Miramichi Atlantic Salmon Report

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

MIRAMICHI ATLANTIC SALMON REPORT FOR:  July 13, 2024       
CURRENT WATER LEVELS AND TEMP:   The height of the SWM on the Blackville gauge is 1.3M rising strongly.  The water temperature is now at 21C/70F.  Please note that the cold water pools are all now closed due to temperature. Refer to the MSA website for the exact notice.

Degrees in F = 1.8C + 32, Water height is in meters at gauge in Blackville.  Up to .69M considered low, .7M 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.

FLY and TACKLE CHOICES:  
We are now in the period of summer temperatures and that typically means small wet flies of #8 or smaller or dry flies including some fairly small ones of #6 or so. Tippets of 6 or 8 lb test produce the best results with the small flies. 

 

FISHING REPORT:

2024 Season!

7/13/24 The raise topped out at 1.6M and is now dropping back.  Water temp has dropped to 20.5C/69F the coolest since July 1.  There are 4 consecutive days of 30C forecast now and then mid-week the heat breaks.  Hopefully the large volume of cooler water will protect the fish in the brooks.

7/12/24  I would add to yesterday’s comments that the total for the storm appears to have been around 60MM more or less over the whole watershed.  The SWM is up to 1.3M and this morning it is going straight up.  The temperature has steadily dropped and is down to 21C/70F but that is still warm.  The next 5 days are all forecast to be near 30C,  Fishing conditions are very poor, though we look to be in for a considerable cooling down after the middle of next week.  I’ll be headed for Nfld tomorrow and will have iffy internet service so reports will be sporadic.  Also, reports I have received along the river are not seeing any salmon mortalities.  That is good.

7/11/24 The Miramichi valley is receiving a heavy rain.  As of 6:00 AM 30MM/1.2 inches has already fallen and as much or more is forecast to still come down.  The river is warm, and this rain won’t change the poor fishing conditions, but it will really help the salmon that are in the system.  Reports are that there are now salmon stacking up in the cold water pools and they need a break.  The increased volume will also make it harder for poachers to catch fish.  It looks like there will be a substantial change in this warm, muggy patter in the middle of next week.

7/8/24 Thank god for the recent rain as it will help keep the temps lower.  The next week is going to be warm overall and with some really oppressive days.   We hear that the poachers are out in force.  There is a number in the paragraphs above to report this activity.

7/7/24. The last three days stayed relatively cool under cloudy skies.  Parts of the Cains watershed actually saw nearly 2 inches of rain and the.Miramichi over half an inch. This has caused one quick raise with I suspect more coming later today.  That is a very good thing since the forecast for the next week has a couple of days in the 30C/86F zone.  That is simply far too warm to reopen the cold water pools.  There are salmon being seen entering the river, though.
7/4/24 The summer run was a little later arriving than last year, and it has been met with warm water temperatures that have caused the cold water refuges to be closed to angling.   I’ll be headed back to Maine tomorrow morning for a week, and then off to Newfoundland for two.  I hope to knock out a blog report this coming week to summarize the season to date.
7/3/24 Millerton trap numbers through 6/30 came out yesterday, and while good for MSW salmon, they were very low for grilse which reflect the leading edge of the bass predation.
Unfortunately we are looking at a period of very warm weather with little rain forecast.  The effects on water temperatures will not be good.

7/2/24 Yesterday’s claim that a decent run of fish was underway was confirmed by our observations as well as those of Country Haven, BBSC and Country Haven.  We all saw good numbers off salmon moving up the river.  Andy Dumaine did catch one at my camp, but generally they just rolled at the flies without touching them or ignored them altogether.  Water was slowly rising all day, and maybe that was it.

7/1/24 I’m hoping that yesterday was the start of a decent summer run.  We ran into a bunch of salmon, some holding and some running.  We rolled three individual fish that each made aggressive slashes at the fly but wouldn’t come back.  Eddie Colford reported similar results at Black Brook.
We had rain the night before as well as thunderstorms yesterday that put about an inch of rain over the watershed, so I’m expecting a small raise today.  Unfortunately we have a mostly dry, sunny week coming up.
6/30 I heard yesterday that BBSC has caught 4 salmon and 4 grilse in recent days. Country Haven reported seeing several grilse and salmon just below BB last evening.
There was about a third of an inch of rain over most of the watershed last evening and as much more forecast for today.  Everything is perfect for salmon to be entering the river.
6/29/24 Hooray, I got a grilse yesterday on a #4Black Ghost. It was a beautiful and feisty little devil, and it squirmed out of Darrell’s hands as he tried to pose with it for a photo.  Conditions are very good and we keep expecting a good push of fish, but so far it is just a few slipping up the Miramichi.

6/28/24. We saw more salmon yesterday than we have been used to seeing.  They all seemed to be on the move and we never had a roll or a strike.  Ashley Hallihan got one and the day before Black Brook got another, but the catching has been difficult.  It rained off and on yesterday amounting to about a half inch.  That has stopped the decline in level for a while.  It’s great running water for the fish.

6/27/24 Yesterday produced only an Upper Blackville grilse for Country Haven that we have heard of and a shad and a gasperaux for me. These are unusual catches while salmon fishing, and I’ve now had 6 this year.  Again we only saw a couple of fish, but clearly a few are sneaking through.  The report is that Rocky Brook now has decent numbers.  Today is cool and rainy with the river at a perfect height to bring in salmon.  We’ll see. In the words of Robert Burns: “Now’s the day, and now’s the hour.”

Club manager Eddie Colford holds a nice salmon for one of Black Brook’s senior members.  A perfectly shaped early run fish.

 

6/26/24 The recent raise of water took much longer than normal to top out.  The water hovered all day between 1.35, up slowly to1.39, then finally down to 1.35M and now dropping strongly this morning.  Yesterday it was quite dirty all day.  Things will be greatly improved today.  We did see several fish, but had no takers.  BBSClub did get a nice sea-liced salmon.
6/25/24. What a change.  The raise of water is beginning to form a top and will start to drop this afternoon.  The river is down to the low mid 60s and the next few days will hopefully see a nice run of fish.
6/24/24 The biggest part of the rain is over.  We got about 1 1/4 inches over the Miramichi and 2 inches over the Cains.  The river will rise now for the next 18 hours or so.  I’m always wrong guessing these things, but I’d guess that we get up to about 1.5 meters and the water temp drops to at least 65F or so.  It will certainly be a new ball game.
I heard of a bright salmon caught yesterday in the SWM and a surprising number seen jumping in Quarryville, also in the last day or so.
6/23/24 The weather in the Northeast is anything but dull.  We’ve just had a near record, but thankfully fairly brief, very early in the season heat wave.  We now have two very cool days coming with somewhere between 40 and 60 mm of rain.  Everything we see right now is going to change.  We are at very low water levels for June, but by Wednesday morning it will be a completely new ballgame with a river full of cool water.  All the current DFO restrictions should be lifted.  We’ll be back to big flies and hopefully good numbers of fresh fish from the estuary.  The tail end of this week should also see the first fish nosing up into the Cains.

