What has been a good run of June fish that are difficult to catch seems to be continuing on the Miramichi. Before I began fishing last Thursday morning the 23rd I was standing by the bench talking to Jason Curtis. We were carefully watching the pool. In the space of a minute or two I saw several fish roll on lies where fish are likely to take a fly. The level of activity was more like July than June. Jason told me that his brother Jeff had been fishing at a favorite gravel bar of his a little further upriver the evening before. The water was 74, which is a couple of degrees over the decent fishing limit, but there were a lot of fish around. Jeff estimated that during the evening session he had rolled at least 20 different salmon, none of which touched his fly. 15 minutes later I was wading down Campbell’s Pool in 64F water when a low-teen-sized salmon hammered my #8 Same Thing Murray. The fish swam slowly directly up current, and passed very close to me before bolting out into the center of the river and doing a wild, cartwheeling jump that threw the hook. This will be some morning I thought, but my luck ran out right on the spot and I never had another touch.
On Friday the day was windy from the south – something that we have had to get used to a steady diet of – and in the afternoon I hooked another salmon of about that same size. This fish stayed on for several big jumps and runs, but the hook finally pulled out just before the fish came to the net. Arrghh, that was zero in hand for 5 solid hookups this year. On Saturday morning I made it zero for six by losing a grilse that took on the dangle and turned the water to a froth before coming off. Fish hooked straight downstream are often very hard to hold on to even when using barbed doubles let alone barbless singles as are now required on the Miramichi! Oh well, we must remind ourselves how many parr we save each year. Frustrating yes, but still, I have had years when a June salmon couldn’t be bought for any price, so I’m happy to have the action.
The weather has been warm and sunny, but there have only been a couple of days when the afternoon temperature has risen enough to stop the fishing. Even then the nights have been cool and the river has come back into good shape the next morning. I find it relatively hard to catch fish in bright, dry weather though. The Miramichi is now much clearer than normal, and the height has been constantly dropping for weeks as opposed to the up and downs that occasional rain would provide. As we fished down through the pool from the canoe Saturday we could see clearly to the bottom in many areas. We regularly saw small groups of salmon here and there that we had doubtless already covered with the fly, but that had shown no interest. We also saw a great many shad. The deep hole upriver from us has thousands of them holding in it. I think with some overcast and skies, maybe a little drizzle, and the Miramichi’s normal tannic water color, we would have had more action.
I’ve been very pleased to see a good number of parr feeding throughout the pool. With the smaller number of spawners over the last few years we are all concerned about parr production, but it looked like normal numbers to me this past weekend – albeit that isn’t a very scientific measurement.
It is hot today as I write this, but it is forecast to cool off with some unsettled weather after today. Hopefully some of the forecast showers will turn into a decent rain so that the anticipated push of fish the river normally sees in early July will find attractive conditions and we’ll be able to catch a few.
PS Whenever I can I update my Salmon Report with the latest water height and temps. You can find it in the menu on the home page.