Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016

First a caution:  Don’t forget that this week is moose season and hunters will be out in full force in pursuit of the Swamp Donkeys, so wear some hunter orange when out and off the beaten track.  Take care using moose-hair flies in case some crack-shot sees one in the air.

Generally, angling is what I would call average.  There are fish around, with a good spurt coming through on the Main Southwest late on the weekend.  The water had been low, but rain Monday provided a decent raise and refreshed the system.  More rain forecast for Friday should provide for good angling through the weekend.

For those anglers who attended the public meeting on the Striped Bass situation at the Lions Club building on July 24th , and other interested parties, this notice is to advise that some follow-up has occurred.

This past Thursday, Sept. 15th, a conference call was held with 3 DFO staff and 2 members from Minister LeBlanc’s office.  The call was organized by MP Pat Finnigan.  Six individuals, including Jerry Doak, Bonnie Wright, Tom Pettigrew, Doug Underhill, Wayne “Blackie” MacDonald and chairman Jim Laws, were present to attempt to secure some answers from DFO.  In preparation we had met several times, including the previous Sunday and drafted written questions for the discussion as was requested by DFO.  The questions were submitted to MP Finnigan on the Monday and the call was three days later.

Not unexpectedly, the 1 & 1/2 hour call did not result in any clear answers from DFO.  Surprisingly, they stated that they had not had time to prepare full answers to the written questions and so the exchange was more general than had been hoped.  It is clear however that DFO is still unsure as to where they want to go with this population of Striped Bass.  No specific objectives have been set and their primary concern appears to be finding a way to track angler harvest.

On the subject of excessive Atlantic Salmon smolt mortality occurring within the estuaries of the NW and SW Miramichi systems, DFO would not say whether they did, or did not, accept the results of the Atlantic Salmon Federation smolt tracking research that has been on going for four years now, but only that they were “working with” the ASF on the data.

As to the issue of Quebec apparently looking for DFO to maintain a high spawning population here on the Miramichi so that they can have a fishery along the Gaspe coast; it was conceded that this is a factor.

The discussion also covered areas of continuing concern with regard to the status of Atlantic Salmon stocks, particularly on the Northwest Miramichi system.  DFO was asked if they could quantify the benefit of the current Grilse harvest restriction for anglers with only the vague response that it had to help.  The continuing issues of greater protection needs, gill net use, large salmon harvests, and incidental mortality in the angling fishery were once again part of the discussion with no new information or developments being offered by DFO other than they are aware of the concerns and are taking them into account.

DFO stressed that there will be an advisory committee meeting in the fall to develop next year’s “Striped Bass plan” and that there would be an online survey available for people to provide their input.

One very positive note that did come out of the call was that according to Minister LeBlanc’s “Director of Issues Management” the Minister is fully aware of, understands, and supports the importance of having anglers on the rivers.

On this aspect It was made clear to the DFO staff participating in the call that closure of the Salmon angling fishery is not a management option..  It was also made plain that answers and movement on the Striped Bass issues within a short time frame is critical and that DFO needs to do a far better job of Public Relations if it hopes to secure a buy- in and support for its management plans.

The call concluded with a DFO commitment for a “face to face” follow-up meeting with this group this winter.

I wish to thank our MP Pat Finnigan for his efforts in setting up the conference call.

Jim Laws

NOTE: In the Fall issue of the Atlantic Salmon Journal, author Wayne Curtis has a nice article titled “Fishing The High Country”.  Curtis is the author of many books including Long Ago and Far Away, In The Country and Of Earthly and River Things: An Angler’s Memoir, all good reading and a nice compliment to any camp library.

W. W. Doak and Sons in Doaktown said angling was decent, but about to improve with Monday’s rain and more forecast for Friday.  There had been some nice salmon caught on the weekend, and Tuesday saw fish taken both on the Cains and Main Southwest Miramichi.  But not every angler was catching fish, and those caught were fish that had been in the system for a while.

Flies of choice were Ally’s Shrimps, Mickey Finns, Same-Thing-Murrays, Tippet Shrimps, Undertakers, Glitter Bears, Cascades, White-tailed Green Machines, Copper Killers, General Practitioners and LT Specials.

Derek Munn of Ledges Inn in Doaktown and Mountain Channel in the Rapids area said they were having decent fishing averaging 1 or 2 a day per angler.  The water was a good temperature and had come up about16 inches.  Mountain Channel did well Sunday and Monday as a spurt of fresh fish moved through.

Flies of choice were mostly Bombers in blue & White, green & white and brown & white.

Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016
Ledges guest Al Moore with fresh fall salmon.

Herb Barry Sr. of Herb’s Fly Shop on the Station Road in Blackville said there were fish around and the odd one was being hooked, but it was not what he would call great fishing.  The fish simply weren’t taking well.  The water had been low, but was a decent temperature.  Rain this week would certainly help to improve conditions.

Flies of choice were anything orange such as Ally’s Shrimps, Tippet Shrimps, General Practitioners, and White Bombers with orange hackle.

Curtis Miramichi River Outfitting in Blackville said there were lots of fish around with a good mix of salmon and grilse, but they were not taking well.  A few had been caught.  They were hoping Monday’s rain and rain forecast for Friday would get the fish into a taking mode.  The water had been a decent temp, but had been low.  Any rain would certainly improve things.

Flies of choice were Undertakers, Night Hawks, Red Francis’s, Ally’s Shrimps, General Practitioners, Copper Killers, LT Specials, Sugarman’s Shrimps, Mickey Finns, Bear Hairs and White-tailed Green Machines.

Jim Laws of Miramichi Hunting and Fishing in Newcastle, Miramichi reported slow angling with only a few fish being caught.  The water temperature was good, but it was on the low side, and rain this week certainly helped.