6/22/24  The heat wave ended yesterday, and air temperatures over eastern New Brunswick are slightly below normal, 46F in Doaktown.  The forecast for the week is for cool, rainy weather to occupy most days.  NB has escaped southern Maine’s drenching so far, but we could see between one and two inches this week over the Miramichi.  River temperatures are dropping and should be back in the completely normal zone by tomorrow morning.  The current closures should be quickly lifted, but we’ll have to see how quickly DFO reacts.  I’m headed back to NB on Sunday and hope to see greatly improved fishing sometime this upcoming week.

6/20/24 I’m back in Maine riding out the heat wave.  Today is the last 30-degree C days, but as often happens tomorrow has been extended to 28C,  The government has closed all the cold-water pools to fishing until further notice.  That is supposed to mean three consecutive days where the temperature gets below 20C/68F.   It will probably be at least Sunday before these pools reopen.  The high, water temperatures reached yesterday afternoon, and where they still are this morning, are somewhat mitigated by the fact that there are very few salmon in any of the lower river holding pools.  The real salmon run simply hasn’t started yet.  This year that is a good thing.  Perhaps when this cools down a little and if we get some of the rain forecast over the next few days, then we will see a decent pulse of fish.

In the picture below a Tyler Coughlan of Country Haven has helped a Miramichi brook deliver cool water directly into the river rather than allow it to heat up as it trickles through the rocky obstacle course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/18/24 A couple of shad last evening but no salmon.  We did see salmon at Doctors Island yesterday, and covered them without a take.  I’m headed home to Maine for the rest of the week because of the heat wave moving in today.  Three days of around 90F are forecast.  After that a strong return to normal complete with some showers is in the cards.  Hopefully that will bring conditions back to normal and get the summer run underway.
6/17/24 Last evening Byron Coughlan reported seeing schools of salmon moving up river in front of Country Haven before dark.  The 17th was the first day last year that I connected with a salmon.  We’ll see what today brings.  I’m  headed back to Maine tomorrow morning, with plans to return on the weekend after the heatwave passes and we have hopefully returned to normal.  The longer term forecast is good.  With cool and showery weather forecast.  The season to date has been very hit or miss- in our case miss – but early June is almost always that way.  The quality of the potential catch, though, brings me back every year.

6/16/24 Yesterday was a great fishing day that started with us seeing a couple of salmon jump as they moved through Keenan’s, but a long day of fishing produced nothing.
6/15/24 We fished three of the better pools up and down river including Campbell’s and had no action.  We did see a couple of salmon, but there are just a few at this time, and they seem to be on the move. Mark Hambrook, past president of the MSA came over for a fish yesterday, and we had a great time talking about the history of the Miramichi’s salmon fishing history.  We noted the very good numbers of parr feeding all over Campbell’s Pool.

6/14/24 Harold Berry of South Bristol, Maine caught this bright hen salmon in Upper Blackville yesterday while fishing at Country Haven.  Conditions are excellent, and a few fish are moving.  We are hoping for some to pause in our water as they pass through

6/13/24 David Donahue reported two schools of salmon working upriver last evening.  It was very quiet yesterday.

6/12/24 No salmon yesterday, though we saw a few.  The river is dropping and clearing up now.  It did get a little dirty in yesterday’s raise.6/11/24 Jeremy Vickers of Country Haven holds a nice salmon in Upper Blackville last evening.  All we caught at Campbells was a brook trout and a big shad.  The river got a perfect boost from the showers.  Conditions are excellent.

 

Alex Colford son of BBSC manager Eddie Colford landed this beauty yesterday.

6/10/24 I’m leaving yesterday’s info up right after this because the only thing to add is that we did get about a half inch yesterday and a little more is to come today.  We are in the second week of June now.  The general trend for the next 60 days is to lower and warmer water, but it is anything but a smooth track.  After getting down to .67 on the Blackville gauge and temperatures up in the 70Fs, we are currently turning back the clock.  There was a half-inch plus of rain over the watershed yesterday, and before most of the rain and showers end Monday afternoon we should get at least that much again.  The river is rising, and I suspect will get back over a meter before it is done.  Temperatures this morning are down to 18C/64F, and will be lower tomorrow and Tuesday morning.  These are good conditions, and we should see a few more bright fish coming in this week.

6/8/24  Water temperature this morning is 21C/70F which is very warm for June 8.  A cooler, showery stretch starts today and runs through Tuesday before it warms back up ending in showers next Friday.  The week after that is currently forecast to be cool and dry.  This is fairly normal June weather on the Miramichi.  Let us hope that the showery, rainy stretch also brings the river up a bit.  Hopefully this showery stretch will bring the river up a little and invite in a run of salmon.

6/3/24 Salmon news has cooled a bit.  David Donahue says that a lot of salmon went up the river that last week in May.  He says he is now seeing shad but not salmon.  Not surprising since so few fish normally come in this early.  The water has taken the tiniest bump upwards in the recent showers.  When it gets down to these levels it doesn’t take much rain to stop the decline.  We have three warm – but not hot – days coming up, and then there is a little period of cool showery weather forecast.  We’ll take all of that we can get.  Anglers can expect to connect with a salmon anywhere on the Miramichi now.

6/2/24  The big news is that on the morning of the last day of May, Jake Swan of Fredericton caught the first photo-verified, Miramichi, bright salmon of 2022.  Jake was fishing a #4 Blue Charm from his camp in Blissfield.  A week of excellent June fishing conditions is on tap.  

5/31/24  A fiend of mine saw a bright salmon snagged near Millerton. The fish had a DFO tag and was snagged on a striper lure.  It was immediately released.

5/30/24  I’ve heard nothing yet but a vague rumor of a salmon from the NW over a week ago.  Recent rain brought the river up about 14 inches to 1.3 meters.  The raise has topped out and the river will start to drop back later today.  This should be great for bringing in some more bright salmon.  Sunny skies and seasonable temps are forecast for the rest of the week with mild days and cool nights.  Still no confirmed report of a Miramichi bright.

5/26/24 conditions are exceptional for an early bright, and there is nothing on the horizon to change that.  Life-long, riverside resident David Donahue sent me a video last evening showing pods of bright salmon coming up the river.  I’m expecting that e-mail for the prize any minute!

5/24/24  Water of 19C and .88 meters in height is terrific for salmon.  Most of the watershed missed yesterday’s thunderstorms.  This is the earliest that I can recall seeing these excellent conditions for most SWM salmon pools.  A return to much cooler and showery weather is coming next week.  Someone should soon catch that first salmon.

