Miramichi Atlantic Salmon Report

Guide Willy Bacso holds a 30-pound cock salmon from October of 2007


MIRAMICHI ATLANTIC SALMON REPORT FOR: October 16, 2022                     
The Miramichi salmon season is now CLOSED.  Sign up at no charge on website home page for notices of blog posts that I will be writing during the offseason.
CURRENT WATER LEVELS AND TEMP:    Water height on the Blackville gauge is .63M and level. Water temps this morning at 9C/48F.

Note Degrees in F = 1.8C + 32, Water height is in meters at gauge in Blackville.  Up to .7M considered low, .71M to .99M medium, 1M plus high.

1 (506) 857-6328
I hope that everyone will write this number down and enter it in their phone address book.
A DFO enforcement officer has assured me that this number can be called at any time to report illegal fishing activity, and action will be taken.

In this late season fly size is highly variable and quite subjective. I often fish larger flies like a #2 October Killer streamer, but in low water pools some very small flies will work. .

Wet fly patterns include Black Ghosts, Same Thing Murray, Black Bear Green Butts etc, and most standard patterns will work.  Never overlook a Green Machine.  Fall patterns like the Ally’s Shrimp and Chief Needabah are now working. It is hard to beat a Mickey Finn or October Killer as a fall streamer.


Colles Stowell with a bright, fall, Miramichi salmon  

10/15 Rain fell during the last day of the season, and there was a strong movement of fish up the Cains River.  A small late run of bright salmon also materialized in the main river.
10/13 I’ve been home since Sunday, but I’m heading back up to NB in a few minutes to fish the last two days.  I’m especially excited to fish Saturday after what I hope will be a rainy Friday night.  The SWM is now at .63 meters, and that may be as low as it gets until next July.  This is not forecast to be a big rain, but in the NE nothing really dries out after October, so we are not likely to see these levels again for a while.  I believe there is a lot of movement yet to take place in the Cains as the majority of the fish are still holding up in the lower 7 or 8 miles of river.  New arrivals from downriver haven’t been very numerous, but some are being caught regularly with sea lice.  There could be a good run of fish upriver after the rain, though at the same time they may be hard to catch.  We’ll just have to see.

10/11, 12 There is both some good and not so good news to the current report.  Water is low in the Cains and the fish are waiting for a raise.  The catch is slow, but not non-existent.  There are reports of new life on the main river with a few being caught and numbers of fish jumping at Quarryville.  Rain is coming for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and that could provide for some good fishing on the last three days as fish leave their lies and move closer to their spawning grounds.

10/8. It showered off and on last night but there was almost no measurable volume.  Still I’m hoping it will move a few fish upriver and liven up some of the stale ones. Eric Wade visited Campbells yesterday.  He is famous outfitter Charlie Wade’s grandson.  We had a great chat about his childhood memories from visiting his grandfather’s camps. .
10/7 We have a great low water fishing level in the Miramichi, but there are few to no fish coming.   Water levels on the Cains are very low limiting the number of productive pools and making salmon very hard to catch.  Just one of those years.

10/5. Salmon are stretched out in the Cains from Salmon Brook on up, but with poor water conditions they are terribly stale and hard to catch. There is no rain forecast until the last three days of the season; that could be very interesting.   The main river below the Cains is practically devoid of fish.  Hopefully the full moon will bring in a little final push.

10/4. Fishing the Miramichi in Blackville yesterday we never saw a fish.  Some are sneaking through though as I had a good take at Doctors Island and then passing the same spot a half hour later it happened again.   Maybe the same fish, and maybe there were more there.  I worked the spot hard with no other action.
10/3 Black Brook landed fresh salmon yesterday, some with sea lice, and they saw a fair number of fish.  We fished some good Cains water both up river and near the mouth.  We hardly saw a fish.   We are having a string of very cold mornings.
10/2. In spite of the fact that we caught two fresh grilse on the Miramichi in Blackville yesterday morning, the run has slowed up quite a bit.  We’re going to try further up the Cains today.
10/1 we fished the big slow pool yesterday, and it produced nothing, but we did see that a lot of dour salmon and grilse are holding there.  We’ll be fishing the main river today.  The lowering water levels are getting much more attractive for our pools.
9/30 The main river was quiet for us yesterday with no fish caught and few seen.  The Cains was quiet too, but I did find a good slow pool that yielded two grilse.  These were all dour, dark fish biding their time In deep, slow water.  A long cast, unmended round-house swing, with a red and orange marabou streamer.
9/29 Yesterday was a good day as we landed three nice hen salmon.  Ally’s Shrimp and October killer were the flies.  We saw a few more too, but the ones we caught never showed. We are now in for a stretch of cool dry weather that could us back in low water conditions.   I welcome the lower water, but not the bright sun.

