Some Uplifting News from the Miramichi

Fishing Friends –

In an attempt to provide a little extra enthusiasm for the start of the bright salmon season Brad Burns Fly Fishing offered a $100 gift certificate to either Doak’s or Curtis fly shops for a dated, digital photo of the first bright salmon of the season.

Early in the last week of May we started getting reports from David Donahue that schools of bright salmon were coming up the SW Miramichi.  David grew up just above Doctor’s Island and still lives there.  His father was a friend of Paul O’Haire and guided at the club.  Like his dad, David has had a guiding license for a very many years.  The short of all that is that he knows a school of salmon – as opposed to bass, gasperau or shad – when he sees it.  With David’s reports a catch couldn’t be far away. 

On May 31 at 10:30 AM, Doctor Jake Swan of Fredericton, fishing at his camp in Blissfield, caught the beautiful, big hen salmon pictured.  I’ve known Jake for a few years.  He is a hard fisherman and deserving of the award.

Dr. Jake Swan’s winning salmon.

Jake struggling under the weight.

Artist Luther Hall is doing a painting of a bright salmon, and when it is finished we’re going to design a certificate around the image and make the first bright fish a tradition.  Maybe we’ll do something similar for the last one of the season too.  We’ve got all summer to think about it.  Let me know, though, if you think that is a worthwhile idea. 

It is that happiest of times of the year again.  June salmon fishing is underway.  I’m headed to Blackville on the 10th and will be there for a month.  After that I’ll be home for a few days then off to Newfoundland for two weeks.  Tough life!

While I’m away I’m going to make daily entries including photos into my Miramichi Salmon Report. Here is the link  Save this to your favorites and check in on it frequently to know how the 2024 Miramichi salmon run is progressing.  In addition to my own fishing experiences,  I’ll be in touch with various folks along the river and try to make the perspective a little larger than the view from Campbell’s Pool.

Other recent reports from around the river came in as follows:

  • During the weekend fly casting guru Steve Smith had some alternative action down in Quarryville which he said was still infested with striped bass.

Steve’s long-as-a-leg striper was a challenge to hold with one hand while trying to photograph.

This feisty shad looks very much like its much larger cousin Magalops – tarpon.  Click this photo for a great view 










  • On Saturday Karter Chase from Maine was taking advantage of the free fishing days in New Brunswick to land this beauty on the North West.  An interesting side-note here is that over 100 years ago, in a desire to increase the

Karter Chase with a NWM errh, Restiouche? salmon.


size of their fish, and before fishery scientists worried about such things, local authorities stocked salmon from the Restigouche system into the NW.  A few years later larger fish began to show up in the catch.

Those genes must still be in the river.  By the way, Karter normally fishes the Miramichi from Country Haven, and caught last weekend’s salmon on a white tail green machine tied by Kenny Vickers himself!

  • Eddie Colford of the BBSC says that they have fish in their pool. His son Alex, a guide at Black Brook, landed this beauty the morning of 6/3/24 and they saw others roll.

Eddie Colford and a nice BBSC water early run salmon.

  • Byron Coughlan of Country Haven reported that while David Donahue was seeing lots of salmon last week, his friend Kim Jardine down in the Rapids also saw them moving up through. Byron sent along this photo of the famous Orr Pool.  Well out in Orr Pool lies Ted’s Rock.

    The fabulous Orr Pool

    The story is that at that time Ted was the only caster who could consistently drop his fly in and around that big, submerged boulder.  It is still a terrific pool owned by a gentleman from Maine and leased by Country Haven.  Byron added that there is a terrific height of water right now for fishing most Miramichi salmon pools.  If you’ve got some time for June fishing, these are the best conditions we’ve seen in some years.  I can’t guarantee what it will be like in two weeks, but the trend to moderate amounts of rain instead of the constant deluges of recent years is a welcome one.

Thanks for reading.  Brad Burns


12 Comments on “Some Uplifting News from the Miramichi

  1. There is also at least one big, bright salmon passing through Boiestown, now sporting one of my Deep Green Beauty streamers he separated me from. What a beast. My first ever hook up with a June salmon. Very grateful.

    • There’s not much to compare to it. The reports are pretty good for so early in the year. Let’s pray that the continue.

  2. Trying to contain my enthusiasm while I await a few days with you. Super excited about the opportunity to learn about this special place.

  3. Thanks for the update! I like the idea of the last salmon of season – it will keep things interesting. May I also suggest a focus on the elusive hook-bill salmon for added fun. Tight lines!

    • Thanks Calvin. Maybe for the last fish we could have the certificate art be a cock or a hen salmon depending on the photo. It is easy to tell then.

  4. the “first bright fish” and “last bright fish” tradition is an excellent idea!

    • Thanks Jake. We’ve had some other supportive comments, and we will go in that direction. Besides, that will give you and Martin a chance to win up on the Cains!

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