5/21/24 Water has now dropped under 1M in height, a rare event by my experience for May.  The temperature is a reasonable low to mid-60s, but will definitely warm up over the next few days before another cool spell arrives on Sunday.  The table is perfectly set for the first bright salmon.  Some have to be in the system now.

5/20/24 The word is stripers.  The lower NWM is lousy with the striped horde and there are plenty in the SWM too.  I’ll be very glad when spawning time is over.  The bass won’t deter the early, bright run salmon though, and the first can be expected anytime now.  In fact, I’m sure they are there, but someone needs to put a fly in front of them.  Very warm weather for a few days then back to normal or slightly below into early June.

Here is a nice trout from my recent trip.

5/18/24 I fished both Mahoney and Six Mile this morning.  Action was good, though all on wet flies.  The biggest trout was about 11 inches, but there are lots of them.  There are also a good number of smolts that keep worrying your fly.

5/17/24 Yesterday afternoon’s action was just as good, but there was a hatch and dry flies were the ticket.  There both caddis and mayflies, and any old pattern in the size range worked.  I did get a couple of parr, but 99% brookies.  No searuns.  Perfect conditions now for an early bright salmon.
5/16/24 I’m in camp at Mahoney Brook on Cains.  I was greeted by a sow bear and two cubs during last evening’s cocktail hour.  I fished for two hours this morning before breakfast.  I probably netted two dozen brookies from 5 to 15 inches with 75% being 10 inches or less.  My god, they were fat as pigs.  There were also a good sprinkling of parr and smolts of all sizes.  It was a truly wonderful morning.
Last evening the air was in the mid 70s, but it is very different this morning.  The temps are in the high 40s with a raw easterly breeze.  Good fishing weather though!

I caught fish on several flies, but did the best with a #6 olive nymph with a soft hackle collar fished on a floating line.

5/14/24 The water is now down to 1.04, quite a low height for mid-May.  The water temperature will get into the 60s over the next few days.  A bright salmon could show up anytime now.  The smolt run is probably at or near peak.  That isn’t lost on the striped bass which are filling the huge salmon pool that stretches from the mouth of Cains down to Wade’s Fishing Lodge.  One report is that there are many more bass there than last year which at the time was the most anyone had ever seen in that area.  DFO has spent all winter listening to one expert after another tell them that for salmon and bass to coexist in the Miramichi system the bass numbers need to come way down.  Something has to change. 

5/13/24 The water is continuing to drop and warming a little.  .011 is a decent height for wading in many locations.  A relatively warm and moist week is on tap – fishy.  Here is a link to that article on the value of releasing the large, early run salmon. https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/evolution/early-summer-fishing-can-have-evolutionary-impact-resulting-smaller-salmon   We’ll be looking for the first ones starting soon, conditions are looking better and better.
5/9/24 There was an interesting article in the google salmon search feed this morning about the importance of large, early run fish being left in the population to breed.  Apparently, it is now recognized fact – big debate on it years ago – that early run salmon are headed further upstream for their spawning, and that a higher percentage of these fish have a genetic variant that makes them live longer and grow larger.  It has been many years in New Brunswick since it was legal to keep any of the large early run fish.  Looks like it was a good thing.  

5/8/24 Tyler Coughlan of Country Haven sent in photos yesterday of stripers taken at Doctor’s Island.  Stripers are now moving up into the lower reaches of the SWM river to feed on whatever they can find.  There is also spawning activity there also.  It has been seen by many qualified observers.  The bulk of these fish seem to be back out of the freshwater by the middle of June.  

5/7/24 Yesterday’s water high temperature of 13.5C/56F was easily the highest reached in 2024.  This is warm enough for smolts to leave the Miramichi, and doubtless now some will start the downstream journey.  While the run on each branch does peak over several days the smolts trickle out over the course nearly a month.  I have caught them at Campbell’s while salmon fishing as late as the first week in June.  I keep hoping that climate change will open whatever gap may exist between striped bass spawning temperatures and the smolt run.  

5/6/24 Dejan Gilsic of Falmouth, Maine caught this Labrador quality sea-run brookie fishing near the head of tide of the Miramichi with Country Haven.  He got plenty of nice salmon too.    

5/5/24 Karl Wilson says that after a good early weather kelts are really thinning out in his area, but the trout fishing is terrific.  Another angler described good fishing in Blissfield, and being able to see “dozens” of salmon in shallow water there.
5/4/24 Country Haven reported that they have several anglers in camp who  are coming up with limit catches of very nice looking kelts in Blackville.
5/3/24 Several of the lodges are hosting spring fishing parties this week.  I’ll get a check on the results after the weekend.  The water, though, now at 1.47 meters is as low as I have ever seen for spring fishing.  In the first half of the 1900s, though, Allen’s crew regularly fished the Cains in mid or late May catching kelts well up the river.  They regularly fished by wade fishing.  More and more wade fishing is now being done for kelts as people realize how doable it is – especially with a two-handed rod.  

Yesterday Al Putnam wrote me that his friend Bill Hooper, a well-known DNR salmon biologist from a few years back, says that he and his peers always felt that the kelts left the river based on the photoperiod.  My own observations are that some years the fishing becomes very difficult after the first couple of weeks, and other years the good fishing continues on into mid-May or even a little later.  Hooper may well be correct, but I’d guess that other factors such as water height/velocity and temperature can also make a difference.  Before DFO so grossly mismanaged striped bass the Miramichi hosted a gigantic population of smelts that fed the outgoing smolts and may very well have caused them to hang around the lower river putting some weight back on.  The smelt population has all but collapsed due to the bass, and I have no doubt that is also changing the way the kelts behave.  

5/2/24 I recently asked Mark Hambrook, past president of the MSA and the most overall knowledgeable person I know regarding Miramichi salmon, what it was that triggered the kelts to leave the river.  We do know that they don’t just all go at once.  Is it the warming of the river, the decrease in river flow, the length of the day or something not apparent to us?  Mark said that he didn’t think any research had ever been done to study this annual event.  

Also of note, is that Hall of Fame salmon guide Gary Colford has passed away.  Gary’s family has guided on the Miramichi for generations.   When I first went to Wade’s Fishing Lodge to look at Campbell’s Pool I met Gary.  He had been guiding there for many years.  Gary and his wife were living in the house at Campbell’s Pool that is now my fishing camp.  Gary and I became friends, and we would chat and compare notes several times each summer all the way through 2023.  

Gary’s grandfather guided for Harry Allen on those famous Cains River spring trips of the early 1900s.  He got to know the Moore of Moore’s Pools and found the property for Moore that we know today as Moore’s Pool.  Later Gary inherited the caretaker duties of the pool and camp, and that continued until the property was sold in 2023.  Gary had one of the best historical perspectives of Miramichi salmon fishing history remaining on the river.  

