"One of Canada's 50 best trips"- 'Explore' Magazine, February 2002 edition.
The crew at Country Haven would like to thank everyone who visited us in the past and look forward to seeing all of you again. We would also like to remind you about our Gift Certificates that never expire and may be used toward anything Country Haven offers.
The 2017 Atlantic Salmon season opens on April 15th and the Trout & Striped bass season open on May 1st.
With the high number of Large Salmon in the system, the good returns of Trout and the abundance of Striped bass, we are looking forward to another great Spring season on the Miramichi River system.
YEAR 2016 River Reports
The following counter numbers account for approximately 5-10% of the actual numbers of fish returning to the System each year so overall they show a good return of large Salmon for 2016, up to October 15th.
Returning counts for the Main Southwest and Northwest Miramichi
CLICK on image for larger view
"Wow!" is the only way I can properly describe the wonderful fishing season we enjoyed on the Miramichi this season. From start-to-finish it was our best in every way - from having our most consistent spring season in 17 years - to more good days than bad in both June and July - to one of our best Augusts ever - and topped off by a fantastic fall with some of the largest
Salmon landed in years throughout the system. The returns of big salmon to both the Main Sou'west and the Nor'west were higher than any year since 2010. Negatives to these high returns have been the lower returns of
Grilse in both rivers and the high number of returning Striped Bass to the river system.
Overall, as a lodge, we enjoyed our best fishing in 17 seasons. We are not sure if this is entirely because of the good returns or because of having more access to better fishing now than in previous years. The rate of returning guests remained steady at close to 90%. Many of our returning guests are getting on in years - with some of them having returned annually to the Miramichi since before I was born - it's always great to see each and every one of them! Throughout the season there are always so many special moments to remember where sometimes the entire lodge gets involved, such as annual Birthday celebrations for guests, to first-time Salmon landed, to the largest fish of the season etc! For me, personally, there are always too many good times to remember however a couple of my favorites this season were having 9 Year old Haley Dow from Massachusetts catch her first Atlantic Salmon during the poorest conditions of the summer and having the pleasure of guiding 93 year old Erwin Markowitz from Massachussets, with us for 3 days in October. He arrived on the Miramichi the first time in 1950 and has been returning to different lodges ever since. We are very happy he chose us for this visit - a lifetime of Miramichi Memories told to me in three days! What a great way to remember and end the Season.
With the 2016 season now behind us, we would like to thank everyone who visited - young or old, long time returning guests and beginners - we hope your stay with us was a memorable one and you will have an opportunity to return in the future. We might be a bit biased thinking we live on the best Atlantic Salmon river in the world, as probably other guides and lodge owners from around the world might think the same. We do know, however, that we are truly blessed to have such great guides and staff and we are told daily by our guests from around the world, just how special they really are.
Thanks again to the returning Salmon, Guests and Staff for making 2016 our best fishing Season in 17 years.
Here are a few of my favorites photos of my favorite people from this season;
Doug Slink, from Anglers Adventures A lifelong friend of the Guides and the river
Tom Campbell, from Chatham NY a lifelong guest of the River
93 Year old Erwin Markowitz, Worcester MA a lifelong guest of the River
Tyler's first full season What a great addition to the Guiding staff
Guides Gary Colford & Wesley Curtis inducted into the Guides
Hall Of Fame
With a bump in water levels over the weekend, anglers enjoyed some very good catching right through until closing day in a number of different pools. Some of the more traditional pools on the upper Cains river started producing well and the Renous river continued to produce daily along with a number of pools on the Main River. Even though water levels were still on the low side, the Fall Salmon are going to come and move up these smaller rivers in any event. They were really moving this week on both the Cains and Renous rivers as fishermen landed fish with Sea Lice every single day far upriver. This was another week of Salmon-to-Grilse ratios in the 10-3 range, including some very large Salmon. Of all the
fall weeks we have had so far, this week was more like a traditional fall week with colourful foliage, crisp mornings, lots of fish in the system and fall flies like the Allie Shrimp, GP,LT Special and Copper Killer working well. Overall, we have had a very productive fall on the River and a productive and enjoyable final week of the 2016 Season.
Thanks again from all of us at Country Haven Miramichi
"You should have been here last week" is a famous saying by fishing guides around the world and it was probably said a number of times this week on the Miramichi
as each day of the week, fishing became slower. With clear sunny days and low clear water, anglers landed 11 Salmon on Monday but only averaged between 3 to 6 daily for the remainder of the week, even though there
were great numbers of fish in the system. On the positive side however, everyone was seeing lots of fish! We had another 30 Lb'er landed and almost all our fishermen did manage to hook into fish this week. The conditions this week saw fishermen who used the smaller fly patterns enjoy the most success - some landing salmon on #10 and #12 Undertakers. It has been another week of mainly Salmon being landed with apparently not many Grilse in the system. With the rain we are now receiving it is almost certain the season will end on a high note.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Landed by Gary Berenson, Wayland MA Main River
Andrew Done, Leysin Switzerland Main River
Brian Warrington, Manchester England Main River
Doc Baker, North Carolina Cains River
This year's UK Spey Clinic week was a great one with good casting lessons and a lot of nice salmon landed. Throughout the week, anglers hooked 111 and landed 70 with the majority of them being Salmon, including three 30+ Lb. fish. This week was another good week of catches in a number of different pools from all the rivers we fish. The major run of fresh fish this week was in the lower stretches of the Main Southwest Miramichi river system. Early in the week the fish were still traveling throughout the Main river system, as the water was still at a good height for running fish. Now they are starting to hold up more, with the traditional fall pools that normally hold fall fish, starting to
hold more daily. Even though some nice Salmon were landed on the Cains and Renous rivers - with lots of fish in both rivers - a bump in water levels would improve catches. Andrew Done from Switzerland enjoyed his 2nd best week out of his 7 visits, landing 10 with 9 of them being Salmon. Also, Jim Long from Chicago fished 6 different pools in 3 days and landed fish in all of them. Luck or Skill or just good at taking fish? - we are not quite sure, but Jim thinks it's skill so maybe it was!
Fish were landed on a number of flies this week with the better results being with Undertakers - anywhere from
#4 through #10, depending on the pools. With two weeks remaining until the end of the season, beautiful fall foliage and pools filling up with big fall Salmon - it is looking very good for October fishing.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Michael Wadden Kentville NS Renous River Salmon
Bruce Palmer Kentville NS Cains River Salmon
John Ruckno, Wilkes Barre PA Nor'west River Salmon
Nick Choremi, Brooklyn NY Renous River Salmon
Cains River Morning
Dennis Landreville, Ottawa ON
With a 3 foot rise in water levels on the Main river and a couple of feet rise on the Cains and Renous rivers, it was just what the doctor ordered to get more fresh Salmon moving into the system. Anglers started seeing more fresh fish by mid week on the Renous and the
Nor'west, even though the Nor'west never received much of a rise compared to the other rivers.
By Friday. the Main river started seeing a good number of fresh fall Salmon entering the system and over the weekend, fishermen were rewarded on all the rivers. With the rise of water in the Cains river, fishermen started having success in the upper stretches of that river as well, unlike the past couple of weeks when fishermen were only having success in a few locations. With the current conditions, people should expect some good fishing throughout much of the river systems. Throughout the season we fish the 4 major rivers almost daily and often have success in most but when anglers start catching fresh fish on the same days in all these 4 rivers, it's usually a good indication that there is a good run occurring. We tried it two days in a row over the weekend. With the rice in water levels and fall conditions, fishermen finally got the chance to have the best results so far this fall using the traditional fall patterns such as Ally's Shrimp, Mickey Finn, Tippet Shrimp and the GP. With three weeks remaining until the end of the season it's looking good for some great fall fishing.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Roger Lailey, Newburg, England Nor'west Miramichi Salmon
Alex Krotinger, Boston Ma Main Southwest Miramichi
Jens Lund Adamsen, Fredericia Denmark Cains River Salmon
Peter Engelhardt, Summit NJ Cains River Salmon
Some warmer and dryer-than-normal weather for this time of the season has resulted in one of our less productive fall weeks on the river but anglers did manage to land fish most days throughout the system. With our having access to 22 private pools, there are times when many are producing at the same time and other times when only a few pools on different rivers are fishing well. That was how it was this week as the majority of the fish landed were from the same pools on different rivers. It's always good to have the variety of water and top guides to provide guests with the best chance possible to land Salmon. All Atlantic rivers are unique in their own way - some are famous for big Salmon, even though they might be few-and-far between, and some are famous for their big runs, even though these rivers offer a very short
season. The Miramichi has a 6 month season with a chance of catching Salmon almost every day throughout the season, including the chance to catch the "fish of a lifetime" - especially on a Dry Fly. Even though there are many great Atlantic Salmon rivers throughout the world, we are told by fishermen from around the globe that it's pretty hard to beat the Eastern Canadian rivers - especially the Miramichi - when it comes to landing the "Big one" on a dry fly. This week it Was Jens Adamsen from Denmark. Even though he has landed hundreds of Atlantics throughout the Atlantic Salmon world, he always knew his best chance for landing his lifelong dream Salmon using a Bomber was on the Miramichi and he was not disappointed! Sometimes it's quantity, sometimes it's quality and sometimes it is just learning how to flyfish. Guests come and go and they all echo the same thing - "fish the Miramichi on a daily basis"! Flies of choice this week are still summer patterns of Orange or Red Butt Bear Hair, Undertakers and The Almost has been working well in evenings with holding fish using #8 and #10 Peach Carter Bugs Dry.
Even though the water is at a good height on the lower stretches of the Main River System and the fall runs should increase daily until the end of the season, a good rain will be needed to get fishing until the end of the season on the upper stretches of the Cains & Renous rivers as it should be.
It was another interesting week on the Miramichi as fishing remained quite consistent over the weekend and early into the week. Over the past couple of days, however, warmer weather has been moving in and will probably slow fishing a bit until there is a cooling trend. The weather prediction is calling for 30 ml. of rain over this weekend and that should be just about the perfect amount of precipitation - if it happens. The long range forecast is looking good and a full moon on the 17th is occurring at an ideal time to start bringing in the big runs of fall Salmon. Flies of Choice this week have been #10 Undertakers, Orange Butt Bear Hair and wet flies, Peach Carter Bug and Brown White With Orange Hackle Bombers.
The best news on the River this week has been that the new Minister of Fisheries, Dominic LeBlanc, is making changes for the improvement of the Striped Bass season. Everyone is hoping for more positive decisions by the start of the 2017 Season. The Miramichi, one of the best Atlantic Salmon rivers in the world, is seeing returning Striped Bass outnumbering returning Atlantic Salmon by a 10 to 1 ratio. These numbers suggest that it should not be a big decision to relax the restrictions on fishing for Striped Bass. Fly fishermen have been doing their part for Atlantic Salmon Conservation in every way possible. Everyone knows that the Atlantic Salmon has many predators so let's hope these improvements will be only one of many steps in the right direction as to whom should be the leader in making decisions for the protection of all fish species, including the wild Atlantic
Salmon - an important segment of the East Coast economy - valued at approximately $255 million annually.