9/28 we saw a few fish on the main river yesterday and rolled one, but it was quiet.  In the morning we fished pools in the lower Cains and saw nothing.
9/27 one of my guests caught two very bright salmon yesterday in Blackville.  Both were henfish 15 and 11 pounds.  I lost one in the same pool and that was my 7th hookup in a row that has got off.  Both fish came to a #4 Ally’s shrimp.  My hookup was on a #4 Black Ghost. From the forecast  we can expect the river to come down slowly at a moderate fishing height this week.

9/26 we were disappointed on the Cains yesterday, but caught our first salmon since the big rain on the main river. We saw several others too.  Here’s hoping the relatively good fall run is back underway. The fish was caught on an old fall streamer pattern called a Herb Johnson Special.
9/25 yesterday we felt the effects of hurricane winds from Fiona.  It was all but completely unfishable. The river is dropping and clearing nicely, and we’ll hope for the run to resume.  There should now be dispersed further up the Cains.  Big orange flies will be the norm now.
9/24 yesterday was a loss with very high dirty water.  Dropping now but high wind from Hurricane.  Fishing should resume this afternoon.
9/23 Big rain yesterday and the river is rising very fast.  Water was rising all day yesterday.  I hooked and lost two salmon and rolled others fishing a #2 October Killer streamer.  The fish were just  snapping at the fly as opposed to coming up off an established lie.  This raise will clear out all the col water holding pools with residual summer fish.  After the raise should be the start of the best upper Cains fishing.

9/22 This looks to me to be the best fall run in some years.  They haven’t been holding well though, and catching them isn’t easy.   Still I’m seeing a lot  of good salmon that will be joining the summer run on the spawning grounds next month.  Lots of rain in the forecast, but no blowout storms.

9/21 we got a half or so of rain over the Miramichi headwaters yesterday, and more over the Cains.  This should perk up the fall run on the main river and start the migration up the Cains.  This is always an exciting time on the river.
9/20 We got just one grilse yesterday, but had brief hookups to several more fish.  A modest but consistent run of fresh fish – seemingly far better than last fall – are entering the river.  Weather has been bright and sunny, but a period of rainy weather has arrived.

9/19 Got two lovely grilse in the. main river yesterday, but also saw a ton.  With rain coming it is time to be on the river.
9/18 Eddie Colford of Black Brook said they would show up now that the cold was coming.  He was talking about the Miramichi fall run.  We saw quite a few fish at Campbells last night.  It may be time for the October Killer.
9/17 good morning yesterday on the Cains.  Saw a good number of fish on the main river in pm but no hookups.  Tremendous wind.  Temps and water height are perfect.  Caught fish on #12 chenille green machine, and #2 marabou streamers.
9/16 Another day, another cockfish or two…from the Cains.  BBSClub caught a sea liced grilse yesterday, but at Campbells we saw no fish.  It blew  a hurricane and we fished in whitecaps so could have been some showing that we missed.

9/15. Caught a nice cockfish of about 15 pounds yesterday on a purple slime on the Cains and briefly connected with another.  We’ll hope the raise of water from recent rain and cooler temps will bring in some new fish.

9/14 saw a few fish yesterday on the SWM but no takers.  Fished Brophy on Cains.  Lots of stale fish. Raining now with half inch forecast.  That would help.

9/13 big news is for cooler temps and rain starting this afternoon.  They are now forecasting a half inch which could really kick things into gear.
9/12 first signs and news of fall run fish this morning.  Several came up in the heart of Campbells pool, and had good reports from downriver.  Weather turns toward cooler tomorrow.  Bring it on!
9/11 water height is now firmly in low water territory.   Pooled up fish are very stale, and so far there is just a trickle of new fish entering the river.  The only good news is that it is not as warm as forecast, and that the degree of heat forecast for the next couple of days has moderated.   We could sure use a half inch of rain.
9/10 we caught a large grilse on a  tiny bomber yesterday morning and rolled a couple.   Lots of fish showing in some pools.  We did see a few new fish at dawn and dusk on the main river.  We are in a stretch of warm sunny weather not forecast to end until Tuesday.