On the striped bass front there were a few being hooked, but definitely no big run yet.

Flies of choice were Ally’s Shrimps, General Practitioners, LT Specials, Copper Killers, White-tailed Green Machines and Undertakers.

Syd Matchett of Trout Brook Fly Shop on the Northwest Miramichi said angling was quiet because there were very few anglers around.  Most were either back to work or out hunting moose.  The water temp was good, bit it had been on the low side, so the rain Monday and the rain forecast for Friday should improve conditions.  He felt that there would be more sports around next week when the woodcock season is open.

Flies of choice were Undertakers, Shady Ladies and Ally’s Shrimps.

Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures on the Little Southwest Miramichi said her sports had caught a few fish in the last few days.  It was almost like novice week as two first-timers each picked up a salmon and two more each had a grilse.  Stephanie Elson caught a nice grilse Tuesday, and Paul Elson and Howie Gould had three fish between them on Sunday.  Both water temperature and level were good.

Norton noted that DFO issued 10 special permits for 10 anglers to use spinners/lures etc to see if they could catch small-mouthed bass in the Taxis river area last Saturday.  Fortunately, none were caught, because if there were catches, we definitely have a problem.

Flies of choice were White-tailed Green Machines and a variety of traditional Fall patterns.

The Miramichi Salmon Association via the hatchery is collecting broodstock – went to the Northwest Barrier last week, Moose Landing on the LSW and Clearwater on the SW this week.  Electrofishing continues until the end of the month.

So with decent temperatures and a raise in water levels, conditions should improve and therefore it is time to get out “on the water”.

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

Deals 4 U


Doug Underhill
438 McKinnon Road
Miramichi, NB, Canada, E1V 6G2

A SPECIAL THANKS to all who made contributions last season.

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Thought for the Week: “It is impossible to grow weary of a sport that is never the same on any two days of the year.” Theodore Gordon Fishing Quotes


Hi Doug,

Spare me a moment to rant please.

I have written a few articles on Salmon Fishing over the past few years but I think perhaps they don’t get published because I am not so politically correct. None the less I just got back from ending this season on the Sinclair Stretch on the 15th. I had pretty good fishing on the 14th (rose 5 and hooked two) but did not fish on the 15th because I found it all too disheartening. Although this particular stretch has been fished by me for the past 20 years, it was a great place to fish, clear water just like gin, cool water with no quick rises because of rain or low waters because of dry hot days, then that all changed a few years ago when they logged it so for the past 8 or 10 years the fishing there was terrible. Now I’m not saying its dead but to get a fish on a trip to Sinclair is doing pretty good now, but before they logged it I could have easily hooked our limit every day, point is as I stood on the river Wednesday afternoon and looked at how close the cutting was to the water, it made me ill to think about all we hear about the protection of these fish and yet our government allows the logging to such an extent. I have to say I haven’t seen logging this close to Larry’s Gulch or Downs Gulch. The Sinclair stretch is ruined for the rest of my life.

Two years ago I was fishing at Larry’s Gulch and we did not catch anything for the third time in a row, yet down the river on the same day the attached picture was taken with two native fellows and about 30 thirty pound Salmon caught in nets. Now I don’t blame the two guys in the photo, I blame the same folks who say Greenland should not harvest fish yet allow this travesty to occur here in New Brunswick.

Who exactly are we protecting the salmon for? Certainly not the average fisherperson. The hook and release program is a miserable failure and will prove so. We’re not the first to try it in Atlantic Canada but for some reason we listen to a group of self-serving folks demanding such activities.

I ran into two poachers at Long Lake pool during my time on the river last week, in the book was written about another group who ran into poachers further upstream at Lizard brook three days before. Well why not, there are no fishermen to police the rivers and since the number of fishers is down well the number of poachers is up and will continue until there are none left for anyone.

The constant input we hear from DFO and the lack of comment we hear from DNR makes me wonder why we have a fishing department at DNR. All I know is DFO were in charge of the Cod fishing industry here in Canada. That worked out well.

A friend of mine called me from Ontario last week; he asked where he should go in NB to take his son salmon fishing, I told him Quebec.

Brian Ahern


Atlantic Salmon Federation News for Friday, Sept. 16, 2016

ASF RIVERNOTES – Some Rivers Do Have Water, and Others are Much in Need
ASF checks rivers from Labrador, where the season just ended, to Maine. Water levels are a major topic of conversation at the moment as everyone awaits the Fall Runs of Atlantic salmon.

ASF Researchers Sampling Streams
ASF Biologists are electrofishing this week to check the densities of juvenile Atlantic salmon and other fish. More salmon farm escapees showing up at a fishway

ASF Bridging a Stream in the Narraguagus Headwaters
In Maine, John Burrows explains one of the many headwaters projects that are reopening spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon through replacing old culverts with bridges and other structures.

DiCaprio Unveils Free Technology To Spy on Global Fishing
A potentially revolutionary website allows users to follow thousands of individual fishing vessels around the globe, in an effort to curb illegal fishing.  A considerable amount of the funding has come from Leonardo diCaprio. Check it out!

Cumulative counts to date of Salmon as of September 15
(* indicates fewer than 5 years are available to calculate the mean, N/A indicates that no values exist for that year, date of operation may vary from year to year.)

Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cumulative counts
Bar Graph and Tabular Report of time series available by clicking on individual site name in the tabular report below.

Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016

Anyone wishing to report suspicious fishing activity anonymously is asked to contact the nearest Fisheries and Oceans Canada office or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

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Until next week

The post Miramichi Fishing Report for Thursday, September 22, 2016 appeared first on Giver on the River.

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