only six to providing him with steady employment throughout his adult life.  He worked first as a cook on the log drives of the 20s and 30s; then with the Griff-Inns making countless trips by canoe to transport “sports” and their gear from the railroad station to their camps; then as a guide at the Kenmore Camps, a thriving outfitting business owned by his uncle which Everett later purchased and successfully operated until 1970.  A man “of the River” indeed!

Tickets for the October 3 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are now on sale for $75 but with only a limited number available, it’s wise to reserve yours quickly.  For more information or to reserve your tickets, please contact the Atlantic Salmon Museum at 506-365-7787 (Toll Free at 1-866-725-6662) or at .

We look forward to seeing you there!

Until next week



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