9/9. Certain stretches of the Miramichi and Cains are holding large numbers of salmon.  These fish are stale and difficult to catch, though Andy Dumaine hooked 5 yesterday on the Cains using trout sized white dry flies from fish that wouldn’t touch a wet fly.   We have 5 sunny days coming up with hot daytime temps.  Boo hiss.  Very few fresh fish are entering the river right now.
9/8 arrived in Canada yesterday.   Caught nothing last night but did see a few salmon.  Water was only 68F last evening with bright sun all day.  It is  7C/46F this morning and we are heading to the Cains.

9/6/22 There is no really hot weather and no rain in the next week’s forecast.  In two or three days we will be below .7 meters on the Blackville gauge and in what I consider to the high end of low water conditions.  This is a good place to be in for this time of the season as it slows down the fall run so that we can have a crack at them as they work more slowly upriver.

9/4/22 Getting good reports of sea liced fish from Black Brook.  MSA Labor Day trip winner from last winter’s auction is at Campbells and reported catching a grilse, losing a salmon, and seeing good numbers of fish on the Cains.  Looks like a decent start to the fall season is underway.

9/3/ 22  The river came up to 1.1M in recent rains. That was an approx 1 foot raise.  It is down to 1 meter and dropping.  Fishing activity is just starting to pick up and there have been some good catches reported.  The water is cooling down nicely and we can use some larger flies.  Try the orange fall patterns too.

8/31 At noon today it is raining over the Miramichi as a large cold front comes through.   This front is sweeping the summer air away and relaxing it with air that will get progressively cooler and drier over the next few days.  Welcome to the beginning of autumn!

8/30 This is the time of the year when salmon stacked in cold water pools are normally waking up from warm, low-water conditions.  We have had, though, good water flows all summer, and many fish are well distributed up the rivers.  This is also the time that historically has had the lowest number of new salmon entering the river.   On

Historically the fall run begins to come in at the end of the first week in September, and picks up steam every week through the first week in October.  That is the statistical average, but it changes dramatically every year depending on a variety of factors including weather.  The hope for 2022 is that the prolonged period of warm weather this summer discouraged salmon from entering – after a very good start to the season – and that the fall run will really make up for it.  We don’t have long to wait and see.  Starting on 9/6 I’ll be in camp for the rest of the Miramichi season, and my reports will be from the perspective of “waders on the river bottom” during that time.

8/26/22 Fishing is essentially non-existent right now with the cold-water pools closed and the river hovering around 70F+ most of the time.  Water temps have been cooling off a little, and that trend should continue for the next couple of days.  It is possible that DFO will open the cold-water pools to fishing soon.  In any case a marked cooling looks to begin mid next week as we move towards fall.                                                                   

8/24/22 The bump in water to 1.3 meters in Blackville came and went in about 6 days.  This is largely because the rain fell south of the Miramichi and the raise came via the smaller Cains watershed.  The cold water pools are again closed to fishing, a situation that is supposed to be reviewed on Thursday.  Temps are forecast to be up and down with some cool overnights but warm days forecast.  The trend towards fall weather is very modest at this time.

8/22/22  Wayne O’Donnel of Rocky Brook says that their cold water pools have a decent but not huge number of holding fish, and that fishing is good but not great…  Catches around the lower Miramichi and Cains have been okay too with Black Brook and Country Haven reporting some notable cockfish being caught.  The trend over the coming week is for temps to get even cooler with some mornings in the 40s F by week end.  It should be a decent Labor Day weekend on the river.

8/20/22 Fish on the move says Eddie at Black Brook.   Some nice fish have been caught in recent days.

8/17/22 Water temps are below critical levels and the river is open to fishing.  Water temps are warm, though, and with more heat in the immediate forecast fishing is not great on the river in general.  Historically mid-August is the slowest time of the year on the Miramichi.

8/7/22 Temps for tomorrow and the next day are forecast to reach highs of only 18C/64F with rain throughout the period.  This will provide relief from the prolonged period of stress the salmon have been under.  There will be a raise of water, and some new fish should enter the river, though this is historically the slowest time of the season for new fish to enter.  It is possible that the warm water protocol can be lifted sometime later in the week.

