Miramichi Winter Wrap Up

Fishing Friends:

The Presumpscot River in Falmouth, Maine – once a great salmon river – has been frozen solid since New Years, the recent warm storm has opened a lead reminding us of the spring that is right around the corner.

The MSA US fund raising season is history for another year, and thanks to the generosity of the many donors and financial supporters it was the most successful in memory.  All the auction winners have been notified and the auction items are being fulfilled.  Next year we expect to be back with a hybrid event that will have both in person and virtual formats.  The date of Feb 4th 2023 is already reserved at the Portland Country Club – please put it in your calendar now.  We want to thank all the donors and the individuals who patronized our Winter Event, auctions and raffles.  We’re always uplifted by the breadth of support for Miramichi salmon.  One raffle winner was from London, England, and another was from Ann Arbor Michigan, the distance between them being 4,000 miles.

While we are looking forward to next year’s events, what is really on our mind now is a season of salmon fishing!  My year starts the week of March 7th on the River Naver in Scotland.  It will be my 15th season there, though I’ve missed the last two with Covid.  The Miramichi opens for spring salmon on April 15.  That’s now less than 60 days away.  It should be a good spring considering all the great fish that poured up the river during June and July last year.

Some kelts, like this one photographed last spring on the Little SW MIramichi by Brett Silliker of Upper Oxbow Adventures, are so well mended they look like bright fish. Who could call this beauty a slink!

My personal plan is to try a little more spring fishing from shore with a Spey rod than I have in the past.  Last spring I got an e-mail from Wayne Curtis who fished right off the shore below Campbell’s in Blackville and caught two one afternoon.  I remember him saying that afterward he sat in the sun, protected from the wind by the little shed that we have by the shore.  He ate his lunch sandwich while he watched the river, and nodded off a little bit in the sunshine.  It painted a picture that sounded awfully good to me.

If you haven’t booked your spring kelt fishing trip it is time to do it.  That fishing is very popular and dates can fill up fast.  Country Haven, Upper Oxbow, The Ledges, Wilsons, and others that I don’t mean to offend by forgetting to include all do a lot of spring fishing and are great choices.

After the long winter just being on the river is more than worthwhile. Nathan Wilbur photo.

We have drawn the MSA US raffle winners.  We do this with random number generating software.  All aspects of ticket purchases and the number selection process are documented by the software, and I have taken screen shots of all the drawings.  These are available if any raffle ticket buyers want to see them.  Just e-mail me at bigbass@maine.rr.com.  Here are the winners:

160 Years of Salmon Stories won by Casey Cramton from Maine

Jerome Molloy Salmon Flies won by John Johnston from New Brunswick

Luther Hall Cains River Pool won by Chris Lloyd from England and New Brunswick

Orvis Mirage Reel won by Warren Tompkins from New Brunswick

Rio Fly Line of choice won by Ralph Vitale from Massachusetts

Sage Fly Rod of choice won by Peter Cherry from Michigan


9 Comments on “Miramichi Winter Wrap Up

  1. Brad , thanks for the update . Glad to hear everything went well and next year I will just have to buy more raffle tickets.
    Look forward to seeing you on the Cains

  2. Hi Brad,

    Thanks for what I hope is the winter wrap-up. Can’t wait to hit the Little SW on 4/24.

    Be safe,


    • Best of luck Roger. I don’t know why, but it seems that some of the very biggest kelts I have ever seen have come from the NW branch.

    • David – yes, the hooks are just regular single hooks. In some cases for spring fishing I have even used circles to eliminate any chance of deep hooking. That picture has been around awhile since before the barbless requirement, and they would need the barbs flattened. The Waddington shank is just a piece of stiff wire that extends the hook shank to make a longer fly, except that the hook is flexibly attached by various methods. I use spectra line. This reduces the leverage that can pull out hooks when one-piece, long-shanked hooks are used. The shanks are very frequently used in West Coast steelhead fishing and in European Atlantic salmon fishing.

  3. Good post to get us ready for spring, Brad. I’m going to try the kelt fishing for the first time this year. Covid restrictions the past two years and other priorities before that have got in the way of this fishery for me. I might not get into my camp in April but it should be accessible by mid-May. Hopefully this year we can finally get together on the river! Cheers!

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