5/1/24 I’m probably two weeks premature in writing this, but it is hard not to think of bright salmon when we are knocking when conditions are what we’d expect at the time when the first of them arrive.  I’m not alone in this thinking.  For this very reason the Matapedia river managers have added some additional May days to their fishing season schedule.  We did get a tiny bump in the water over the last couple of days, but we are now again down to 1.59 meters and dropping, and now the water is staying at 50F or so even at night.  It won’t be long.

4/29/24 The water is now just under 1.6 meters.  Water temperatures are now slightly warmer than normal, and with the dropping water and warmer weather that trend will probably continue.  Kelts are being caught, but the numbers are decreasing, perhaps a little earlier than normal.  There are still more coming downriver as Karl Wilson spoke of a recent uptick in fishing at their lodge a few days ago.  Wilsons is about 45 miles upriver from the mouth.
Eddie Colford of Black Brook Salmon Club sent me this photo of club member Rip Cunningham with a nicely rebuilding kelt.

All this might indicate the early arrival of the first bright salmon.


4/25/24 The big news is the river now dropping under 2 meters about three weeks earlier than last year.  It is still cold, though, so I’m not sure what it will mean for the continuation of the excellent kelt fishing the river has been experiencing.                                          4/23/24 Still good fish stories coming from the Miramichi.  The river has dropped back quite bit and is warming to nearly 50F on sunny days.
4/21/24 Reports are that fishing continues to be quite good on the SW Miramichi but slower on the NW.  This makes sense since that is where the stripers are doing the most damage so far.  

This photo below is causing a bit of a stir on Facebook.  An angler caught it above Red Bank on the NW Miramichi.  The fish appears to be too filled out to be a kelt.  It is hard to judge color by a computer screen, but it looks a little dull to me for it to be a bright “springer.”  It looks like the tail is worn away a bit on the underside where the fish would build a redd.  I’m guessing that it is what the European anglers call a baggot.  A baggot is a fish that came in to spawn last fall, but for whatever reason it wasn’t successful, and is now reabsorbing its eggs and will go back to sea with the kelts.  

.  4/18/24 We had good fishing again yesterday.  We hooked two really big salmon yesterday, and both of these came off fairly quickly.  Most of the takes in the early fishing are straight downstream, plus you are using barbless hooks, so a lot of good fish are lost.  On the bright side this just gives you more opportunities to hook up before you land your limit.
4/16/24 Reports yesterday from Boiestown to Blackville were of very good spring fishing.  Limit catches were the norm.  Given the apparent weakness of last fall’s run, it is great to see good numbers of kelts.  And the fish are in terrific condition.  The water is relatively warm at 5C/41F, and the kelts are very lively.  Hopefully they had a terrific spawning season.  Most of the fish are salmon as opposed to grilse.

4/15/24 we got nothing on our exploratory trip to the upper Cains.  But we found a pool with a good number of kelts in the lower Cains.



3/1/24 Six weeks to go before Miramichi salmon fishing opens on Monday April 15.  Fishing then will be for kelts which are the salmon that spawned in the fall of 2023.  These fish are now feeding again and dropping down the river on their way back out to sea.  They aren’t the equal of bright, returning fish, but they are still Atlantic salmon and put up a spirited resistance on the line.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.  It is fun and it gives you an opportunity to get back in touch with the river.  

Right now the our spring feels very advanced over an average one.  It has been a heavy El Nino winter in the North East which typically means less snow than normal.  That has been the case so far.  March is still a winter month in Maine and New Brunswick, but the worst of the winter cold and snow is behind us.  If it does snow it usually melts away fairly quickly.  A low snow pack means that we may be able to get into our camps a little earlier than normal.  I hope so.  

I’ve left up both the 2023 and the 2022 season fishing reports, and they may make for some entertaining reading.  Just scroll down a little and there they are.  You can also go back and read my blogs for more info and photos.  My next report will hopefully be in just a couple of days from the Dalvina Lodge on Syre Estate on the River Naver.  

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2023 Season

Pano photo of the Cains River at Mahoney Brook.

10/16 The Miramichi salmon season is over for another year.  On the last day we fished pools near Mahoney Brook catching a beautiful grilse, dark, but still reflecting the green and silver of summer on its sides and belly.  I’ll be headed home soon, and will be writing a series of blogs discussing all aspects of Miramichi salmon and salmon fishing.  You can sign up at no charge by going back to the home page of this website to receive alerts of all new blog posts.  Your email address will not be shared.
10/14 Recent heavy showers have created yet another small rise in water heights.  Essentially, though, conditions have been perfect.  The Doctors Island Club members hooked a number of fish yesterday, but aside from the action at this pool, and an occasional random fish, things are very slow.   Country Haven owner Byron Coughlan reminded me that the best day of last year’s Cains season was the last day of the season.  We’ll see, hopefully!😐

Below, Doctors Island club member Guido Mosca holds a late season Cains River hen salmon.


10/15 I caught a grilse in the Slow Pool at Mahoney Brook on the last morning of the season and I saw a couple of others.  It wasn’t a big catch, but it was an important one to end the season.

10/13 Water levels have dropped enough for reasonable fishing access to the SW Miramichi, and we are tentatively planning to give it a try this afternoon.  Reports are that the occasional fish is being hooked, but not in any number. Fishing on the Cains has been sparse but there continue to be a few working their way up the river.  Yesterday’s reports from our Cains neighbors were just of seeing the odd fish.  It rained last night, and a dark day with showers is forecast for today.  Perhaps this will turn things on a bit.

10/11 water in the Cains is at a perfect height.  There’re continues to be what in saltwater fishing we would call a slow pick.  Yesterday I briefly had hold of a salmon in the home pool of Mahoney Brook.  Two other nearby pools produced nothing.  Two guide friends fished multiple pools on the Cains above the Grand Lake Road bridge.  They caught one salmon and saw another.  I hear this sort of story from one end of the Cains to the other.

10/10 The big rain forecast came through, but it was to our west.  The result is that both the Cains and SW Miramichi headwaters got rain and the rivers are up.  We didn’t need it on the main river, but the Cains was getting low.  The exact extent of the rain is unknown because the fire weather site broke down as soon as the storm began.
I was on the Cains yesterday morning, and did not see any salmon.  The river then was still high and dirty.  Both rivers began to fall yesterday afternoon.   It rained hard for a couple of hours last night and I can see that it slowed the pace of the dropping water.  We’ll see what today brings.
The main river has been very slow, but a trickle of fresh fish persists.  Marc Cabot fishing at Ted Williams lodge hooked then lost a major league salmon on Sunday evening.  Black Brook caught several last week and saw a few more.
10/7 Water temps in the Miramichi briefly reached 62F yesterday.  That is up 13F from the readings of two weeks ago.  We saw fish in a lot of pools but couldn’t generate a bit of interest. There hasn’t been a drop of rain since the hurricane and fishing has steadily declined with the decrease in flow and warming water.  That is all about to change with an expected rain of 1 1/2 to 2” Saturday night and Sunday.   I’m hoping that will send a flurry of fish up the Cains. We’ll be up there ready for them.  Below Casey Cramton fishes the Cains.

10/6 Yesterday we fished a pool on the Cains near Shinnickburn holding a good number of salmon.  We had several follow our flies, but no takers.   In the afternoon we fished Campbell’s in a perfect height of water and saw nothing.  That was my last cast for the season on the Miramichi.  We have a big rain coming Saturday night and that will bring salmon that have been holding all along the Cains plus whatever is left to come from the Bay upriver to spawning areas.

10/5 we fished the Shinnickburn area of the Cains yesterday.  We saw a few fish in a couple of pools and had one brief hookup plus a couple of follows, but no salmon landed. Be The dry sunny weather will come to an end in a big way on Saturday and we will have a big raise for the last week of the season.

10/4 BBSC, Country Haven and even me reported seeing salmon roll yesterday on the main river, but very few.  The warm sunny weather continued to harass us.  I ran into a pair of men who were sailing the Cains in a rubber raft that floats in two inches of water.  They said that they saw a lot of salmon holding all through pools from the Grand Lake Road downstream until the pools became too deep near Shinnickburn.  Catching fish in the shallow sunny water was another issue. Every fall I’m always surprised how very few people still fish the Cains by sailing down it in canoes or whatever.

10/3 The big news from Eddie Colford at BBSC was that they saw over a dozen salmon show in the main river, landed one and lost another.  We have a break in the sunny blue skies today and will work Campbells and Doctors Island hard.  We saw fish in one pool on the Cains yesterday but could not generate a take.

10/2 Yesterday was a blank day on salmon for us and others I spoke with.   Water heights and temps on the main river are good, but with two weeks of constantly dropping water and sunny skies the Cains is getting a little thin and unfishy.
10/1 A few salmon are still entering the Cains as they are seen coming in to the lower beats and a handful are caught each day.  I released a nice hen yesterday at Mahoney Brook camp.  The salmon took a #4 John Olin.


9/30 yesterday’s big news was a sea liced cock salmon caught at the mouth of Cains by a Black Brook angler.  Country Haven caught fish on the  Cains also.   Water heights are getting very good.  The ongoing sunshine is tempered by morning fog and wildfire smoke from out west.
9/29 The best we could do yesterday was to roll one fish that never touched the fly.  Country Haven’s anglers got salmon from two Shinnickburn area pools, but in general things are very quiet.  There are no signs of a run of fish coming from the  main river.
9/28 We fished the main river all day yesterday and saw absolutely nothing.   Conditions were great too.  Off to the Cains today.

9/27 We had reports yesterday of anglers seeing salmon in Upper Blackville and I saw one below Campbell’s.  That’s very thin, but hopefully the start of a late run.  Andy Dumaine reported fishing out of Debbie Norton’s Upper Oxbow Adventures on the NWBranch and landing a salmon and a grilse plus raising several others from one pool.  This endless bright sunlight isn’t helping.
9/26 Fishing is really tough in most of the watershed. I’ve spent the last two mornings at Campbells without seeing a fish.  We really need a fresh run to provide some fish for the lower river.  Everyone’s fear is that they already went up in the repetitive raises of water that characterized this summer.  We’ll see.
9/25 the current forecast is for a week of sunny weather.  That will continue to bring water down to good fish levels on the main river but makes for tough catching conditions. I’m going to fish the main river today and am looking forward to seeing what is going on there.  It was slow for us on the Cains yesterday in the same pools that showed us a number of fish the day before.

 

9/24 we fished three pools well up on the Cains yesterday and hooked fish in all of them.  We landed two salmon and a grilse.  We also fished the main river in the morning and saw two salmon there.  Hopefully that will improve as water reaches normal fishing levels in the next couple of days.
9/23 we fished the Cains yesterday but will also try the main river this morning.   Country Haven caught a salmon and rolled a couple near Shinnickburn.  We saw a couple of jumpers and had one roll.  The water was high and fast but improving rapidly.  The cloudless skies were no help either.
9-22 Cool, fall day in Blackville today with a scattered frost.  The river is clear and dropping.   Country Haven angler Andrew Moy caught this lovely fish on the Cains on Wednesday morning    A few fresh salmon were seen on the SW Miramichi yesterday but no hookups.  We’ll be 20 miles up on the Cains today.

9/19 The river rose to 4.5 meters and dropped to 4 before the gauge stopped working yesterday afternoon.  There is rain again today over the Miramichi but does not look to be heavy and will only slow the drop in water levels.  We should be fishing the high water pools by Thursday or Friday and looking for a fresh run of fish.  Up river areas clear up first.  Big flies and sink tips will be the preferred tackle.

9/17 Hurricane Lee dumped in excess of 90mm of rain over the Cains and middle Miramichi valley but considerably less further west.  A large raise is in progress and fishing is essentially out of the question for the next day or two.

9/16 Hurricane Lee is working through the Province today with high winds and heavy rain.  The Fire Weather sight is down so how much rain has fallen and where is not available.  Certainly a very large raise of water is expected and salmon fishing is more or less out until the water starts to receded, probably mid-week or so.

9/14 Hurricane Lee is going to add to our high water and will likely knock us out for most of the next week.  We have been seeing salmon running both the Cains and Miramichi.

9/13 It seems that with the cooling water salmon have been moving in the Cains the last couple of days.  I hooked three today and had a couple of pulls, but those were the fruits of a very long day.   Rain from the hurricane will put everything on hold.

9/12 The water graph looks like a roller coaster, but always too high to be ideal.  Up until today it has also been too warm.  We did have reports last evening of fresh fish entering the main river which had been very quiet in 70F water.  Pools higher up on the Cains that produced well in late August seem to be without fish.  It would normally be too early for them anyway.  It is the craziest water year ever.

Laura Shelton caught this salmon on a black bomber at the  BBSC home pool last evening.

 

9/9 we have been stuck in a very warm and moist weather pattern.  Nearly all the action has been focused on the cold water pools with some resident salmon.  The heat is forecast to break tonight.
Dawson Hovey caught this salmon on the Cains fishing a small blue bomber.

Alex Colford holds a 24-pound hen salmon caught at Black Brook by Steve Howell son of long-time Black Brookers Pete and Dolly Howell

9/5 This morning we are .95 meter in water height.  That is very fishable but higher than normal.  Water temp is 20.5C/69F this morning and will not vary much from this for the next few days as our mini heat wave is drawing to an end amidst cloudy and finally rainy weather.  Reports from the river are quite good.  Conditions have fish gathering in the cool water pools and water heights are low enough to make them fishable.  It’s time to get up to the Miramichi and go salmon fishing.  Some more appropriate fall temps begin next week, the second week in September.  That is the traditional beginning of the fall run.  I’m headed up tomorrow and reports will be from Blackville for the rest of the season.

9/3 Water heights are now down to a very fishable 1.15M and with no rain in sight until the end of the week we should see heights down in .8 region which would be the lowest so far this season.  That would be great as it would not encourage the beginning of the fall run to just run up the river.  Hopefully the lower water will give us a normal fall with fish holding in the lower river pools.  We have four warm to hot days starting today, but the effect should not be enough to really hurt anything.

9/1 Raise topped out last night and is dropping.  Water is a cool 15C/59F.  Almost a full week of warm, sunny weather coming up.  The river may see its lowest levels of the summer by next Friday.  We’ll be putting away the big streamers and opening up the bombers and small wets.  I’m looking forward to it.
8/31 Yesterday’s rain was about one inch over both the Cains and SW Miramichi headwaters.  Water will raise but should not be too great.  It should start dropping again tomorrow.  Beginning on Friday we have an extended period of sunny and relatively dry weather.  It will be quite warm for a few days then cooling back to normal towards the middle of next week.  That could set the table well for fall fishing.  Some excellent fish were taken during this late August period.  Here is photo of another big hen from the Cains.

Jeremy Vickers of Country Haven holds a fresh hen salmon from 15 miles up the Cains.

 

8/29 The raise from a few days ago is dropping out now and fishing reports from the SWMiramichi and Cains are good – high water and all.  Country Haven and The Ledges in Doaktown both sent me pictures of lovely late summer salmon.  Hopefully this will continue into the fall.  I also had a report from a friend who caught 3 grilse and a salmon on a tributary of the NW Miramichi.  Rain is forecast for tomorrow but then an extended period of dry warmish weather is forecast.  Hopefully this will get our water levels down and the rivers into good shape for the fall season.

A lovely fall hen salmon from the Cains sent in by The Ledges.

8/26 Bantalor got almost two inches of rain from the last system, Clearwater got around one.  The SW Miramichi is back at 1.7M and

Donnie Keenan holds a nice, fresh-looking salmon taken in mid-August on the SWM in Blackville.

rising rapidly though it should top out today.  This has been the story of 2023.

8/21 Amazingly yesterday’s little raise leveled off for a minute then rose another 8 inches to 1.5 meters.  Oh well, sunny, dry, cool weather is forecast for the next few days.  They are talking about patchy frost.  Bring it on.

8/20 The water height leveled off after a tiny bump at 1.3M but will drop over the cool, sunny, dry weather forecast for much of this week.  Conditions for mid August are quite good.  I hear some decent reports of fresh salmon and grilse, and the trap numbers for August 1-15 weren’t too bad.. While current temperatures aren’t bad some much cooler weather is forecast a few days from now. It is around now that we start making the occasional pass with a smallish Ally’s shrimp.

8/15 The river river remains very high from frequent shower and thunderstorms.  Will it ever stop!  Things need three or four days now to settle down.  I recently talked with one very good angler who hooked 6 fish on public pools on the Renous, Cains and several pools on the SWMiramichi before the raise.  Not bad!

8/10 Fishing had been decent until the recent heavy rains which have again brought the SWM up by over a meter.  That raise is topping out now, and the SWM above the Cains should be fishable in a day or two.  The Cains saw over two inches of water and it will be a few days before the lower river starts to settle down.  There is a prolonged period of reasonable temperatures and weather forecast for the next two weeks, and the lower river can begin holding some fish for the fall fishing.  Here is a photo of a nice salmon with sea lice recently taken in SW Miramichi.  This is your typical 2 multi sea winter, virgin spawner that comprises a very large percentage of the salmon – as opposed to grilse – run.  It is this segment of fish, both salmon and grilse, that are being so severely effected by the out-of-whack striped bass population.

 

8/1 After closure of the cold water pools due to warm water protocol recent cool evenings have caused DFO to reopen fishing.  There are good numbers of salmon in the cold water pools according to Black Brook and Country Haven reports seeing new fish moving up the river.
7/16 salmon fishing is closed and the poachers are out.  Country Haven’s guides found a net this morning at Salmon Brook on the Cains.  Calls to the authorities were going unanswered this morning.  Thank god for the relatively high water.
7/14 due to warm water protocol the DFO has closed 29 named “cold water” salmon pools on the Miramichi system to all salmon fishing until further notice.  Temperatures are up and down this coming week and there is rain forecast.  I think it is likely that the river will reopen later in the week.  The Miramichi Salmon Association will have any news on this available the minute that it is available.  They broadcast the information to their members – you should be a member of the MSA – and they post it to their website.  It is a little unusual for the river to close in this strong height of water, but it is an important conservation move.

7/13   The moderately warm, wet weather continues on the  Miramichi.  The catch is good considering the high-water conditions.  I heard of one group of 8 recently at a well-known lodge that had 28 salmon in the high water.  That sounds quite good considering conditions.  There are now quite a fish spreading up into the Cains.  Ken Cogswell from Frederiction who roams the upper Cains as a hobby reports that the upper river is loaded with salmon parr.  I’ll be gone to Nwfld for the next two weeks so salmon reports will be less regular.  I’m looking forward to the 7/15 trap numbers to get a better indication of the strength of the summer run.  

7/11 Wet weather and normal temperatures will prevail for the next week.  This is great weather for the salmon, but high water will continue to make fishing challenging.
7/8 Water reached 70F yesterday for the first time.  It has been hot and muggy but high water has buffered the temperature.  The short of it is that I rolled, pricked and hooked but lost 6 salmon and grilse yesterday with none in the net.  Yesterday a fairly impressive school of salmon went through that was reminiscent of years ago.  Today is forecast as overcast, and last night’s thunderstorms will have cooled the river down somewhat.  We’re hopeful for this last day in camp for me until September.
7/7 Water reached 1.9M yesterday then started to drop around noon. A decent number of salmon were moving through in the evening and I managed to get one on a #4 Preacher.
7/6 Thunderstorms all over NB yesterday produced enough rain to again elevate water levels.  We saw and rolled a few fish yesterday, but the apparent number coming is much lighter than previous to this last raise.  We haven’t caught a striper in a while here at Campbells, but there are plenty downriver.  Bill Utley got one by Doctors Island yesterday that was estimated at 40”.   You can imagine the small fish that bass needs to eat every day.
7/5 Faced with yet another raise of water we struck out yesterday.  We all rolled fish in the morning, but there were no solid hookups. When we tried repeat casts the fish were gone upstream.    The water is dropping fast now, but is still very high.  It is forecast to get a lot warmer from tomorrow through Saturday but then cooler temps return.


7/4 we had two salmon again yesterday and saw fish all day long.  Both were about 11 pounds and were caught on wet flies.  It rained over southern portions of the Miramichi,  and the river rose overnight to 1.6 meters, but has topped off.        7/3 We got two salmon yesterday.  One of about 11 pounds on a #4 Same thing Murray and the other 15 pounds on a green bomber with orange wing.  Now it is raining and it will be the end of the week before we get back to mid level fishing heights.  People have been sending me fish pics. Everyone is enjoying good action and there are tons of parr feeding all around the edges. For the moment life is good.