8/5/22  Salmon fishing is essentially on hold on the Miramichi.  By sometime later next week that could change.

7/27/22 I was quite pleased to see the NWMiramichi drop below 20C/68F this morning.  That is reportedly a critical temp for the fish to really get a break.  The graph shows that average temps have cooled off a little over the past few days.  We are in a period of significant stress to salmon.  The warm weather is forecast to continue into early August.

7/25 Great trip to Nwfld.  It was good off and on back on the Miramichi while I was away too.  Of special note is that numbers of salmon have already been caught up the Cains beyond Shinnickburn this year.  That only happens every few years.  The trap numbers are also showing a very good year in progress for salmon and a decent one for grilse.  Check out my salmon blog for a more thorough report.  It is way too hot on the Miramichi for salmon fishing, and looks like it will remain that way into August.

7/17  I’m on my way to a camp in Nwfld.  I’ve been informed that a good run of grilse arrived in the MSW.  Unfortunately the weather has turned quite warm, and the lower river will probably offer very little fishing for a while.

7/14 I posted a new blog yesterday that you can find in the menu at the top of the home page.  Fishing has continued to be good though water is warming, and levels are still well above normal for the date.  Eddie Colford at BBSC says there are lots of fish, but getting them to take is not easy.  Next week’s forecast has no rain – though thunderstorms can come anytime – and temperatures will be in the very high 20s to 30C/mid 80sF and could very well cause DFO to close the cold-water pools later in the week.

7/11 I have returned from a month in NB, so my salmon reports will now be information from friends instead of personal experience.  I see that the moderately high water conditions continue.  Temps are good so far, but there are a few hot days coming up that will provide some overly warm water during some afternoons.  I’m headed for Nwfld on Saturday, and when I get back we can look at the 7/15 Miramichi returns data from DFO.  I think it will be good news.

7/9/22 A good run of fresh salmon and grilse is underway on this high but falling water.  Catches are always modest on these running fish, but the action is pretty good.
7/8/22 We went to the Cains yesterday to escape the dirty water and caught two nice teen-sized salmon.  Water dropped back 6 inches last night, and we will hope for fresh fish on the main river today.

7/7/22 The main SW got two inches in the headwaters, and the Cains got around one inch.  Meadow Brook showed 4 inches, but I’m sure it’s broken.  This is a complete reset on fishing.  We’ve not yet seen the river down to a good fishing height, and it will be at least another week plus before we do.  It’s great for the fish and I assume the upriver pools are full of fish.  Andy Dumaine caught our first Cains grilse yesterday.  We’ll head up there today looking for some cool water.
7/5/22 We landed a perfect 15 pound hen salmon last evening at Campbells on a #6 Thunder and Lightning.   Fish were seen off and on throughout the day, but this was the only strike.
7/4/22 Hooked but lost salmon yesterday and rolled another.  Fly was #6 John Olin.  Pic of recently release of 33 pounder at Black Brook.

7/3/2022 I’ve been in a terrible dry stretch.  We did see some fish yesterday including a few in  Campbells Pool, but no hookups.   Others like Black Brook, with its cold water pool, had a good week.  This included one of 33 pounds caught by a lady angler. Country Haven reported a lot of fish in the lower river.   They landed three yesterday morning.

7/1/2022 Some nice salmon and grilse are still being taken, but by and large the run has slowed to a trickle.  The first week in July is normally one of the greatest of the season, so we are hopeful for a spate of fresh fish. Water heights are good and getting better, and temperatures aren’t bad for the time of year.
6/28, 29 Slow last couple of days with the warm water.  Still seeing salmon moving upriver, but takers are hard to come by.  Fish are now starting to collect in col water pools.
6/27 Lots of salmon on the move yesterday  morning.  Fish are starting to hold better on some of the lies as the water drops. It is still at above average height. Looks like the hot weather is going to moderate over the next few days.
6/25 good run of fish continues despite hot day yesterday.   Good mix now of grilse showing up.  With water still a little high there are few holding fish.  Black Brook Salmon  Club  head  guide  Eddie  Colford and  angler with  a  nice  salmon.