On October 1st there will be a ceremony at the Atlantic Salmon Museum www.atlanticsalmonmuseum.com to induct long-time river guides Marty Stewart, Wesley Curtis and our very own Country Haven Guide Gary Colford, into the Guides Hall of Fame. I do not know Marty personally but being friends and neighbors with Wesley for over 30 years and having had the pleasure of Gary being on our guiding staff for the past 9 seasons, I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be in the Guides Hall of Fame, than these fellows.
- Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
David Paciobio, Ottawa ON
Pam Paciobio, Ottawa ON
Emily Champagne, Markham ON
Michael Kovacevic, Georgetown ON
With August in the books for another season, one wishes some of the fishing in June and July could have been as good as most of August has been. With Atlantic Salmon fishing, so much depends on conditions and the majority of the time - if there are fish in the system and the conditions are good - fishermen can be rewarded every month of the fishing season. Over the years, some of our best fishing has come in the month of August and this August was no exception as there was a good mix of both holding and fresh fish throughout the system.
As of now, conditions remain steady as we head into fall when we can expect some fresh runs of those big hookbill salmon - from now through the end of the season on Oct the 15th. Right now conditions are great for much of the main river system and should be remain that way until the end of the season if we don't receive much rain. The tributaries of the Renous and Cains rivers are good for a while yet but will need at least one good rise in water levels to ensure the traditionally good fall fishing these tributaries are famous for.
Up until now, anglers have been having better results on traditional summer fly patterns like the Bomber, Green Machine, Bear Hair and Undertaker, and that will continue into September but, after the next rise in water levels, the traditional fall patterns such as the Shrimp, GP, LT Special and Copper Killer, to name a few, will be in high demand until the end of the season.
Throughout most weeks of the season we catch some big fish, some small fish, sometimes they get photos, sometimes they don't, but for the guides, the best reward of all is seeing the faces of those who catch their very first Atlantic Salmon on a fly rod. The 4 photos above are all of first timers on their first
morning fishing for Atlantic Salmon.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Cains River Salmon
Another Cains River Salmon
Main River Salmon, Shya Kane, Milford NJ
Main River Salmon, Shya Kane, Milford NJ
This has been another good week of August fishing as fishing has been quite consistent throughout the entire river system over the past couple of weeks. The Renous can be a very productive river under the right conditions, especially in July, September and October but has been very good since the rise in water levels which happened in early August. With the good water height in the smaller tributaries, not only has the fishing been good in the lower stretches of the Cains - as it usually is in August - but anglers have started catching and seeing Salmon in greater numbers much further upriver this year. So... if good conditions continue and the fish continue to arrive as they are doing then we could expect some good fall fishing throughout much of the river system for the remainder of the season. Flies of Choice this week have been (wet flies) the White Tail Green Machine and (dry flies) Brown Orange Bombers and Peach Carter Bugs.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Patric Thebeu, Moncton NB First Atlantic
Early Morning Miramichi
One of our favorite fishermen
We like it when they're rolling
With two months remaining until the end of the 2016 fishing season, it is really exciting to be part of the family of fly fishermen challenging the wild Atlantic
Salmon. In the time remaining, a lot of good and bad can happen but, to date, everyone should be happy with the season and returns so far! This Spring season was the most consistent in 17 years and June and July had some of the better numbers of fish returning to the river in quite a while! The annual "bump in the road" we seem to get, where warm water conditions occur, is behind us, hopefully for another season! With a 3 foot rise in water levels and all the cold water brooks reopened, fish are now moving throughout the system - what more could a Miramichi River Guide ask for! With this rise in water levels, the majority of the holding fish started moving on Sunday evening, making for some very good fishing on the Lower Cains and the Main river Systems. Normally, with these rises in water after a period of hot dry weather, fishing can be fantastic as these fish move through the system . There is normally a lull of a couple of days between the holding fish moving out and the fresh runs moving into the system so anglers in the upper stretches of the river should expect some good fishing heading into the weekend and fishermen should start to see more fresh August fish entering the lower stretches of the system by the weekend as well. One thing we do know is that the Miramichi River is only one of a few river systems in the world that receive such an abundance of fish in a fall salmon run and it's always good to be part of it! Every day throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons we are reminded that we are blessed to have such a group of quality guides giving a 100% effort at catching fish as they travel throughout the river system. We do know that our guides enjoy guiding in the fall season best of all. It also helps to have access to 22 private pools throughout the system, including five on the Cains river which is, beyond a doubt, the best little Atlantic Salmon River in the world for fall fishing.
We are often asked how the fish counter systems actually work. It can be quite confusing if not explained well as the counters only tally a percentage of the actual number of fish entering the river systems. Below is a report by fly fishermen Brad Burns from his Blog, on how they come up with the returning number of fish, with the returns this season - up until July 15th on the Main Southwest Miramichi river.
The 2016 season so far and the coming fall run - by Brad Burns
One of the best measures that we have is the Millerton trap net which we have discussed on this blog before. The government website can be found at this link. I won't bore you with a long tutorial because many of you understand how the trap works already, but for those that don't but who are interested, just go on the site and spend some time changing the dates, clicking salmon or grilse and looking at the results. Compare the current period with earlier years that are also listed. There is no other way to learn it.
On July 15, the trap reported 397 salmon for the season to date. This compares to 213 avg. for the same period from 1998 through 2002, and 349 from 2003 through 2007. It is also well ahead of either 2013, 2014, or 2015. So
far so good, but it is less than the 494 from 2008 to 2012. The 397 represents just the Main Southwest branch, and the trap catches about 5% of returning salmon. That means that so far in 2016 we have had about 8,000 salmon enter the Main Southwest Miramichi. This isn't bad, especially compared to just about any other salmon river in North America. The grilse count was 536 which, times the 10% efficiency for grilse, puts the run so far at about 5,000. This is about half of the normal grilse returning by July 31 for all but the most recent years - which have generally been lower than 2016. Like the Main Southwest Miramichi, the Northwest Miramichi branch is
having quite a good year for Salmon, but not great for Grilse.
So what does all this mean for the fall run? Jason Curtis always says that you can judge the whole season to come by the early fishing. He reasons that the early fish are a certain part of the total run, and if that early
component is bigger then the whole run will also be larger. It's like the old bell-shaped curve. If the outer edges of the bell are wider and thicker the bell is likely to be larger. Certainly that is the way it was with the 2011 run, which came in hot and heavy early and continued that way until the end of the season. One day in mid-June 2016 I came in off the river and sat on the bench next to Jason. I had just had a half hour of rolling and touching salmon, but not getting a solid hookup. You have to be feeling pretty good about the number of fish we saw in the tail of the pool tonight, he said. There were plenty of Atlantic salmon coming in to the Miramichi
until that first heat wave at the end of June.
- Brad Burns
Last week, with the warm water, it was better for canoe sightseeing and beaches here at Country Haven, than for fishing, but the few fishermen that were on the water still managed to land fish and enjoy seeing lots of holding fish, even when there were no takers. But, with these improved conditions, there have been many fishermen limiting out the past few days and we have had some of the best fishing of the season which could possibly
continue over the next couple of weeks. #6 and #8 White Tail Green Machine have been the flies of choice since Sunday. With the lower Canadian dollar compared to many other foreign currencies it is a good time to visit the Miramichi for a fishing trip and we are also finding that anglers are taking advantage of the currency exchange to buy from our local Miramichi fly shops - who carry all the top brands in the business - from Doak & Sons in Doaktown, Curtis Outfitters in Blackville, Trout Brook Fly Shop on the Nor'west and Miramichi Hunting & Fishing Supplies in Miramichi city. With Atlantic Salmon fishing there is never a guarantee, even when the river is full of fish, but we can guarantee some of the best quality service & prices that these local fly shops offer. So... Get ready for the fall season as we are expecting a good one!
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Haley Dow, Paxton MA
Stephane Jansen, Rawdon QUE
Rosemarie Greulich, Pulaski NY
Andy Greulich, Pluaski NY
Overall it has been a positive June and July with very good numbers of returning fish reported to date at the counters - some of the better numbers in a while. With the warmer water, fishing has slowed a bit for the number of fish in the system. As always, we have seen better results using dry flies when the water is warmer so this past week was a week for Bombers with some very good results. Throughout each season we enjoy an 85% of returning angler guests who fish with us but it's always a great thrill when first-time Atlantic Salmon anglers have good luck. This week the photos above are of first-timers with their Atlantics. Every photo has a good story but we love the one about 9 year old Haley Dow from Massachusetts who not only had the Country Haven cooks and staff fall in love with her, it seemed like the Salmon did as well, as phey played with her Bomber almost every time she cast. Other fishermen could only watch and wish as they listened to her excitement with every roll and hookup throughout her visit. All fish taken this week were on Dry Fly Peach Bombers and Whiskers.
The water is getting low for most of the tributaries and upper stretches of the main river system but is at an
ideal height for the lower stretches, especially from Blackville to Quarryville. Some of these pools are better as the water gets lower. Even with good water height in these pools, rain is needed to cool the water down and bring more of those big August Salmon that tend to hold up in the lower stretches of the river.
- Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Guide Gary Colford
Tony Spratt, London England
Guide Danny Coughlan
Jason Andalo, West Roxbury MA
Overall, it was a very good week for fish numbers throughout most of the river system with much better catches than the previous week where the lower water
conditions were perfect in the lower stretches of the Main river for much of the week. Although many of the fish landed this week were Grilse, there was a good mixture of big Salmon in the system. By the weekend, a couple of rain storms brought the river up approximately a foot, making for good water levels on the Renous and as a result, fishermen were rewarded daily. On the lower stretch of the Renous river system, the rise in water levels put a few fish into the Cains, also a few Grilse and Salmon were landed on the lower stretches of the Cains river.
The forecast is not looking too bad for the next couple of weeks as it is raining today and there is a chance of 20-30 Millimeters (1"+/-) of rain arriving on Thursday. With the water temperatures hovering in the mid 70's over the last couple of days, starting today, the DFO decided to close down 25 cold water brooks to fishing until water temperatures cool. The closures of these brooks effect only 2 of our 22 Private fishing pools that we use throughout the season, giving us access to 20 Private pools instead of the normal 22. If forecast predictions are correct, the closure might not be too long. Flies of choice this week were Peach Bomber dry flies and #10 and #12 Undertaker wet flies.
On October 1st there will be a ceremony at the Atlantic Salmon Museum www.atlanticsalmonmuseum.com to induct long-time river guides Marty Stewart, Wesley Curtis and our very own Country Haven Guide Gary Colford, into the Guides Hall of Fame. I do not know Marty personally but being friends and neighbors with Wesley for over 30 years and having had the pleasure of Gary being on our guiding staff for the past 9 seasons, I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be in the Guides Hall of Fame, than these fellows.
- Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Bill Mather, Elgin Ont - ready for fishing
Glen Delisle, California Landing his 1st ever Atlantic Salmon
Glen Delisle, Auburn CA, Guide Daryl Tucker Bob Peredi, Savanna GA
This has been a great week for fish numbers throughout the river system with daily numbers at the Millerton counter on the Main river system ranging from approximately 500 to over 1,200 each day this week, using a standard calculation formula of between 7-10 percent of fish moving through the counters. Although the numbers were good, the actual catches should have been much higher with overall good conditions. The lower stretches of the Main river and the Renous have seen amazing numbers of fish travelling through the system. The long-range weather forecast is looking great and with these high numbers, it appears like some great July fishing should be had by all throughout the entire Main river system.
Every week is different in catches - some good, some not so good - but one thing that has not changed over the years is our quality of guests, both returning or new. Words cannot describe the wonderful guests and now friends who have visited us over the years. This week we had the pleasure of hosting two new first-time 85 year old fishing guests, and what a treat it was having them at our Lodge. We miss everyone who visits each year but these guys will be remembered for some time! Flies of choice this week were #8 Undertakers, #8 Blue Charms and #8 and #10 Same thing Murry.
Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Photos of Two nice salmon landed at Campbell's pool above Blackville - by Brad Burns
Rick Maser, Bar Harbour Maine 1st Atlantic on the Cains, Summer 2016
Salmon landed by Mike Panio Orleans MA
Fishing the Miramichi
The Run is On! What a difference a week makes! With 4 days of 90F weather to start last week, fishing was spotty at best as anglers only landed a few fish during the week and during a couple of days mid-week we saw more moose on our Wildlife Tours than Salmon in the river. Everyone was thinking "not another heatwave" for the start of the July run this year. But what a change in conditions and fishing a couple of days can make when land temperatures reduced from 90F to 40F and water from 76F last Wednesday to 60F this week. Since Tuesday evening we have seen a river full of Salmon as there has been a nonstop run of fresh wild Atlantics moving through the lower stretches of the Main River System and some fishermen limited out last evening. The majority of the June run Salmon are destined for the upper stretches of the Main River System but the July runs are also heading for the Upper stretches plus the smaller tributaries of the Cains and the Bartholemew and tend to start holding up more than the early runs. We landed our first Cains river Salmon of the summer season this week and know it's just the beginning of great days to come on the Cains. With a rise in water, the Renous should also produce as the first few weeks of July can be prime time on the river when conditions are good. Flies of choice this week were the #8 Undertaker and the #8 Blue Charm. There were also some fish landed on Dry Flies during the slower fishing days last week. With the cooler temperatures followed by a week's forecast for rain, the outlook is very promising for July fishing this season.
Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Patrick De Belder, Ottawa ONT Upper Sou'west
Tim Moore, Mechanicville NY ( Bomber ) Lower Sou'west
Productive Nor'west river pool
After a couple of weeks of summer fishing there has been a good number of fish landed on both the Main Southwest, the Nor'west and the Renous river systems. June can be unpredictable as to when the fish arrive some years - early some years or later in June - but for those who take the gamble, they can sometimes be rewarded with big silver fish of a lifetime. Early June has seen a number of happy anglers throughout the system. Most of the fish landed have been Salmon with a few Grilse that have entered the system over the past couple of days. The water is now at an ideal height for the June runs as long as it remains cool. Good fishing should continue however the next couple days forecast could see some hot weather that we do not need but then there will be cooling again mid-week with a good long range forecast predicted. Flies of choice have been the White Tail Green machine, Green Machine Crystal Flash and the Blue Charm.
Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
The 2016 Atlantic salmon season opened on the Miramichi on April 15th. We are looking forward to another great Spring season on the river. Even with good and sometimes not so good conditions and reports received of both good and poor numbers of fish returns over the years, we have still managed to land over 1,000 Spring Salmon and Grilse for 16 consecutive years on the lower stretches of the Main Southwest Miramichi River System. With Canada now having an exchange rate that makes many foreign currencies worth much more, 2016 should be a great time to make plans for a fishing trip to the Miramichi.
Teghan GodKin, Ottawa ON 1st Atlantic, May 13th
Larissa Bryenton Making it look easy
Claude Dagenais, Montreal QC
The 2016 spring Atlantic Salmon season is now officially over for another season. Effective May 16th, hook & release numbers will drop to 4 a day from the normal 10 a day limit that runs from April 15th through May 15th - the "Spring Salmon Season" and overall, what a great season it was! With good conditions and an abundance of Salmon, it turned out to be our most successful spring season in 17 years.
Our angling guests landed Salmon and Grilse every single day from opening on April 15th to May 15th. What a success rate this was as all of our fishermen hooked into Salmon and throughout the entire Month of spring fishing, only three one-day anglers did not land any.
With balanced weather conditions, no water level rises to speak of, cool nights and with many warm days, we wish every spring could be such a success. Even though spring Salmon fishing officially ended on May 15th, with
these great conditions, fishermen are still landing a few Salmon - especially throughout the lower stretches of the system - and will probably continue to do so for some time yet. Even though our guides all know it has been one of our best seasons, it is always refreshing to receive so much positive feedback from returning fishermen - some who have been returning for spring fishing for over 50 years! Peter Mychajliw from NY returned after staying away for 6 springs - due in part to some negative reports of low returns on the River - but he was very surprised as he enjoyed his best fishing ever - including his many years prior to the 6 year absence. Dave Geetter from Bloomfield, Ct. - who has fished the Miramichi almost every year since 1967 - said that even though he has had higher count days for fish over the years, he cannot remember seeing so many nice looking Salmon and also knows for sure that he has never caught so many big Trout in all his years of spring fishing on the Miramichi river. On a slightly negative note however, Dave Price from Weston Mass. who started fishing the
Miramichi in 1963, said that in all his years, he never landed any Striped Bass. While salmon fishing on the Miramichi, he landed 10 Stripers in an afternoon. He now says that over his 50 years of fishing the
Miramichi he has seen it all!! Don Dimambo from Barrington N.H. - after years of spring fishing for salmon on the Miramichi - decided to spend a day fishing for Striped Bass on the Lower Stretch of the River. In his 60 years of
Bass fishing in New England, he has never witnessed such Striped Bass fishing! We are so happy to say we have enjoyed some of the best spring Atlantic Salmon, Trout and Striped Bass fishing in years and it is great fun while it lasts. Many of these seasoned Striped Bass fishermen suggest that it might not last as long as we would like because they are worried about the effects of such an abundance of Stripers on one of the greatest wild Atlantic Salmon rivers in the World! The bass fishing is fun but it is the wild Atlantic Salmon that brings these anglers from around the world, to the Miramichi each year. So, with the retention period continuing until May 29th, anglers should get out do some Striper fishing and take one home as there is definitely no shortage of them on the Miramichi. Fly rod Floating lines or light sinking tips, Bombers or Chris Edmonds Striper flies are working best.
Spring fishing will continue for a while yet - especially for the Striped Bass and the fresh runs of Sea Run Trout that should be arriving soon - but with expectations so high for another good year of Salmon and Grilse runs, an early summer with good fishing conditions might see some entering the system
early this year. Country Haven has access to 22 private pools throughout the System in 2016, giving guests the best chance possible to catch the wild Atlantic Salmon .
- Good Luck and Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Mike Durant, Pensacola FL
Andy Lipsky ,Cumberland RI
John Torgan, Providence RI
Cody Dey, Thunder Bay ONT (Cody's 1st Atlantic Salmon)
Another great week to be on the Miramichi! With the exception of a couple of colder days on the water after so many nice warm days, anglers have continued to catch
spring Salmon every day since the season opened. Even though we are fishing from Upper Blackville to Quarryville for Salmon and Grilse, fishermen are still having the best results upriver above Blackville. If this trend
continues, this season fishermen might continue to land some Salmon until the end of May. Although the number of daily catches has slowed since April, this spring has been as consistent as any spring we have seen, with fish landed daily. The Salmon landed now are fighters after feeding so long on smelts. The trout fishing has also slowed up a bit but what nice trout fishermen have landed since late April. Fishermen have now switched over to floating lines or light sinking tips. Flies of choice remain the Smelt Patterns for Salmon, Gray Ghost for trout along with some results in the Quarryville area using big Brown Bombers.
As the Salmon, Grilse and Trout catches have slowed, the Striped Bass fishing has improved daily. Even though fishermen are catching Stripers as far upriver as the White Rapids, the Miramichi City area numbers are
increasing daily. Although there are many ways to fish for Stripers, fishermen are having best results and the most fun landing them using fly rods with Chris Edmonds Striper bass flies. With good water conditions expected for a while yet for boating on the lower stretch of the Main River system, there should still be some good spring fishing remaining with a good chance to catch Atlantic Salmon, Trout and Striped Bass.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Jake McGill, Kitchener ONT
Nathan Mesher, Kitchener ONT
J.P. Wiggins, Clinton, Ohio
Peter Mychajliw, Port Washington, NY
Raymond Hill, Roanoke VA
The 2016 Spring Atlantic Salmon season has been great so far as the conditions have remained almost perfect for an extended long spring season. Even though some days were in the 70's F, nights stayed cool, keeping the water colder than some years. Spring Salmon don't go anywhere until water temperatures are just right, no matter how early the ice goes out or how low the water levels may get. With these conditions, many anglers have switched over to sinking tips or floating lines only when using smaller flies. With the Atlantic Salmon fishing being more consistent than we have seen in
years, Trout fishing has also been terrific as fishermen have been landing fish daily - some up to 7 Lbs. The Miramichi has always been known as one of the best Atlantic Salmon producing rivers in the world, but now, with the population explosion of Striped Bass in the system, at this time of the season, anglers can limit out by landing 10 Atlantics, big Bookies and a boatload of Stripers - all in one day! Not good for the river but good action for the fishermen! Flies of choice this week for Atlantic Salmon were the Magog Smelt, Christmas Tree and Black Ghost. For Trout, the Gray Ghost was best and for catching Striped Bass, the Chris Edmonds Special worked best!
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Bevin Baker, Tasmania Australia
Gino DeBurra, Poland Maine
Dr. Mohammad Hossain, Saint John NB
Reggie Pratt, Minot Maine
It has been another great week of Salmon fishing on the Miramichi as all anglers landed fish every single day! Although numbers were not quite as good as our first week, the fishing is staying very consistent and the quality of fish is the best we have seen in years, especially the ones that have been feeding on smelt.
With perfect water conditions most of the week, fishing has been good overall with many big salmon landed - including 15 over 40 inches out of over 600 Grilse and Salmon landed since opening day. The best news is that colder nights have been keeping the water cold and the fish have not been going anywhere since opening day. If these conditions continue, anglers could have some great spring fishing long into May. The water is now on the low side but some rain in the forecast early next week should help in extending the spring season for boat fishing. The conditions are now perfect for casting and some fishermen have changed over to using sinking tips only. When the water does warm up and the fish start moving, presuming these clear water conditions continue, fishermen should have some good success this spring using floating lines as well.
Even though the Salmon fishing is good and will improve even more with the number of fish in the system as the
water warms, trout fishing over the past days has been awesome in the lower stretches of the Main river. Fishermen have been landing too many to count on some days - including some up in the 6-7 lb. range. The traditional spring flies are working well but smaller flies have started and will continue to produce, especially for the casters.
The Miramichi traditionally sees anglers travel from around the world for summer and fall fishing, with the majority of spring anglers arriving from the eastern US. It is very early in the season however fishermen have already arrived from Australia, England, Scotland, Norway and the western US States of Washington and Arizona with great success had by all! Spring, summer or fall, each season may be different but the thrill of landing a Wild Atlantic Salmon is special at any time.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
Steve Cullen, Princeton MA 1st Atlantic Salmon 2016 season
by Art Mesher, Kitchener, ONT
Bernie Pelech, Portsmouth NH
Jason Tham, Toronto ONT
What a great start to the 2016 fishing season as almost every angler on the river limited out at 10 fish each on opening day. Fishing has continued to remain good throughout the week and with summer-like weather conditions, this week would have to be described as a perfect start to the spring season. Flies of choice this week have been the Christmas Tree, Black Ghost
, Renous River Special and Magog Smelt.
As we head into the second week of the season, there are lots of fish throughout the entire river system. Anglers having the best results now are casting toward shore from boats as the majority of fish are still holding. With some nice weather in the forecast, it's looking like another great week ahead to be on the River.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi.
With only two weeks remaining until the start of the Atlantic Salmon fishing season on the Miramichi, the conditions are beginning to look good for this years opening day. There is still more ice to clear but the DFO Salmon & Grilse returns are now out for last year on the Miramichi River System and they are looking good for this spring's fishing season.
2015 count returns for Salmon & Grilse for the Main Southwest Miramichi river.
16,152 Total Salmon and Grilse
25,470 Total Salmon and Grilse
Total Miramichi System
41,622 Total Salmon and Grilse
YEAR 2015 River Reports
Stephen Tonning, Fredericton NB
Roger Lailey, Newburg England
Stephen Tonning, Fredericton NB
Fish on Middle Cains
Fish on Upper Cains
With the 2015 fishing now behind us, we would like to thank all our guests who experienced a season of some great fishing, some poor fishing, high & low water conditions and a season of new conservation measures that has placed the Miramichi and Atlantic Canada in the forefront in the conservation of Atlantic Salmon. Let's hope there will be more areas that will "get on board" like Quebec, Saint Pierre & Miquelon and yes, Greenland, in protecting the Wild Atlantic Salmon.
Overall, here at Country Haven, it was another good year with over 80% of returning guests from around the world who joined us in enjoying the Miramichi, including all the Canadian provinces, 37 US States, and 14 Countries. The returns were up over last season - especially summer returns - but the fall numbers will probably be a little disappointing, not because of lack of fish, but mainly being due to the removal of counters again because of the flood in late September which is normally a prime time for the fall returns. However, in this season, compared to some past seasons when conditions were good, anglers felt like every time they headed to the river, they had a good chance of catching fish. The guides tend to agree that the most positive thing about the 2015 season was the large returns of Grilse throughout the season compared to the last couple of years and with the large number of fish that have entered the system, fishing should be good for the coming spring season.
The Atlantic Salmon is a traveler and so are the fishermen who fish for them as guests travel from around the world every year to fish the Miramichi. It always amazes me just how far people will travel to fish for Atlantics, even with some having great fishing for other species in their back yards. It always reminds us just how important the wild Atlantic Salmon truly is. What amazes me even more is that over the years, how these fishermen's paths have taken them to meet up at lodges from Russia, Norway, Scotland and the Miramichi without even knowing each other would be there. Every year is similar but always has something that sets it apart from
other seasons, whether it's the variations from year to year as to the best locations, changing conditions or the fly selections that work best from season to season or where the majority of guests will be from by season's end . One thing that was a bit different this season was where guests arrived from at the same time without knowing each other or without any connection to be here without a group booking or other arrangement. It just happens - like in July, when three traveled from Salt Lake, Utah in the same week, or in early September when five from North Carolina arrived the same week, and in late September, three from Victoria BC in the same week. Some of these guests were almost neighbours but had not known each other before their arrival. After traveling thousands of miles to fish the Miramichi they were all brought together by the allure of the wild Atlantic Salmon - the king of the game fish - a species worth fighting for!
We would again like to say "thanks" to all our guests - we could not do it without you and look
forward to seeing you all again in 2016! Tight lines.
Colin Townsend, Voorhees N.J.
Pete doing what he Likes best
Landing Salmon on the Cains river
Ron Halick with Andrew & Nancy Moy on the Miramichi
Andrew Moy Casting Clinics
Lobster time on the Miramichi
As the water is now falling daily, fishing is also improving throughout the week - especially on the Cains and Renous rivers. We love these fall weeks with the
colourful fall foliage, normally good fishing and the back-to-back casting clinics which were held last week and this week. It's always a pleasure to watch these fellows casting. With the water falling, we landed fish in a number of different pools from five different rivers throughout the system. The water was at an ideal height for canoeing and fishing day trips on the Cains river which are always a treat - usually with good results. Although the Cains river is probably one of the best little fall rivers in North America for Atlantic Salmon when the conditions are right, this year has been no exception as almost all the pools are now producing good results but with the higher water, the best results have come from the Middle Cains. Sometimes it's the lower stretches and other times the upper stretches so the more access, the better it gets as each year, best results can come from different locations. One thing for sure is that there is nothing much better than finishing out the fishing season on the Cains River. Only five days remain in this year's fishing season so get out and enjoy it if you can!
For best flies - fall patterns, especially anything with orange, is working best.
This week could be called "the Good, the Bad and the Ugly"!
The "Good" would be that this week is always one of our most enjoyably weeks of the season as it is our UK Spey week on the Miramichi with a number of fishermen returning each year from the UK for a week-long
adventure of fly fishing for Atlantics and Spey Casting clinics hosted by Bryan Martin & Brian Warrington from the UK. The beginning of the week was promising with ideal conditions and good numbers of fresh fall run Salmon
entering the system with many 30+ Salmon seen and landed on the river.
The "Bad" was the 150ml (6") of rain we received mid-week, bringing the water up by approximately 21 feet in 36 hrs.
The "Ugly" was the flood-like conditions where fishing was impossible for two days since there was too much floating debris and and it took until Saturday before conditions improved enough to again have any success. What started out looking like probably one of the better fall seasons on the Main river, will not happen this
year. But on the positive side, the instructors did an excellent job at the casting Clinics and our staff provided a number of tours - including bear watching - that all our guests enjoyed very much. Another positive aspect in this rise in water levels is that even though it might not be good for the lower stretches of river, it should make for some great fall fishing on the tributaries of the Cains and Renous where we have access to some great fall pools! I Can't think of any place better than the Cains to finish off the fishing season! For anyone
interested in fishing the Main river only this fall, with this rise in water, probably it will be the upper stretches of the Main river that will be fishing best for a while. It might be a good time to try places upriver as the conditions are now in their favour for Main river fishing.
Flies of choice this week were all fall patterns; GP, Ally's Shrimp, Red Frances and LT Special.
This week, our stretch of the river was not quite as productive as it was last year at this time due to the rise in water from last week taking most of the holding fish upriver and only a few of the fall run fish moving into the system. Even though we fished a number of pools throughout the system all week, most of our fish came from four pools - two on the lower Main river, one on the Cains and one on the Nor'west. Again this week, luckily, we had access to pools that could bail us out when conditions were not as good as usual for this section of the river at this time of year. As the water levels fall and more of the fall runs enter the system we can expect better results throughout the entire river system as conditions are now almost perfect for the fall runs. Although we are still using a mix of summer and fall fly patterns, the fall patterns worked the best this week.
- Tight Lines
Joe Herzog, Virginia
Joe Herzog, Virginia
Chris Lloys, England
Jamie Long, Moncton NB ( 1st Atlantic Salmon )
More water was what we needed for the river system to improve conditions for the fall and we received a nice 3+ foot rise on the Main River and even more on the
tributaries early in the week. With the water rising, anglers enjoyed some decent fishing before too much debris started moving. The rain was needed for the long run but as it sometimes happens, it slows fishing
for a while as for a couple of days the water is normally too dirty and it also moves fish from holding pools, so it can be a waiting game as it takes a few days, following the rain, for conditions to improve and for
fresh fish to enter the system to take the place of the holding fish that have moved on. That was the case for most fishermen this week. Even though we did land some nice salmon, it ended up being our slowest week of
the summer fishing season on our stretch of the river. With the bump in water levels and cooler weather in the forecast for the remainder of the fall season, we expect numbers for the fall runs to now increase daily for a while .Even though there has been some fresh
fish entering the system since with the rise in water levels, higher numbers traditionally start arriving between September 21st to 25th and should continue past the closing of the season. As it now looks, conditions
should be excellent for the fall run arrivals. Traditionally, these fall runs have fish arriving in all the rivers in the system around the same time whereas the summer runs tend to vary from river to river. The Main
River and the Cains have always been known for their good fall runs so let’s hope the tradition continues for this season. Flies of choice this past week have been the Ally’s Shrimp, GP and the LT
With our having such good fishing in the first week of September, this past week we had to settle for much slower fishing as the third heat wave of the season arrived over the weekend and brought water temperatures up again by Monday, resulting in our anglers being shut out for the first time in a while! On Monday, however disconcerting, we still managed to have a successful week as almost all our fishermen landed fish - including first time Atlantic Salmon fishermen Jens Adamson of Denmark who landed 7 and lost another two fish during the tough fishing days. Fishing improved by the end of the week and we did manage to land another 20. With our having access to 21 private pools on the Miramichi River system, sometimes almost all of the pools are producing well but this week we were down to only three that were producing on the entire river system, but three is better than none! Every year we often worry if it is worth the investment for access to so much private water, as over the years some pools are seldom used. Occasionally, times like these make it all worthwhile as an otherwise poor week would turn into a good week and all anglers went home happy. Each year days on the water can be so different as conditions change and so do the pools - sometimes even rivers - as to where the best fishing will be. There is an old saying which goes "never put all your eggs in one basket" or in other words, "a varity of pools is the spice of life when it comes to Atlantic Salmon fishing".
Now the good news is that we expect no more low and warm water for the rest of this season! With the good amount of rain we received all day yesterday, we are expecting the Main river to rise approximately 3 feet and the tributaries rising even more. Yesterday, With the water rising, anglers had good success, especially in the Doaktown area Main river and lower Cains. With so many fish in the lower river system now, good fishing should
continue for some time on the upper stretches as these fish move up the rivers. With the rise in fresh water levels we can soon expect the start of our fall run as conditions this week should be perfect for bringing in more fresh fish. With our having access to 5 private pools on the Cains and this rise in water levels, we have many happy guides this morning as they know just how good fishing can be on the Cains in the fall when conditions are right!
Over the last few weeks anglers almost all used dry flies - and what a treat it is landing Salmon on a dry fly - but with the higher and cooler water, the wet fly patterns will probably work best from now on. The fly of choice this past week was the Peach Carter Bug. Recommended flies to use this coming week are the traditional summer wet fly patterns such as the Green Machine, Bear Hair and Undertakers as well as fall patterns like the GP, Allie Shrimp, Red Franchis and the Copper Killer.
