Miramichi Salmon In Winter

Darrell Warren saw this pair of young bull moose on the Shinnickburn Road the other day. The same day he saw three more moose and two lynx.

Another salmon season has come to a close on the Miramichi.  I’ve pasted in some pictures of ice forming up including these shots that Darrell Warren sent me of the Cains River from the deck of my camp at Mahoney Brook, and some photos that Byron Coughlin took down at Doctor’s Island (click on them for full size).

Looking downriver toward 6 Mile.

Lot of ice in home pool.

Upriver towards the Grand Lake Rd









Looking upriver at Doctor’s Island from the Blackville bridge.

I think things would have solidified a couple of days back, but that slug of rain that NB got earlier in the week brought the river up several feet.  It didn’t stop the NW from freezing up, though, as you can see from Byron’s picture below taken driving across the Rte 8 bridge at the mouth of the NW.

A real winter scene on the NW.

Like most of you reading this I’m already looking forward to next summer’s salmon fishing.  If Covid doesn’t screw things up I’ll be in Scotland in early March, up on the Miramichi for spring fishing in late April, on the Cains in late May for brookies, spending most of my summer and fall salmon time on the Miramichi and Cains, but with a July trip to Newfoundland, and a week on the George in August.  I’m very excited about the plan.

This list contains many of the giants I’m talking about. Some of them are still with us, and still giving back to the Miramichi.

Right now we have to get through this winter.  Other than tying a few flies and cleaning up some equipment, I’m spending my time working on the MSA Winter Event to be held this year at the Portland Country Club in Falmouth, Maine.  Most years from the 1950s right up until Covid the MSA held a big event in Boston.  This was attended by many of the great old names of Atlantic salmon fishing.  Certainly, in Boston, foremost among those was Ted Williams.  As you can see in the photo that I took over at White Birch Lodge, Ted’s camp in the Rapids, Ted was life member number 1!

I said in a recent Facebook post that we were “gathering on the shoulders of giants.”  The old saying is “standing on…” but in the spirit of this winter gathering I thought I’d give it just a little different twist.  Ted was one, but there were many more.  According to Morris Green of the Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown it was two Americans, Ted Crosby and Kingsbury Browne, who met in Boston and came up with the idea for the Miramchi Salmon Association “MSA.”  The river’s problems were simpler then, but just as daunting.  Netting, especially in the estuary, was culling out all the large salmon turning the Miramichi into a grilse river.  The MSA was the force that worked successfully to stop that.

There is no doubt that the MSA still has a daunting task.  We are up against climate change, a runaway striped bass population, poaching, forestry practices that degrade the river, and the complexities of lobbying a bureaucracy that doesn’t always see things our way.  The MSA is doing a great job.  They have their head down and are running with numerous projects to assess and enhance the river, and they are keeping a very active presence on all the various supporting regulatory and advisory boards where we can make our case for Atlantic salmon and their conservation.

On Feb. 5th, at the Portland Country Club in Falmouth, Maine we will hold our U.S. Winter Event for 2022.  This year we have added a very big feature to allow the Miramichi’s supporters to participate fully in the event no matter where they are located.

Here’s how that will work:

  • All “virtual attendants” will be connected via zoom. We have hired a specialty A/V company to provide the best equipment and an onsite technician to produce the highest quality sight and sound possible.
  • Several people including the MSA President Robyn MacCallum, senior board member Rip Cunningham, and myself will speak directly with the virtual attendees during the cocktail hour.
  • Caroline Marin will be the virtual attendee’s hostess. Caroline will take you through the event using her cell phone to connect the virtual attendees with other people in the event, and to show them various exhibits and auction items. Virtual attendees will also be able to buy raffle tickets through Caroline with their bid paddle number.
  • Virtual attendants will be shipped a gourmet meal of their choice, and those who sign up too late to meet the cut off of Jan 15 will be sent a Wheatley hybrid fly box – holds dry and wet flies – with the MSA logo engraved. An early salmon fishing movie will be streamed during dinner.
  • After dinner we will all hear a brief update from Robyn on the year in review for the various projects of the MSA.
  • During the dinner and later in the paddle raise virtual attendants will be able to participate fully by texting Caroline their bids.

When it is all over we will have done important work to benefit our favorite fish in what may be North America’s greatest salmon river.

I attended these dinners myself for 20 years in Boston.  For me this February weekend is the start of the change from winter into spring.  To be sure there will be lots of winter left, but the sunlight hours will be getting noticeably longer on a daily basis, and the average temperatures will start to increase paving the way for spring and ice out on the Miramichi.

We’ve made it easy to participate, whether you are wintering in New England or Florida, or anywhere where there is decent internet service.  We’ll even bring the food right to you.  Whether you are going to come to the Portland Country Club, or attend virtually, you can do it all at this link.  I hope that you will join me in supporting this very important MSA US fundraising event.


Brad Burns President MSA US

PS If you are buying a table don’t worry if you don’t have all the names to fill in for every space right now.  Just put in one to answer the required field and send us the rest later.  If you are coming from out of town and want a hotel room there is information to help you under Accommodations at the same link.

This 20′ rebuilt Chestnut Ogilvy fishing canoe will be auctioned off in the online auction that will start before and end after the Winter Event.  Current plans are to display the canoe at the event.

6 Comments on “Miramichi Salmon In Winter

  1. I’ll bet everything is frozen solid today! Woke up to -18 here this morning! Brrr!!! Bring on the spring!

    • Ian – thanks for your comment. I did look at the MSA webcam at Bullock’s in Boiestown. The river there is filled with ice and it is moving slowly, but definitely still moving. It may be more solid down by Country Haven. Brad

      • I am on a trib of the Saint John River … more like lake where I am so feezes up earlier!

  2. That is a classic watercraft. Lots of photos of sports fishing from those boats on the Tabusintac River on the walls of the MicMac Salmon Club.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *