September 3, 2021 Miramichi Update

Sharpe Canoes, regular and jet moored at Jason Curtis home where he can keep an eye on them in case of an extreme raise from Ida.  Jason Curtis photo

The good news is that the hot weather of mid-August ended about a week ago.  Water temperatures dropped from their highs quite quickly, and they have stayed dependably cool over the last week.  The coolness has been accompanied by some rainy weather that has the river about a foot higher than at this time last summer.  This has been great for the fish.  As I write this the remnants of hurricane Ida are threatening to bring a substantial rain to the area.  Once the initial raise begins to drop – probably Sunday into Monday – fishing could be good with the beginnings of the fall run.

It looks like more water in the river this fall than most recent ones, and I’m going to find a few hours over the next couple of days to make sure that I’ve got a few extra shrimp patterns in my fly boxes.  It is hard to beat an Ally’s shrimp in the fall.  In the larger sizes, though, I seem to get a lot of short hits, and for that reason I favor the October Killer as a large fly.  All the materials on that fly, which is basically a modified Mickey Finn streamer, are tied in at the head, and don’t extend much beyond the hook bend.  This also helps keep the fly from fouling.  Common wisdom is that the long shank pries the hook from the lip of the fish, but I’ve used them for years and that hasn’t been my experience.

Some good fall flies. Clockwise from upper left: black and orange marabou, orange and purple marabou, medium sized October Killer on older design black streamer hook, Pot Bellied Pig tube, October Killer Jr. October Killer with a previously chewed tag.

Here are some recent fishing reports:

Jerry Doak of WW Doak reported that with the river only recently reopening, and the fall season about to begin, things have been a quiet on the angling front.  Fish are being caught, but neither size nor numbers are impressive at the moment.  Conditions are good, and he predicts a good fall of fishing.

Guide Lanny Burke with happy BBSC sport and a nice late summer salmon.                                 Photo courtesy Eddie Colford.

Eddie Colford of Black Brook Salmon Club says that they have had a good week so far with more than 30 fish landed and over 100 hooked.  Many fish are what he feels are Cains River grilse – the local guides claim to often be able to positively identify Cains River from SW Miramichi fish.   Eddie says that most of the action at BBSC has been on dry flies.

Brock Curtis of Curtis Miramichi Outfitters had this to say: “I just got back from the river. Water temperatures this morning are 65F – 66F. The lower section of the river here in Blackville is in pretty good shape coming out of the Dog Days of summer. We aren’t hearing from a large number of anglers yet as the clubs and lodges haven’t been fishing due to warm water protocols. A substantial amount of rain is in the forecast for this area for the next two days and that will change things up quite a bit.”

Debbie Norton of Upper Oxbow on the NW Miramichi says that fishing conditions are quite good, they have had a little raise in water and are catching salmon and grilse on dry flies.

Wayne O’Donnell of Rocky Brook said that:  “Reporting very favorable fishing conditions this week with plenty of cloud cover and 63-65 degree water temps.  The catch rate is only so-so with not a lot of sightings.  The bump in water from this past weekend appears to have moved some fish out.  Angling is picking up in our “Fall Run” pools.  We’re not using fall patterns just yet.  Green Machines, Black Bugs, Undertakers and a Purple Slime are working well.”

The August 31 trap numbers are in, and can be read at this link.  The change in numbers since August 15 is very small reflecting few new fish entering the river with the relatively warm, low water conditions that were taking place.  I believe that the analysis that I did then is valid enough, and if you haven’t read it you can do that at this link.

The August 15 blog that I mention above brought in a number of comments and private e-mails including some discussion of the Dungarvon trap numbers.  It has now been pointed out to me by a number of highly qualified sources that in recent years including this summer, a band of First Nations individuals from the Tobique area has been regularly netting salmon in the Dungarvon.  People report walking down the river and running into them carrying out salmon and grilse.  With the total run to the barrier in recent years being under 200 individual fish the catch of even a couple of dozen would be a substantial degrading of the run.  The full extent of the damage is not known, but it certainly could be substantial.  I know of one instance, encountered totally by chance, when poachers were seen walking away from the river with 6 salmon and 3 grilse.

I’ll be heading into camp in Blackville for the rest of the season on Monday, September 6.  I probably won’t write a full blog until I return on October 16 because internet service there is such a struggle, but I will – as I have all season – be keeping up my daily reports.  I expect to fish a good part of every day, and I hope and expect to have a lot of first-hand information to pass on to you.  Here is a link to the reports page.  This will keep you up to date on the Miramichi.

Harvey Wheeler with a Cains River hookbill from a few years back. Let’s hope one or two of these is in our future for 2021.

Thanks for reading.  Brad Burns


10 Comments on “September 3, 2021 Miramichi Update

  1. Look forward to perhaps finally crossing paths with you while you are up Brad!

  2. Thanks again, Brad. What do you hear about crossing the border these days? Lines, waits? Hope to head up this month.

    • James – my guess is that it will less than we are used to since the process and existence of Covid will deter some folks. It takes longer to get through the border with ArrivCan, but only a few minutes. Unless you were unlucky and hit some very heavy traffic time I doubt it will take long. I do hear, though, that they are very fussy about all the details, so be sure to have everything in order. Brad

  3. Thank you Brad, I always look forward to and enjoy your reports.

    Ken Cogswell

  4. Went in to Canada at 11:00 am on Sunday,we were the only car on the bridge or at the check in…none ahead of us, none behind us,even when we left…..not too bad to check in, but you really need your ducks in a row………we were told we were the lucky ones, we received Covid test kits to fill out and return within 24 hours…….to be picked up at the lodge by a courier service, don’t know how much that cost the Canadian citizens, but it couldn’t have been cheap……you will need a good connection with microphone and camera on your computer or I pad….it’s a blooming nightmare to figure out…….mine was not yet picked up when I left on Wednesday………..probably still sitting on the doorstep….not a lot of fish in the river, mostly in the pools which are now opened up….lost the biggest salmon I have ever hooked,,,jumped twice, I jumped several times more..was soooo good to get back there after two years away…hope you all have as fine a time as I did…tight lines all….

    • Quite an adventure Mac. I’ll be heading in on Wed. and have gotten all of my ducks in order. We’ll see how it goes. The mail in test kits is something I have not heard of. Was someone lacking a test result?

  5. Hi Brad,

    Looking to head up to my camp last week of September, Gray Rapids down river from Byzie. Curious how was the crossing getting back into the US? Do we need to have a negative Covid test 72 hrs. prior to crossing. I saw one report saying if you do a land border crossing it’s not necessary, I find that hard to believe. If a test is necessary, does the Pharmsave in Blackville do Covid Testing?

    Await your reply; Really enjoy reading your blogs, hope to meet on the river someday!


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