- Tight Lines
15 yr old Daniel Macdonald releasing his 1st Atlantic Salmon
Dr. Michael Kelleher, Duxbury, MA First ever Atlantic Salmon
Jack Thorpe, Lock Haven, PA
With warm water conditions over the past week, some thought those conditions might continue longer than they did however with the rain late last week and water temperatures dropping into the low 60's over the weekend, the DFO reopened the cold water places on Monday.
When temperatures dropped into the 50's early in the week, what more could Atlantic Salmon fishermen ask for?
With the cooler water, many pools on the lower stretches of the Main river and a couple of pools on the Cains
enjoyed great fishing. We are not sure if there were many new fish entering the system or just the high abundance of holding fish on the move, but from Monday morning on, our anglers enjoyed one of the best weeks on the water this year and we have had some great weeks to really remember this year! The only thing that might have made this week even better would have been more fishermen on the river. With less than optimum previous conditions and some negative reports involving pool closings there were less fishermen on the water than normal for this time of year but those who were fishing were in for a real treat as our anglers hooked close to 100 fish over the last 5 days. With a good variety of both Salmon and Grilse in the system the majority landed at our Lodge were Grilse as this week there were quite a few novice fly fishermen and sometimes it takes practice landing the bigger ones and novices manage to lose Salmon every way possible - from holding rods too tight, breaking leaders, having lines getting tangled around sticks on the river bottom and a Black Bear encounter in the pool while landing Salmon can help in a quick release every time! Overall, however, it was a very enjoyable week on the water with some nice fish landed and fun was had by all! Even though we started hooking salmon as early as Monday morning off the tides in the White Rapids Area, many of the fish landed looked quite fresh but this week only a couple had Sea Lice.
Based on the long range forecast, it's too early to know what's in store for us next week as sometimes forecasts change daily. The days do look warmer but if nights are cool then that counteracts warmer days in cooling water temperatures which will keep conditions OK. Night temperatures dropped to as low as 5C this past week and we had frost in places, making it seem like fall. If these cool night temperatures would remain for a while then good fishing should continue on the lower stretches of the river, as the water height is low but still ideal for this area - especially between Blackville and Quarryvillle. If conditions are right on this lower stretch of the river and there are fish in the pools then the lower they get the better the fishing! This week we will need to wait and see what weather we receive as with any fishing, it's so much luck, being in the right place at the right time, and good conditions. This past week we were blessed to have access to the best pools on the system for the conditions.
For the river as a whole, more rain is needed to get the remaining holding fish moving, to bring in more fresh fish and to make many of the upper stretches and tributaries like the Renous and Cains more fishable for the
fall runs. With so many fish in the system, the upper stretches should enjoy excellent fall fishing this year if we get rain. Although this week we landed fish on a number of different fly patterns, using dry flies was by far the best choice - Bombers, Whiskers, etc.. On Tuesday, guide Ken issued a warning to our anglers that Peach Carter Bugs should only be tied on while on shore as the Salmon might take them out of your hands! We guess they were working that well!!
- Tight Lines
As of this afternoon, the Variation Order has been lifted on all of the 23 cold water holding places throughout the Miramichi River System. The water temperature has decreased into the low 60's over the past few nights.
Tight Lines - enjoy your fall fishing on the Miramichi.
Newlywed Dustin Hildebrandt Winnipeg Manitoba.
Dustin's Bride, Michelle Funk Winnipeg Manitoba.
Dustin Hildebrandt, Winnipeg Manitoba.
Byers family, Brockville Ontario
"Dog days of August" - and that's what it was for over a week with lots of swimming, canoeing and relaxing - most lodges including ours did not do much fishing. Once again there was no shortage of holding fish - in some places close to 1,000. Downriver places like Engine Town Brook, Welch Springs and Bears Den! Upriver places like the mouth of the Bartholemew, Black Brook, Mills Brook and Big Hole were doing the same as well as many smaller places inbetween. Throughout the week, however, fishing conditions gradually improved as the cooler nights resulted in D.F.O. opening up full day fishing again on Tuesday throughout the system as a few days over the weekend were restricted to morning fishing only. With the rain we received on Wednesday and Thursday, everyone is hoping it might just be enough to reopen the cold water
brooks again. The Southeastern part of the Province received the most rain, resulting in water rising over a foot on the Cains river and the lower stretches of the Main River from the Cains on down. This prompted some of the holding fish to start moving on Thursday and yesterday, resulting in better fishing in some locations. With these cooler conditions and water rising, the water cooled down to as low as 19C on Wednesday night and 18C on
Thursday night on the lower river and the Cains - good temperatures for fishing and to get fish moving from the cold water holdouts. The decision to open or close cold water fishing spots throughout the Main River system is based on water temperatures in Doaktown so with Doaktown missing much of the water levels rising and water temperatures just borderline at 20C in that area, no decision has been made on those places yet. It will be good when they do open - after all, it does effect approximately 5% of the Miramichi River system fishing and many are good fishing spots. Our Lodge has access to 12 private pools on a yearly basis and another 9 on a daily basis - we decide to use them or not depending on how the fishing is in these pools each day. The closures effect 2 of the pools we use, leaving 19 still open for fishing. We would certainly like more rain but for now we are happy to have received what we did. With the rise in water levels we will be fishing the pools on the Cains - where
rain made a difference in the lower stretches of the Main River system - looking for fresh fish that could be arriving after the full moon and higher tides tonight.
We always enjoy fishing after the full moon. The fish will come in low water if conditions are OK. With the good fishing we enjoyed for so long this summer, it would have been nice if that had continued every week until the end of the season but if there had to be some poor fishing, it was at a good time, so let's hope it is past us now for this year. Along with the full moon and high tides, another positive thought for good fishing this fall might be the lack of big rises in water levels throughout July & August, as in past years when we had big
rises of water, it seemed like they flushed the system and brought in too many fish early in August which resulted in less fresh fish numbers later in the season. This year we have just had normal water rises - no floods - just consistent runs until now, so... if past history prevails, it should be a good fall for fish
numbers - but again - so much will depend on conditions!
Every week we receive guests from around the world, including quite a few novice newlyweds who think it's cool to land an Atlantic Salmon on their honeymoon. Dustin and Michelle from Winnipeg managed to land three on their day trip with us. Sometimes the tradition continues resulting in anniversary gift trips to the Miramich such as Andrew and Nikkie Sutherland from London England - Honeymoon 2005, 5th Anniversary in 2010, 10th anniversary in 2015! As the old saying goes "Happy Wife - Happy Life"! It's not diamonds afterall, it's Atlantic Salmon fishing that makes "reel" Ladies happy!
Sylvie Prefontaine, Quebec
Sylvie's fine casting form
Kayaking on the Miramichi
Visitors checking out the anglers
For approximately a month, from mid-July to mid-August, we enjoyed some of our most consistent summer fishing in a long time, with good conditions and a great number of fish in the system. But, like they say, all good things must come to an end! As another summer heat wave arrived on Saturday, the fishing came to a halt on Monday. This is Canada and we do like having summer weather, but 30C (86F) is too hot for both me and the Salmon but ideal for canoeing, kayaking and swimming. With the warm water temperature, the D.F.O. again closed some of the cold water sections throughout the river system. In July the closures reopened after just two days but we expect a longer period this time as the forecast does not look as favourable as it did in July, so we could be looking at a week or so this time. Keep in mind that with these closures in place, they still only effect approximately 5% of the river system fishing, but with current warm conditions, it is not worth the effort to be fishing as the fish just won't take a fly in these conditions. On the positive side, although it might not be good for the fish, it is amazing to see just how many are holding up in these cold water areas throughout the system. On another positive note, we are reminded that we are in Canada and these hot temperatures won't last long for anyone to be concerned about warm water conditions! For September and October I think it would be a safer bet to bring along your "Long Johns" instead of your "Speedo's"! So, for now, make the best of the warm weather and get ready for some good fall fishing.
With the fish counts up to August the 15th in, this leaves two months of counts yet to come. The numbers so far into the season are very good, especially when compared to last year. We all know the counts last year were not as bad as reported because of the counters being removed more times than in previous years, due to high water rises and during the flood in July. Normally, a good time for returns and the good number of spring fish moving back out to sea would be April and May. This spring also proves that the counts could not possibly have been as low as reported, but no matter how accurate the counts are, this season is looking very good compared to past years - especially the Nor'west, a river of concern over the last few years.
With the A.S.F. comparing the Dungarvon and the Nor'west counting fence barriers in it's latest report, it might be good to compare the numbers from the stretches of the Rivers where the majority of fishing takes place.
Counts as of August 15th at the Nor'west Cassilis trap:
2007-2011 average = 258
2012 = 166
2013 = 155
2014 = 41
2015 = 284
2007-2011 average = 912
2012 = 237
2013 = 364
2014 = 61
2015 = 1,257
The system used each year to determine the actual numbers, is based on approximately 7 to 10% of the actual number going through the trap nets. If this is correct, even at 10%, then the true number of returning fish as of August 15th is approximately 2,840 Salmon and 12,570 Grilse for a total fish count of 15,410.
Counts as of August 15th at the Main Southwest Miramichi Millerton trap
2007-2011 average = 513
2012 = 445
2013 = 298
2014 = 185
2015 = 421
2007-2011 average = 1,396
2012 = 437
2013 = 407
2014 = 283
2015 = 1,139
Again, if the System used is approximately 7 to 10% of the actual numbers going through the trap nets, the estimate at 10% the true number of returning fish as of Aug 15th is approximately 4,210 Salmon and 11,390 Grilse for a for a total fish count of 15,600.
These two counters combined suggest approximately 31,000 of returning Salmon and Grilse to the Miramichi River System as of August 15th!
Tracey Bryant, Landenberg PA August 12 2008
Tracey Bryant, Landenberg PA August 12 2015
Nicholas Biasotto, Landenberg PA August 12 2008
Nicholas Biasotto, Landenberg PA August 12 2015
Anyone who has not seen many fish on the river this year has simply not been on the river or has been in the wrong location as almost every day since mid June fresh fish have been entering the system. With more fish holding this week, we have seen a mix of both fresh and older fish in the system. The water was getting on the low side for much of the system but the cool nights keep temperatures good for fishing, with hook ups daily however the rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday brought the water up almost two feet so every pool we fished from Wednesday on had turned on fish. Each pool is different with some pools good for moving fish runs while other pools are good for holding fish. Pools with runs have had fish moving through daily and the holding pools are starting to hold fish daily. Some days are great and some days are not as good so much depends on conditions. By mid-August the numbers of returning fish have been as good as anyone could have predicted this year. It is still too early to know what the fall holds but with two months of fishing remaining, if the runs continue then this could be a banner year for returns to the Miramichi.