7/2 We got a grilse yesterday on #4 Same Thing Murray.  Water is starting to get down to better fishing levels and and some fish are starting to hold.

Photo from Eddy Colford BBSC


7/1. The run of both salmon and grilse the last few days appears to be the best late June run we have seen in some years.  Because of the high water this hasn’t translated into high catches.  Andy Dumaine and I rolled several salmon and grilse each yesterday, but could not get one on the line.  The pool next door produced 3 salmon and a grilse for the Keenan family.  This included a 17 pounder on a dry for a young boy who is a terrific caster.
6/30 we got a grilse yesterday, but we also saw a very good amount of fish moving off and on all day.  We rolled and touched several others without a solid hookup.  An apparently decent run is being somewhat wasted by persistent high water.
6/29 Andy Dumaine caught a nice hen salmon last evening and we rolled two others.  This is despite the constant high water that motivates the fish to run up the river.  We saw at least a dozen and a half salmon surface during the day.

6/28 No salmon for us yesterday though we did see a fair number and we watched Jason Curtis land one in a high water pool just upriver.  We are just stuck in this pattern of too much of a good thing.  Yesterday afternoon Juniper got 20 mm and the Cains 9.  This means the river will fall slowly if at all over the next 24 hours.
6/27 Yesterday was a total washout.  The river topped out at just over 1.8 meters at 10:00 AM but didn’t really start to drop for another 12 plus hours.  It should be clear enough and we’ll start fishing this morning.  We’ll be back to big flies.

6/26 what I missed yesterday was looking at the Fireweather website.  The site has been functioning sporadically during all of 2023, and hadn’t updated since 6/16.  But it worked yesterday and showed 41mm of rain in Juniper. The river was rising and dirty yesterday and is more so this morning.  Rain on the Cains was only 10mm, and that will mean that the raise will be nowhere near as large as it could have been.  I think that by this time tomorrow the river will be falling and beginning to clear up, but my timing could be optimistic.
I had hoped for a good day yesterday, but it didn’t pan out.  We did see a very few salmon, but none were near our flies.  We continue to catch a small number of stripers every fishing session.  It is the most bass that we have seen above tide water this late in the season.  I can see them chasing parr in the shallows.  It is absolutely infuriating that DFO has rejected requests to allow these bass to be removed when angled.  There is no question that DFO is  knowingly managing the Miramichi as a striped bass river and to hell with the salmon.  This has to change.
6/25  Today ends  our  string  of  hot  and  cloudless days   It’s raining now,  and I’m confident and I’m confident we’ll have some good fishing.  We have been seeing more fish every day, and today I got a fat, hen grilse on a #6 John Olin.


Mark Hambrook, recently retired MSA president, poses with one of two 9 pound class salmon taken on a recent trip to a lodge upriver from Boiestown.

6/24. Skunked, but lots of action.  For the first time this season I had a group of salmon holding right in front of me.  I found them at 11:30 AM and worked on them for the next hour before I gave up.  Fish rose to 4 different wet flies on numerous occasions and several of them actually touched the fly without getting hooked.  I chalk it all up to increasing water temps and brilliant sunshine.  It sure was fun though.  I immediately wished I had some dry flies, but I still had nothing but wet flies in my vest.  I went right back after lunch, but they had moved on.
This early heat wave finally breaks today and a long stretch of cool wet weather arrives.   Should be good.
6/23 No salmon again for us yesterday, though I did briefly hook one.  The cloudless skies and high 80F+ temperatures aren’t helping.  Thank god the end of that s in sight.
6/22 Finally we are again running in to some fish.  Tim Politis rolled a good one twice and we saw three others.  The water is coming down to a good level.  Steve Anderson emailed me this picture of a salmon caught at Black Brook last evening.

6/20 The raise has dropped 16 inches and the water is cold and clear.  We should start to see the resumption of the June salmon run.  The June 15 totals of 8 a salmon on the SW and 7 on the NW salmon has posted.  These numbers are behind last year but very much in the normal range for this early date.  A much warmer trend is now forecast.

6/19 Recent rains have brought the river up 2 feet last night and it is dirty.  It appears to be peaking now and will start down this afternoon.   The run has been slow the last couple of days, but will hopefully pick up as the river settles down. The picture below is of a salmon recently taken by a Country Haven angler.


6/18 Yesterday was a strange day.   Some strong thunderstorms hit parts of the Cains and gave the lower river a quick, dirty raise of 6 inches.  By late afternoon the water cleared and the river dropped 6 inches.  Amazing.  We saw just one salmon all day and caught none.  It rained last night, and is raining today.   We don’t need the water, but we will get a substantial raise anyway.  I’m afraid fishing is going to be really tough for a couple of days.  Hopefully when the raise backs off we will see a stronger run.
6/17 yesterday was a little uneventful with only a couple of salmon seen in the evening.  Johnny Keenan did get a nice salmon at Anderson’s Pt in the morning.  Country Haven had pictures of another fish from Upper Blackville on Facebook.  We need a little lower water, but with rain forecast tonight and tomorrow it isn’t likely for a while yet.

6/16 we got this fine example of a Miramichi June salmon that guide Darrell Warren is holding yesterday morning at Campbell’s.  The fly was a #2 Silver Rat.   It was also the most action I’ve had as I rolled another several times and had a couple porpoise within my casting arc.  After that we had a little bump from recent rain and there was no action except for a couple of the far too present striped bass.  Bruce at Doaks told one of my arriving guests that people are catching a few salmon but the action is sporadic.

6/15 more salmon were caught in Upper Blackville yesterday.  We saw a number of fish at Campbells yesterday and one good one was hooked and lost on a #6 green machine.  As the water has dropped and warmed up lots of small stripers have moved back in.  I caught a dozen yesterday.
6/14 yesterday CHaven anglers caught a salmon in upper Blackville and in the evening I saw three in Campbells Pool.  I expected a strike any second, but no joy.  Water height and conditions are now excellent.

6/13 No salmon for us yesterday, but we did see 2 roll.  The water is now getting down to a nice fishable level.

6/12 The SW Miramichi is down to  under 1.5M, a fishable height in many pools.  Yesterday my only catch was a shad.  I got an email from Country Haven the night before that there was a fair bit of salmon activity on the SW Miramichi on Saturday.  At this height of cold water most of the salmon are probably just blowing through the lower river..

