Closing the Season recounts an Atlantic salmon fisherman’s love affair with the world-famous Miramichi River and with the Cains, one of its most appealing autumn-run tributaries. Brad Burns, a well-known striped bass fly fisherman and author of the LLBean Fly Fishing for Striped Bass Handbook, first visited the Miramichi in 2002 and was quickly seduced by the challenge and the tradition of salmon fishing in this renowned New Brunswick river that is easily accessible but still unspoiled.
Burns has done his homework and his writing about the history of the Miramichi watershed and how the Canadian system of managing salmon fishing on public and private water developed over the past 125 years is especially interesting. Along the way you’ll meet some of the salmon fishers who helped make it all happen – people like baseball great Ted Williams, Hungarian freedom-fighter and guide Willy Bacso, and pioneering Miramichi outfitter Charlie Wade. You’ll also learn about the near death of salmon sport on the Miramichi due to out-of-control commercial fishing and the re-emergence of the river as “big fish” water after conservationists were successful in pulling out the nets.
A large portion of Closing The Season is devoted to the Cains, a small wild river with big salmon that arrive in the upriver camp pools towards the tail end of the season in late September and October. From the author’s journal notes taken on a daily basis for the last five weeks of the fishing year, the reader gets to share with Burns and his fishing friends the thrill of angling for salmon on their spawning passage upstream while enjoying the abundant resident and migratory wildlife and the changing look and feel of this pristine place as the brilliant fall foliage peaks and wanes and the Cains settles in for the long, cold, Canadian winter.
Closing the Season offers more than 125 photos and illustrations including carefully researched old maps and other interesting historical documents. The journal also features some lovely original sporting artwork by John Rice (including the cover painting) that brings to life the long angling history of the Miramichi and the Cains.
Brad Burns shares some very useful information about flies and other angling gear, along with anecdotal how-to that will be of interest to any salmon angler. But Closing The Season is most of all a celebration of the joys of salmon fishing in a great Canadian watershed that boasts the largest run of Atlantic salmon in North America.
“‘Closing the Season’ is the finest vade mecum for the Miramichi and Cains rivers that I have read. I closed my season on the Cains River in 2014. With the season now behind us and the temperature outside hovering around 0 degrees Fahrenheit, Brad Burns has performed the impossible: He has transported me to Campbell’s Pool and Keenan’s Pool on the Miramichi and to Woods Pool and Slow Pool on the Cains to experience again the radiance of autumn in New Brunswick. Nothing beats a fishing trip to the Miramichi or the Cains rivers in September or October. If you can’t make it up to camp, reading ‘Closing the Season’ is the next best thing.”
Topher Browne, Author of “Atlantic Salmon Magic” and “100 Best Flies for Atlantic Salmon”
“What a nice job the author did with this book. I was not sure what the main thrust of the book would be, but I found a great mix of history, local lore and personal anecdotes about the river, the valley and the folks and fish that inhabit it. I have been fishing the lower Miramichi for approximately 45 years and this book taught me a lot about the area’s past events that are so much a part of what it is today. All illustrated with a variety of old and new photos and illustrations. I am happy to add this to my library.”
Colin Cunningham Jr.
“This remarkable book gives every angler a rare opportunity to sit in the back pocket of a seasoned Atlantic salmon angler and listen to his thoughts and ruminations as he throws out a few weeks worth of casts for these fish. As he fishes the end of the 2012 season, he talks about the history of the area in great detail, about the arc of each season on the Miramichi, about the heroic (and successful) efforts to conserve these beautiful salmon from commercially-driven extinction, about his casts and how the fly should move through the likely spots where salmon might hold, about which flies to use at what times of the season, and about the many other things one sees while fishing these special places. I loved reading this book! It has what seems a perfect balance of personal thoughts and expressions of feeling, along with a great deal of valuable information about this sport. Burns has done a terrific job on this book, and credit should also be given to Duncan Barnes as editor. The layout is great, the photos magnificent! I give it five stars.”
Just finished reading “Closing the Season,” and sorry I finished—the book, that is. What a fine job! I was almost tempted to skim Part I before diving into your Journal section, but that didn’t last long with the detailed, fascinating historical background and your relationship with it all. And the Journal— well, you truly nailed it; the country, people, water, fish, right down to your blueberry pancakes/bacon/eggs breakfasts. I love your routine. It’s a lovely job, Brad, and you should be truly proud of it.
Jerry Gibbs Author, and long-time fishing editor of Outdoor Life Magazine