The Miramichi has a long history of Salmon fishing and has traditionally attracted many returning guests from around the world. Some return annually and some come back every chance they can get. For over 10 years now, through good and not-so-good fishing, we have enjoyed over a 80% return rate each year. Atlantic Salmon anglers are one-of-a-kind, loyal to their fishing, their guides and favoured rivers. There is no feeling like watching them arrive full of excitement and new flies tied through the winter, and sometimes trinkets and gifts for staff. These returning guest arrivals are often described as a homecoming by many, even though they might have traveled from around the world to fish the Miramichi. This week, two of our returning guests had seven years between visits but say it will be much sooner next time. The funny thing about their visit was the timing - landing fish on August 12, 2008 then exactly seven years later, having the same guide on the same day - August 12th 2015. With the rise in water, fishing should continue for a while throughout the system as the holding fish should continue their move upriver and the fresh water should probably help to bring some more fish into the system. Two months remain until the closing of the season on October 15th so planning a trip to the Miramichi might become the trip of a lifetime! With the good runs so far, many of the lodges on the river are booking up for fall but with so many good ones to choose from, you probably won't be disappointed in any of them.
- Tight Lines from the Miramichi
Fish on at the Orr Pool
Ladies having fun
Again, this week, there was no shortage of fish in the system but on a couple of days early in the week we did experience more lookers then takers. However, on Thursday, it was "switch on" once again as anglers had good success with close to 40 hook ups over the last 3 days. Any time you have first-time fly fishermen limiting out while salmon fishing, it's a successful day! Sometimes the ladies have all the luck! August can be the same as any other time of the year where right conditions mean so much. As the conditions improve, so does the fishing.
Although there are 30lb+ Salmon in the river now - we see them almost every day - the number of Grilse has been amazing this year, even though some of them are the smallest we have ever seen. We are not sure why but it is good seeing them in the system and this is the first time in a few seasons where there are more Grilse than Salmon.
Although anglers were having the best luck using wet flies in the faster water pools on the Main River, the slower pools on the river and it's tributaries were having the best fishing using using wet flies such as a #10 White Tail Green Machine and #10 Blue Smurf in the faster water pools on the main River. On the slower pools on the Main River and its tributaries they were having the best fishing using dry flies such as the Whiskers and Blue Bombers. The pools on the Main River - especially the lower section and lower Cains - are at a great height for holding fish but much of the Renous & Dungarvon are too low except for a few of the holding pools. Although we have been spending most of our time fishing the lower sections of the main river this week there are still good reports being received from upriver Blissfield and above the Doaktown area as well. With the ideal conditions on this section of the river, good dry fly fishing should continue throughout August.
Bob Lanzara & Malinda Barna Altmar NY
Guide Dan with salmon landed at Coughlan Pool
Anthony Spratt, London England salmon landed in Upper Blackville
Tony playing one of his many fish on the Cains this week
"Wow" is all that can be said about the runs of fish so far this summer! They started out good in June and have not stopped - even in the warm first
week of July where they were still entering the system. The numbers at the MSA trap net in Chatham said it all on Tuesday. Although it's the same as all the Miramichi counters - only an estimate based on the actual numbers of fish going through the Counter - but if calculations are right, there could have been between 3,475-13,900 fish moving up the river system on Tuesday alone. Fishermen say they have never seen so many fish moving through the system as they are now seeing, especially during the last two days. We are seeing both Salmon and Grilse but again, this week, more grilse are being landed than Salmon. At our location, overlooking the river, we see the majority of the fish that swim past and it has been nonstop action daily, especially after each high tide. 2011 was a great year and it is still early in the season however the guides are saying this has been a great July - one to remember! Throughout the season and with over 400 guests each year we see a number of great casters but every now and then someone comes along that just blows you away. Throughout the year, with our busy schedule
and having so many excellent guides on our staff, I personally do not get out on the water with guests as much as I would like to, but on Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the day with Bob Lanzare & Malinda Barna. Malinda is the owner of Malinda's Fly Shop in Altmar, NY. What a treat it was! Not only is Malinda one of the best casters, she is also one of the best anglers we have ever seen, as she covers the water and pools as well as anyone! Her efforts never went unnoticed as she got into some nice Salmon and Grilse while on her stay with us.
Although most of the fish are on the move there are a few places where they are holding up. A single angler, Randall Connors, rolled 15, hooked 6, and landed 4 in a 90 minute period yesterday morning, all holding fish in
a little pool in Upper Blackville. Some fish are also starting to hold on the Cains and Renous rivers. As August arrives, so do the Bomber fishermen as most years, during August, the lower stretches of the Main River see the best Bomber fishing as the fish hold up more at that time. Flies of choice this week have been #8 Christmas Tree and #8 Undertaker for wet fly. It was a tossup between the Peach Bomber and Blue Bomber for dry fly.
Over the years there have been many wonderful books written about the Miramichi by writers from around the world, including some I will never get tired of reading over and over - written by local Miramichi'er Wayne Curtis. I have just finished reading another one called "Closing of the Season" by Brad Burns. With our having access to five pools on the Cains, this book is very interesting as much of it is about the Cains and fall fishing on one of the best little Salmon rivers in the world. It is a "must read" for Atlantic Salmon
Fishermen. For anyone who has fished or would like to fish the Cains River in the future and would like to know more about this book, visit www.bradburnsfishing.com/product/closing-the-season.
After so much rain and cool temperatures over the past week it is now hard to believe that only 10 days ago they were shutting down cold water pools
because of the heat. Wow! When things improved, they did - big time - from last Thursday on, fishermen have seen as many fish entering the river in one week as they might have seen in any July in their lifetime.
Due to the earlier warm water conditions and negative reports there were not as many people fishing as usual but those who did were enjoying it as there were good numbers landed each day throughout the week, including approximately 100 fish in the stretch from the mouth of the Cains to Quarryville on Sunday alone! With the barbless hook being used this year, some anglers are losing half of their hookups, along with the fact there were not as many fishermen last week. One angler said these "100 fish days" could probably have been "300 fish days" in past years before barbless hooks and he is probably correct. With the perfect conditions and lower water in the lower stretches of the main River over the weekend, this is where the best fishing was. With the water levels rising every day this week, anglers are now enjoying good fishing throughout the entire main river system, the Renous and the lower stretches of the Cains. Overall, the most positive thing we have taken from summer fishing so far - even though we are catching and seeing many big Salmon (including some 30+ lb'ers) - is the great number of Grilse in the system - something we have not seen for a couple of years.
With the water still rising, fishing will probably slow down for a couple of days but with the large number of fish in the system, fishing should improve daily as the water falls, especially on the smaller tributaries. Most productive flies this week have been the #8 and #10 Undertaker during the low water, and #4, and #6 White Tail Green Machine after the rise.
Every year is different! With the numbers of returning fish in the system, some years are great and some not so great due to lower returns and sometimes more to do with the not-so-accurate counting systems on the rivers
that can increase or decrease the numbers. The overall number counts vary by conditions more than the actual fish numbers. In good conditions the counters might be kept in place for an entire season, making for a good yearly count. In other years, the counts might not be as accurate due to high water or net removals due to floating debris - sometimes during the best times for returning fish like during the flood of July 2014. But overall, the
counters give as good an indication as possible for the returning numbers from year to year. It is believed that approximately 7-10 percent of the fish moving though the system go through the counters each day depending on conditions.
Here is a photo of a 34 Lb+ salmon landed in Upper Blackville Wednesday by Tim Vickers and this fish has a story!
This fish had a tag. It was tagged at the Millerton Counter in August 2013 and probably returned to the Sea in the spring of 2014 to return again in July 2015.
( With the short time it spends at sea, this Salmon is called a Consecutive Repeat Spawner. These Salmon are good for the River System. )
There is so much yet to learn about the wild Atlantic Salmon, including their life at sea. Why they return in greater numbers in some years but not others and often in years and times not predicted by the DFO and other
Scientific Predictions, remains a mystery. For anyone interested in helping the cause of the wild Atlantic Salmon, the Miramichi Salmon Association and the Atlantic Salmon Federation are both great organizations to support.
Even though there is so much yet to learn about the wild Atlantic Salmon and only so much information available from studies, books and biologists, it seems to me that every year is different and I will never figure them out. But a good place to start learning is by spending time with some of the older and more experienced guides on the river as some of them have forgotten more about the river and the Salmon than what you might ever learn from all the studies that have been made. Every Atlantic Salmon angler who fishes the Miramichi should spend at least one day on the river with one of the true and genuine generations of guides, such as Wesley Curtis, Ernest Long, Vince Swazey, Pete Randall or Gary Colford. As an outfitter who has been studying the river and Salmon every day for over 15 years, I have discovered that every day provides a new experience as I am always learning! Some of my nicest memories from before my time on the river have been told to me by older locals and guides and even guests who have been returning to the River for generations.
Gary Colford has been guiding for us here at Country Haven since 2007, with 50 years of guiding experience, Gary started at Wades Fishing Lodge at only 15 years of age. There is not much Gary has not seen or knows when it comes to Atlantic Salmon Fishing on the Miramichi, especially concerning past conditions, high or low water, years of good or years of poor fishing or banner years of returns in the 60's with the following year full of rumours about closing the river due to low returns. Low water river reports are now a concern but Gary remembers water levels close to 2 ft lower than levels fell during the past few seasons. Overall, what amazes me the most about Gary's knowledge of the river is with his fish predictions from year to year. With the lower numbers of returns reported last year, Gary kept suggesting we should get ready for this year - even though it's still early in the season - but as of now it's looking like Gary is correct once again. Of all the concerns for the future of the Atlantic Salmon on the Miramichi, there are many that Gary shares concerns over! Even though the Striped Bass has been in the system for years, the high numbers we are now experiencing are the biggest threat to the Atlantic Salmon on the Miramichi. I am starting to think that the DFO should spend some time on the river talking to locals and these older guides! They just possibly could learn more about the River and the Salmon.
For those of you who have not met Gary, here is a link to the video of Gary & the River.
As of today, all the cold water locations the DFO closed on Tuesday have now reopened as the water is again at a good temperature. Congratulations to the DFO for reopening them in a timely manner when
conditions improved. Let's hope the DFO and the Media do as good a job reporting the reopening as they did with
the closures. Today was another good day on the Lower Main River System with lots of fish and some nice fish landed.
20 years of fishing the Miramichi for these NY Boys
Ken doing what he does best
The news on the river this week has been more about the cold water pools D.F.O. has closed until conditions improve, as the hot weather this week brought
water temperatures up into the high 70's by Tuesday. With cooler temperatures - as low as 46 F last night - and a bit of rain on Wednesday, water temperatures have again dropped to 64 F this morning - great conditions for fishing the Miramich. Even though water temperatures should remain low into the weekend, next week's forecast is looking good with over an inch of rain expected early in the week. With cooler water temperatures, the D.F.O. will probably open up the cold water areas once the water temperatures remain constantly cool for 72 hrs. The decision to close some spots is based on water temperatures in Doaktown remaining at 68F or above for 48 Hrs. The closure of these cold water locations does not affect much of the fishing on the river system as only approximately 5 percent of fishing throughout the river is impacted leaving approximately 95 percent of the river still open to fishing. The Miramichi River System is the warmest Atlantic Salmon river in the world, after all, so we should expect these closures from time to time. With the cooler water we had a good run of both Salmon and Grilse moving into the system yesterday with some nice fish landed throughout the lower stretches of the system. The Millerton Counter has been reporting high numbers throughout all of July and results have been consistent with the number of fish we are seeing. Even with the warm water over the past weekend, the counter had the highest consistent four days (Friday through Wednesday) of fish moving up the system this year. If these numbers of fish keep coming and the water keeps cooling, it looks like some of our best summer fishing could occur over the next couple of weeks! Flies of choice this week have been the #8 Undertaker, #8 Highlander and #8 Blue Charm.