6/8 Water is now rising slowly at 2.05 meters.  We are in a period of cool, unsettled weather.  It will be the middle of next week before we see any real change.  We’re not going to complain about either the cool weather or the rain.  That should set us up well for June salmon fishing, though conditions at the moment of high, cold water are not good for fishing. Bright salmon have been caught in the NW, and they are in the SW too.  One angler reportedly hooked 6 salmon in one day on the NW.  The first week’s report was posted for the Dungarvon barrier.  The trap didn’t start fishing until June, but a grilse and 3 salmon were caught.  This is the time of year when persistence and patience are the recipe.  Big flies like #2 size are the recipe.  A sink tip might also help. This week of cold rain could be hard on the recently spawned striped bass eggs.

5/29 Jeff Curtis landed the first bright salmon that we have heard of for 2023.  It was a beautifully shaped fish of about 10 pounds and was caught on the NW.  Others were also caught over the weekend.  The rivers are at a good height.  The weather is fluctuating between cooler than normal, than much hotter than normal, than the pattern repeats.  It looks like after the next heat wave on Thursday or so the temps drop back and will stay that way for an extended period.  These early fish go to those who put their time in.

5/26 We’re still looking for word of that first Miramichi bright salmon.  I am hearing that they are now beginning to enter the rivers.  Anglers are mostly busy with striped bass.  The head of tide on both branches of the Miramichi are full of bass.  Hopefully the cool temps and recent raises of water have helped save a lot of smolts by making them harder for the bass to pick off.

5/20 I’m just back from a few days of Cains River brook trout fishing at Mahoney Brook.  I had some good periods when the action was fairly fast, but mostly it was very cold, and I worked hard to scratch out one or two here and there.  Oliver wooly bugger was probably my most productive fly.  I did see a few mayflies and caddis hatching, and at one point near Muzzerol Brook I saw a school of smolts feeding on them.  There seemed to be quite a few smolts on the move.  The water is low for this time of year, and the table is perfectly set for the first bright fish to be caught.  There is over an inch of rain now forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  That will help bring them in.

5/15 The spring salmon fishing season is over for another season.  There are still a few in the system, but attention has now turned to striped bass which are thick in the lower reaches of both branches.  We are probably a week or so away from someone catching the first bright Miramichi salmon.  I see that the first fish have already been caught on the Gaspe.  Sea run brook trout are making their way up the river now, and I am headed for the Cains tomorrow to do some trout fishing.  I’ll be a little early for sea runs, but you can never tell.  The river is now down to under 1.5 meters and could be described as a bit low for this time of the season.

5/10 Kelt and trout fishing is slowing up a bit according to reports but is still decent, and there are fish still being caught for many miles upriver, so we have a way to go before all the kelts are out of the river.    As the water warms stripers are moving into the river and the trout are moving upriver towards their summer haunts.  There is no big rain in sight and the water is now down to 1.75M.  At this rate we will be down to 1.5M by early next week.  That is what I think of as the top end of good bright salmon fishing water height.  Kelt and trout anglers should try switching their flies down in size to early bright salmon flies and sizes.  A #2 Black Ghost for example or Silver Rat.  The kelts and trout will take those, but there is definitely a chance of hooking an early run bright fish too.

5/8 Kelts and brook trout are still being caught, but things are changing.  The kelts are thinning out and heading back to sea, and the best brook trout bite in recent years has slowed down.  The trout which were centered down near Quarryville are beginning their migration up the river.  Decent catches are still being made, though, and the weather is certainly easier to deal with then three weeks ago.

5/4 Later on 5/2 the river reached 4.2M but has since dropped to 2.8M.  With no real rain in sight the river likely to get down to well under 2 meters and begin setting the stage for the first bright fish and the upriver run of searun brookies.  These things are still a ways off, though, and there should be some decent action on spring salmon this week and next.  The traditional end of the spring season is May 15.  The brook trout numbers in both the SW and NW branches is surprisingly good.  Let’s hope that it means a decent upriver run over the next few weeks.

5/2 After some rain yesterday the river is up to 3.3 Meters and rising.  It should clear up a bit over the next couple of days and then a long period of quite warm, sunny weather is forecast.  The river should drop quite a bit in height and make fishing conditions very pleasant.  It is likely that more of the salmon action will now move closer to tidewater.  The catch has been very good, and a bonus in the lower river has been some excellent catches of sea run brook trout.  Country Haven reported some approaching 20 inches.

4/26  The water is at 2.7 M, a good spring fishing height.  I just returned from a  trip to Blackville, and the catch has been quite good.  Predictably after last years statistics there are more salmon than grilse in the mix. 

4/20 The water on the SWM dropped over 2 feet and is clearing up.  The catch is good according to Eddie Colford who guided his angler to this nice salmon today.

4/19 The SWM river rose to 4.5 meters and made a top.  Darrell was at the camp working on the water for my trip up on Friday.  He said he looked out the window and the saw a huge patch of grass floating down the river.  The banks are cleaning off.  This isn’t great for fishing, but it will clear quickly and fishing should pick right up.

4/17 The catch was good today.  Check out my Miramichi Salmon Blog on this website for a full report.

4/15 Day 1 of the season is behind us.  The water was quite muddy and still rising today, and the bite was very slow.  Country Haven reported 3 salmon landed.  Picture from Country Haven’s website looks up at Doctor’s Island, and shows that as of yesterday there was still some ice coming down the river.

The water rose all week going from a low of 1.5 meters up to 3.2.  That is a 1.7 meter raise, or nearly 6 feet, and it did it without any rain, just snow melt.

Slightly above average temps with a couple of showery days are forecast for the coming week.  Water should raise a bit more before its done.  When the raise stops and clears up fishing should be at peak.

Meanwhile the height of the springer fishing is approaching in Scotland.  Helmsdale ghillie John Young sent in this photo of a lovely 19 pounder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2022 reports are still shown below.  

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.

14 Comments

14 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.

  6. Hello Brad,
    My name is David Lodge. I am a friend of John Buck, Rip and Peter etc.
    Would love to be added to your wonderful newsletter
    Kind regards,
    Dave

  7. Brad: Thanks for your daily reports, makes my day, every day!!
    JCW

  8. Hi Brad!
    I’m curious if you have any tips for the Renous River or if you’ve heard any recent reports? I’m arriving late next week and hoping to catch my first bright salmon. I’m looking at the area where the Renous meets the SWM.

    Thanks

    • Isaac – I am not an expert on the area where the Renous merges with the SW Miramichi, but I have fished it a half dozen times over the years. This area is referred to as the Quarryville Pool. In better times the pool is said to have produced over 100 individual salmon in a day’s fishing. When the tide comes in salmon holding in the estuary come up with the tide – this area is tidal fresh water – and decide whether or not they want to run up the river. I have seen it when there were days when there were salmon rising all over the pool. The preferred positions at the mouth of the Renous are just where the flow of the river runs into the pool, but fish can be taken more or less anywhere out in the pool. If there are other people there beware that there is a rotation protocol that is traditional there. I knew nothing about it, and on one of my first trips there I managed to get some grumpy guy grumbling at me.

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