6/24 what a difference in one day.  Lots of fish on the go. Landed our first grilse, hooked a big salmon that jumped off, and rolled several other fish.  Water warmed up considerably to 62F last evening.
6/23 yesterday was very quiet.  We are getting back to a more fishable height in the lower river, and the forecast doesn’t include any big rain in the near term.
6/22/2022 the June 15 trap numbers were published and the SW branch has had a good early push of fish.  Catching has been difficult because of constant high water.   It looks like that is changing.   We rolled one fish last evening on a green machine  and hooked another on a black ghost that came off on the jump.  This river is dropping and things are looking up.
6/20/2022 High water but salmon are moving through and some being caught like the 22 pounder being released by Andy Dumaine fishing at the Ted Williams White Birch Lodge on the SWM.

6/19/22  Some salmon were around yesterday.  We saw four during the morning at Campbells and caught one and lost one about 9 pounds in the evening.   Pete Howell fishing at Black Brook lost a big salmon after what he described as the second 6 foot jump. The water is back up a bit this evening and it is raining now.
6/16/22  Water has been consistently high, and fish have blown through to upriver destinations.   The water is coming down now, but more rain is forecast.

6/13/22 we briefly hooked a salmon last evening and saw two others, so are hoping for a fresh push of fish.

6/12/22 I rose two salmon last evening and another angler fishing nearby rolled one and saw two others jump.  These were all moving fish, and there were no hookups.  The fish came to chartreuse #2 flash chenille green machines.  The 11th was slow for us.

6/8/22 Country Haven caught a bright salmon yesterday, and others have been seen.  Time to get fishing.

6/5/22 Colin Gilks got another salmon on 5/30 and we heard of another angler catching a salmon and a grilse.  Catches remain good up on the Restigouche/Matapedia system which hopefully bode well for the M.

6/1/22 I have heard nothing in recent days, but that is largely because we have had a ton of rain over the north, and the SWM got up to 3 meters, spring fishing height.  The water is now down to 1.8 meters.  Temps are remaining quite cool.  The catch has been quite good so far in 2022 on the Matapedia with a flurry of good activity before the recent rain.  This included guide Peter Firth landing two over 30 pounds each in one day.

5/22/22 A 40″ bright salmon was caught on the SWM on 5/22 in the Blissfield area, so the season has begun.  It is always slow at this time of the year, but the rewards are astronomical if you hook a big bright fish.

Caught 5/22 by Miramichi Salmon Club guide Colin Gilks in Blissfield.


8 Comments on “Miramichi Atlantic Salmon Report

  1. Water water, maybe too much water but good to see bright silver summer fish running the Miramichi system, Brad.
    TLs Henry.

  2. Hi Brad
    Been fishing the Miramachi since I was 10
    With George Curtis of Blackbille who unfortunately passed
    Last year. He was the greatest fly caster I have ever known and one heck of a salmon fisherman. We used to hang with Ted Williams at his camp. Anyway, do they require a vaccination card to enter Canada? I read your posts regularly and was lucky to visit the fall before COVID hit. There weren’t many fish and I didn’t see any anglers but managed to hook a fish every day~
    Thanks for keeping us all informed on what’s happening up on the great Miramachi. Aloha fro
    Kauai! Rob Arita

    • Aloha… Rob, hopefully you’ll get up there this fall and have a great trip. I knew George, a very personable guy. Ted Williams camp is now owned by a gentlemen from Texas, and they do lease it to sports. Best fishes. Brad Burns

  3. 3 fish caught during a hurricane if anyone’s ever wondered whether its worth trying!

    • Great e-mail. There is an old saying about fishing in the rain, that the fish don’t mind, they are already wet. It is true enough. I’ve had great fishing in rain so heavy you couldn’t see more than halfway across the river. It only lasts so long, though. Once the river really starts to rise the fish just have moving on their minds, and they will bump and roll at the fly, but seldom really take it. My experience.

  4. A member of the Miramichi-Renous Club (about 1 mile above Quarryville Bridge) reported fresh fish coming in from tidewater to the Home Pool at 8PM last night (14th) so hope river continues to drop for you. Maine is supposed to get hammered with thunderstorms this evening.

    • Thanks Andy. We saw a lot of salmon in Blackville this afternoon. We rolled three but had no hookups. Hopefully this is the start of good things.

  5. I’ve caught large landlocked salmon (~30″) in upstate NY on a 5 weight with an OPST setup, which kind of steak up the rod, but it wasn’t really effective.

    If you’re fishing for sea-run salmon, get like a 7-8 weight.

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