Andrew with a fresh grilse
Nancy Moy getting it done
The best young double handed Caster on the Miramichi, Zac Colford
Taking a private lesson from one of the best.
Fish, fish & more fish are all we have seen since the later part of June - a very positive outlook for fish numbers so far this summer season.
Having good numbers of fish in the system is always the key ingredient for good fishing however, conditions also play a big part and with the warmer weather we have experienced since Monday, fishing has been slowing down. With high numbers of big Salmon in June, it is also encouraging to see high numbers of Grilse in the system. This is the first time in a couple of seasons that we are seeing more Grilse than Salmon.
As for water levels, some of the upriver pools on the main river are getting low. The Cains and Renous rivers are dropping too low for good fishing. So far, the Cains has not seen any great numbers of fish to speak of, as it's a "later" river, but with a rise in water levels, many of the fish presently holding at Black Brook are now Cains River bound. Some of the pools on the lower stretches of the river are only now becoming fishable, as they need low water and some of them never get too low for good fishing. The Coughlan, Orr, Mountain Channel and Ted Williams pools can drop a bit more to have improved fishing. So far, in these pools, fish have not been holding but merely traveling through, even with the warmer water. Our anglers have been getting the best results fishing pools closest to the tidal waters as every tide has been bringing in fish. We do need rain or cooler weather to improve fishing and it looks like we may get these improved conditions next week. Flies of Choice this week have been the #10 Undertaker and #8-#10 Blue Charm. As always, Andrew Moy and crew from Tight Lines Fly Shop from New Jersey hosted some great clinics in double handed fishing - one of the best instruction teams for sure.
Ernst & Young annual corporate event
Salmon landed by Ivan Toner, Bedford NS
Andrew Munn, Halifax NS 1st of 4 for the day
Ian Cavanagh releasing his 1st summer Salmon
The Summer fishing season on the Miramichi "came in like a Lion" so let's hope it "goes out like a Lion" as well in October - a good start and a good finish! Reports from all the rivers have been quite positive, with good numbers of fish around and some nice catches as well with 16 hook ups and 10 landed on Thursday. We also had the first summer fishermen limiting out this week. Andrew Munn from Halifax landed four on a #8 White Tail Shady Lady. With the majority of the fish landed so far on the River being Salmon - which is normal in June - we also started landing some Grilse by Thursday and over the weekend. Since early last week, we have seen some good numbers of fish moving up the system daily. It sure looks good seeing so many fresh fish entering the system in June, but again, with June fish, it has a lot to do with timing - being in the right place at the right time is everything! The most productive flies this week have been the #6 Blue Charm, #6 Undertaker and #8 Shady Lady.
On the Miramichi there are a couple of weeks between the spring Salmon season and the summer runs where the time is spent mainly on Trout fishing or, in the last couple of years, Striped Bass fishing. Every year can be different as there are no set dates for the summer runs to arrive from the sea. In past years we have had excellent success as early as June 7th but in other years, not until the last week of June before having any success. One good day does not guarantee success the following days as these early run Salmon are travelers - some traveling up to 20 kilometers a day. These Salmon are the most challenging as it's hard to know where they will be at any given time. The guides fish the pools by
the tides - sometimes moving from downriver pools to upriver pools - depending on the tides. Sometime it's more a case of being in the right place at the right time and more luck than skill. But one thing is for sure - every time an angler lands one of these June beauties, the fight and the fish is always worth the effort.
With our summer season now getting under way, reports from the Gaspreau fishermen downriver so far have been very positive as they have been releasing more salmon from their nets than they have done in quite a while. Canoers on the Dungarvon have been seeing fish now for a couple of weeks. Fishermen who have been doing canoeing and fishing Day Trips on the Nor'west are picking up some nice salmon. Also, there have been reports of Salmon landed on the Sevogal, Renous and some beauties on the Main Southwest Miramichi River system. So... we are starting our Summer season full of optimism for a good season to come.
Above are photos of a few Salmon landed on the System over the past week by Chris Losier, Bob Bowser and Rodney Colford. Chris & Bob's fish were landed on Wet flies. Rodney landed his yesterday using a Blue Bomber. Flies of choice for these early run Salmon were #4, #6 under normal June water conditions. With a bit of rain throughout the week along with cool water tempetures, more fish have been entering the system daily so find a good location on the river and brace your feet.
Larissa Bryenton, 1st Atlantic Salmon, May 18th
Girls in the kitchen
Robert & Eric Hollenberg, Dundas Ont.
Jeremy with a real beauty!
Our Spring fishing season came to an end on Sunday - approximately a month since starting day this year due to a late ice out. But overall, it was a much better spring than anyone had expected after the late start and low DFO number count reports.
After a month on the water, guests had 4 days where over 100 Salmon & Grilse were landed, 5 days where over 50 fish were landed and 7 days where over 30 were landed! All other days of the month there were some fish landed every day from start through Friday with approximately 1000+ total landings for the month. After speaking with our guides and many long-time returning guests, this spring was as good as most and probably as consistent a producing spring as we have had in quite a while - and can only be described as another successful spring. The reason for the good fishing may have been due to no great water rises to speak of, or the fish moving down daily, or just more fish arriving than was expected. Another positive aspect of the good season was the high number of big female spawners in the system and the large numbers of big salmon overall. On the negative side, once again this spring had low numbers of Grilse in the system. Over the past five years we have seen a complete reversal of the Salmon to Grilse ratio on the river. This is good for the fishermen but who knows what it really means for the river in the long run! After the Salmon & Trout fishing slowed toward the end of the week, anglers enjoyed some great Striped Bass fishing to finish out the spring as our boats - with 2 to 3 fishermen per guide - landed approximately 100 Stripers per boat each day over the weekend. But even though it's fun, some fishermen tell us they would sooner fish all day for one Salmon than land over 100 Striped Bass.
Every year people ask us what the best times of the year are for the best fishing and the longer time goes by, it seems like the less we know about it as every year and season are so different. After another spring season, however, the only thing we do know for sure is that there were many more Salmon entering the Main River system than were counted, probably during the flood in July when the counter was damaged, or other times when it
was removed due to high water and debris, and definitely after its final removal last year on October 16th. We hope the conditions will be better this year for both returning fish and fishermen over the remainder of the season as we will now be turning our attention to summer fishing as we wait for the fresh runs of June Salmon that could arrive any day. If history and statistics mean anything, then 2015 is the "cycle year" for good returns 2011 to 2015. We will also spend some time on the Cains River fly fishing for Sea Trout, which is great fun using light weight tackle. For anyone interested in Striped Bass fishing, there are miles of fishable water with a number of boat ramps and from May 29-31st there is Atlantic Canada’s premier Striped Bass fishing tournament taking place nearby in Miramichi. For more information, see miramichistripercup.ca .
Some Atlantic Salmon fishermen find it sad hosting the Striper cup on one of the most famous Atlantic Salmon rivers but there are lots of Bass, lots of prizes, and lots of fun to be had. Do remember, as the popular vehicle bumper sticker reads "Keep a Striper-Save a Smolt"!
Every season we look back and remember the good times and stories and with over 100 guests from around the world visiting us this spring, it was another great one for memories as 90% were returning guests and over the years, so many are now like family - having watched our youngsters grow up from kids to having them now guiding
on the river, and from once teaching the boys to tie flies and knots to now needing it done for them - as they had taught them many years ago - as their eyesights are now not like they used to be.
Every day is a story and there are so many good ones, but each spring we have a chuckle with a group that has been coming to the Miramichi annually since 1967 as they fished with a number of other - now closed - lodges in the past before coming with us. 13 years ago we had a lodge owner call, telling us he was closing and that he had a group of older gentlemen who had fished with him for years and who were now looking for a good place to fish. They were nice fellows and were getting up there in years but we might get them for a couple of years. They are still laughing about this now, 13 years later, as some of them are now in their 80'S & 90's and still catching
Another memory started this spring is of 14 year old Quinn Cavanagh who arrived from Halifax in search of his first Atlantic Salmon. History and stories had created a family tradition of catching an Atlantic Salmon on the
Miramichi as his great grandfather Lewis Brown was camp manager at Rocky Brook Camp from 1960-1969. His Grandfather and his father, Ian, landed Salmon on the Miramichi in the Doaktown area and this trip was his turn as he had lost some beauties over the last couple of years - but this day, with guide Gary Colford, he would have made his ancestors proud as he landed his first Atlantic on the Miramichi. We're not sure who was happier, Quinn , his Dad Ian, or guide Gary. We take such pride in having some of the best guides on the river and they all have unique differences, but one of Gary's many qualities, after guiding for 50 years and after landing thousands of salmon, is that he still gets as excited as the guests when they land their first Salmon.
Almost everyone knows of the great baseball player Ted Williams. Ted spent so many summers here, fishing Salmon on the Miramichi. How he loved the fight of the Atlantic and the solitude many locals gave him as we were hockey fans and did not care much about baseball. The nice stories of the great duo - Ted and his longtime guide Roy Curtis - made over the years, including one of the best traditions on the Miramichi - all of Roy's six sons are still actively guiding on the Miramichi River after so many years. Every so often a Ted Williams fan will show up to go fishing, with stories of Ted and baseball, but here is a different story - one of a side some may or may not have known about Ted as a person and an angler. Guide Ken Vickers tells us the story many times, of him being 12 and down at the river fishing with his brother's rod when Ted saw him, thought he was doing ok casting and then gave him a brand new Shakespeare autographed rod and reel which Ken still has today! Ted was right, as Ken is one of the best single-handed casters on the Miramichi River today.
Throughout the winter months we are sometimes lucky enough to spend time in the Florida Keys fishing and vacationing. We have seen Ted's place in Islamorada, where he enjoyed his winter fishing, a number of times. We enjoy listening to stories at places like Buds & Mary's, from guides who knew him. In January this year, at a local shop, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow full of fishing stories about Ted and his dad. Ted's
family and his family all enjoyed the memories and if you did not know better, you would think you were listening to one of the Curtis family members talking about Ted and fishing, and like Ken, Ted had given him his first fly rod that he still cherishes today.
After an airport pickup this spring we met Lodge owner Shawn Leadon from the Bahamas Andros Island. Shawn was coming to fish Atlantics for the very first time, accompanied by a friend who has visited with us many times. During the drive to the lodge we heard about his many interesting stories, his love for fly fishing and a guy by the name of Ted Williams who had fished for years with his Dad on the Island. Once again, same stories of a great fishermen with a big heart but different families with similar memories, and yes, Ted gave Shawn his first fly rod because he thought he had potential! Once again, Ted was right about his casting as today Shawn is one of the best there is! After visiting Ted's Camp on the Miramichi and after going through the guest book 20 years later it was nice for Shawn to see his dad's name written there. When Shawn came to the Miramichi he never knew Ted or that his Dad was here and thought he might have been the only kid Ted Williams had given a fly rod to! In the world of fly fishing we all come together and on the Miramichi, every day is a story with many stories having happy endings. If anyone is interested in visiting Andros Island and fishing with Shawn for Bonefish, Tarpon or getting permits then visit androsoutdooradventures.com.
