Very warm conditions – not an outright heat wave, but a prolonged period of high humidity and temps in the high 20C range cooling only to mid to high teens at night – have prevailed for the last 10 days over the Miramichi region. The closure of cold water holding pools took place and fishing was restricted to mornings. Throughout the period water as cool as 72F or 22C has been hard to find, and very few people have been on the water at all. There also has not been much rain, though to our south in Nova Scotia the Margaree valley was inundated with heavy rains and big raises of water. In fact Jason Curtis was up doing some work at Mahoney Brook on the Cains, and he said he walked across the head of the rapids above the home pool in only ankle deep water. Everything is changing now, and while temps of slightly above normal are forecast for the next week we should have daily highs of air temps in the low to mid 70s and nights in the mid 50s. This will provide reasonable temperatures for late summer or early fall fishing. There is rain forecast for Wednesday, maybe well over an inch, and hopefully the beginning of the fall run will start to leave the estuary. Statistically, though, without a big raise of water the second week in September sees the first measurable push of fall fish. The Miramichi valley has managed to duck most of those larger raises this summer. The good part of that, though, is that our fall run hasn’t been drawn prematurely up the river. In years when we see several large raises of water in late summer and early September we can be left without the usual numbers of late September and early October fish.
I’m headed up to Matapedia on Saturday for four days that a friend and I bought at an ASF dinner, and then back to my camp for Labor Day weekend. I have modest expectations, but a little more rain than forecast could provide some excellent fishing. We’ll just have to see.
It certainly sounds like there are plenty of fish down in the estuary. Last week I looked at the Millerton trap numbers for August 15 and both salmon and grilse look very good. Grilse in particular have more in this year’s count than the 2012-2014 seasons combined. We are still a hair behind the phenomenal 2009 through 2011 grilse averages, but very little. Multi sea winter salmon counts are right there. If we have a good fall 2015 will indeed go down as the turn around year we all hoped it would be, but that is still an unwritten chapter.
If you haven’t booked some time for the Miramichi this fall there may very well still be opportunities to get in with many of the excellent outfitters available. WW Doak fly shop’s website has a pretty good list available under accommodations on the their website. If you can make only one trip a year the time is now. Fall fishing on the Miramichi system provides more opportunity to catch salmon – including the largest of the year – than any other venue in North America, and the rates are among the most reasonable of all salmon lodges.
I’ll provide a full report of my trip and some photos – hopefully fish included – around the 8th of September.