Shawn Leadon and Art Mesher
Shawn Leadon & Ken Vickers
Adam Curtis - nice Trout
Olivia Donahue and her Striped Bass
Keffer Pitfield, Toronto Ont
Colin Fisher, Toronto Ont
This has been a week where spring fishing was as it should be. Even though numbers of fish landed were not as high as in previous weeks, the nicer weather and ideal water conditions for casting made up for it and anglers had good success landing Salmon and Grilse throughout 50 Miles of the River, with the better fishing occurring in the stretch between Blackville and Quarryville, also we had some of the best trout fishing in years occurring between White Rapids and Quarryville. This past week was also the first time this spring that the fish started moving out and on Monday and Tuesday, what a sight it was to see hundreds of jumping Salmon and Grilse between Upper Blackville and Quarryville - one of the best couple of days in a while for watching jumping spring Salmon. It was a nice sight to see after not seeing many during last summer as most Salmon arrived later in the season or during high water conditions.
After three weeks of spring fishing we now know the fish did arrive in much greater numbers than DFO figures indicated. With water levels remaining at a good height for boating, fishermen should continue to land
some spring Salmon into this coming week, along with some nice trout in the lower stretch of the Main River System as well as Striped Bass in the tidal waters. Only Fly fishing is permitted for Salmon and Trout but other methods can be used for catching Striped Bass however stripping Bomber flies across the surface is still the
most rewarding method for hooking Stripers.
Most fishermen now adhere to a hook-and-release-only policy for most species but on the
Miramichi - famous for its Atlantic Salmon - many believe in "hook and cook" when it comes to Stripers, as a new bumper sticker available in the Area reads, "Keep a Striper - Save a Smolt". So... anglers should get out on the water as there is still lots of good spring fishing remaining on the Miramichi for a while yet. This week floating lines or floating lines with sinking tips are working best when casting for Salmon and Trout but some anglers are still using full sink lines when trolling in the tidal waters. Best fly this week has been the 2/0 Gray Ghost for Trout and Salmon.
Aaron Kroeker, St. Davids Ontario
Father & son Ian & Quinn Cavanaugh, Halifax NS
Gino DeBurra, Poland ME
Lobster Season now open. Mmmm...
Overall this has been quite a good week on the water but with such warm weather early in the week, the water levels rose and made for a couple of slow fishing days mid week. Even with the less-than-perfect water conditions, the large number of fish in the system made for some good fishing as almost all of our guests landed fish daily, with one guest limiting out on 4 of his 5 days with 10 landed per day. With the water levels falling by the weekend, some anglers started using lighter lines and smaller flies. On a positive note, the entire Main Southwest Miramichi River system is producing well overall, as fishermen are still landing fish in Boistown, Doaktown, Blackville and Millerton - approximately 50 kilometers/30 miles of Salmon fishing river. We had another week of large fish being caught as the ratio of Salmon to Grilse has been 75% large Salmon compared to 25% Grilse - good for the anglers but possibly not so good for the longterm future of the River - however fishermen are really enjoying it for now.
Our Trout fishermen have been landing some nice 20in+ fish in the faster water of White Rapids and in the Tidal waters. Flies of choice this week have been theBlack Ghost, Magog Smelt for Salmon and Gray Ghost for Trout. The real Smelts have now moved up into our stretch of the river making competition for the fishermen but great feeding for the Salmon, Trout and guests at the lodges. Lobster season has also opened so life is good on the Miramichi.
Andy Lispky, Cumberland RI
Roger Lailey, Newbury England
Larry Brown, Haymarket PA
Bill Moor, PA
With the late start to our season we were hoping for nice weather and good fishing for much of the spring season since we had great fishing in the
first couple of days in the season - it really looked promising! Although the fishing remained quite consistent, the weather for much of last week was something to be desired, with rain almost every day and below normal
temperatures up until Friday, making it tough for anglers to really enjoy themselves - even on days when the fishing was good. All of our guests did land nice salmon this week - some 40+ inches - including a 47 inch'er by guide Gary Colford and his guest Bill Moor from Pennsylvania - despite the weather. Warm weather moved in on Friday
and fishermen enjoyed temperatures in the 70's over the weekend, making it a great time to be on the water.
Trout season opened on May 1st and fishermen are catching some nice trout this year. With the water levels
staying high and cold, it's too soon to know for sure how many fish are in the system as most are being caught close to shore and so far in the season it is looking like there is no shortage of big salmon. With warmer weather and falling water the fish should start moving more, making for increased hook ups while casting. Anglers were still using full sinking lines and 5/0 streamer's over weekend.
Early season anglers
Bill Mather, Elgin Ontario
Nathan Mesher's beauty
Country Haven Cardinal
Finally, after one of the longest winters in years and slow ice-out conditions, anglers managed to get out on the water on Sunday. "All good things come to those who wait" and for fishermen who were lucky enough to have yesterday as their starting date, they enjoyed some great success as almost everyone limited out - once again, another season opening day with over 100 Grilse & Salmon being landed. After talking to other lodges and anglers who fished on the river from Boiestown to Quarryville yesterday, reports were very positive, with close to 1,000 Salmon & Grilse being landed on the main
Southwest Miramichi System for a good start to the 2015 fishing season. It seems like each year it's a different fly that's most productive to start the season and this year it was our very own Country Haven Cardinal that was producing the best. However, with rain in the forecast, fishing might slow down for a bit over the next few days - depending, of course, on how high the water rises. The first Salmon of the season for us this year was a tie as Bill Mather from Elgin Ontario and Art Mesher from Waterloo both landed Salmon at 8.10 AM. Nathan Mesher landed the largest Salmon on opening day. With the delayed start to the season this spring, fishermen are expecting to have good spring fishing late into May for Salmon and Trout as well as Striped Bass later in May to early June.
YEAR 2014 River Reports
(Many of the Atlantic Salmon rivers around the world experienced lower
numbers of returning salmon & grilse in 2014 including the Miramichi River
system. However, overall numbers for the Main Southwest Miramichi at the Millerton
Counter saw an increase in Salmon & Grilse compared to 2013 results, including a higher number of returns than 5 previous years out of the last 16 years on record for the Millerton counter. This adds a positive note to returns on our stretch of river, considering the negative reports being issued throughout the
Atlantic Salmon world in 2014.)
2014 count returns for Salmon & Grilse for the Main Southwest Miramichi river.
The 2014 counts are in for the Millerton trap net as of October 15th 2014.
2014 returns - 743 Grilse, 568 large Salmon
( 2013 returns - 466 grilse, 377 large Salmon )
These numbers are estimated to represent approximately 10% of the actual numbers of fish going through the counters. Based on this, the actual numbers of Grilse could be 7,430 and large Salmon 5,680 for a total of 13,110 for 2014. In 2013 the actual numbers were 4,660 Grilse and 3770 Salmon totalling 8,430. That's approximately an increase of 4,680 over 2013! There are so many factors in determining the actual numbers from year to year. The numbers for 2014 could actually be higher as in the early part of the season, the counters were removed after the hurricane and became more accurate during September and October when we had low water conditions - more like traditional conditions for the lower stretches of the river - without any counter interruptions. The 2013 count could also have been higher as the river received a number of rises, especially in August, resulting in a number of occasions where net counter removals were needed due to grass and floating debris. With rises of water that normally bring in fresh fish to most rivers in the world, if counters are not operating at the time, it is always hard to know the true numbers for that year. The only thing we know for sure is that there were more fish in the system in 2014 than some of the reports might suggest and if anyone didn’t at least see as many fish than they did over the past 5 years on the lower stretches of the Main River System during most of September and early October, and on the Cains in October, then they were probably not on the River. All this should make for a pretty good Spring Season in 2015.
Jeff Dow, Paxton MA
Doug Slink landing Salmon on the Cains (Anglers Adventures)
Thomas Hansen, Elsworth Maine Fall Hookbill
Ray Ziener, Connecticut Cains River
April Vokey, BC, with an Atlantic Salmon
Garry Colford releasing April's Salmon
Although there still are a few fresh fish arriving in the lower main river system each day, most of the final week of the 2014 fishing season was spent on the tributary of the Cains River as it was the most productive location to finish off this year's season. Using three locations on the Cains, anglers managed to land some nice Salmon right up until closing day. We enjoyed finishing out the season with our regular returning guests. It was also a treat to open and close out our 2014 season hosting April Vokey as she filmed "Shorelines", a WFN Series with VP Media House which will be airing in January 2015. This week, almost all of our guests landed fish, including April and company. Our guided Canoeing Fishing Day Trips on the Cains, with shore lunch, are always days to remember. Overall, with beautiful weather, fish and great people, what better way to end the season! The most productive flies this week were the #8 Short Hair Undertaker and Black Marabou Leech.
More photos from the 2014 fishing season
April Vokey and Jennifer de Graaf
Canoeing the Cains
April Vokey Topher Browne and Byron final day of the 2014 season on the
April Vokey holding a fish
Serge and Gary with fish
With the 2014 Fishing season now in the books, here at Country Haven it could be described as the Good, the Bad and the Ugly! The good being that many of our fishermen landed fish throughout August, September and October. The Bad being the slow start to the summer season in June and the heat wave in July. And the Ugly being the hurricane in July that raised the water 12 feet and took any July fish that were in the system up to the headwaters. However, looking back - like they say - a poor start makes for a good end and the fall fishing this year sure made up for the poor start as for over a month, fresh fish arrived daily with some good numbers in September and October and with the good conditions on the lower stretches of the Main river, we experienced some of our best fall fishing on the main river in 5 years. It wasn't as good a season as 2013 or definitely not as good as 2011, but overall, a better season than 2012. Call it luck, good location, or right place - right time because as it turned out, it was another successful fishing season on the Miramichi, with over 400 returning
guests from every province, 31 US states and 12 different countries.
Not everyone landed fish - especially in the early part of the summer with the poor conditions and lack of returning fish. We feel bad for each and every one who did not have success but very happy for everyone that did, and we hope that all those who visited with us in 2014 left with fond memories of the Miramichi. From all of us here at Country Haven Miramichi we would like to say "Thanks" for helping us make 2014 as big a success as it was and we look forward to seeing each and every one again in 2015.
Jody Plonski, Middletown NY Cains River Salmon
Walt Plonski, Seatle WA Cains River
Wade Evans, Clifton Forge VA Cains River
Doug Slink, Old Lyme, CT (Angler's Adventures) Cains River
With a bump in water levels this week many of the holding fish in the lower stretches of the river moved on, making for some good fishing in the upper
stretches of the Main, Nor'west and Cains rivers.
With our having access to three of the better pools on the Cains, in the fall it's a tough job to keep the guides away from the Cains, especially when the river is full of fish like it has been since August. Although we did land some fresh Salmon on the Main river system this week, the majority of the luck for anglers has been on the Cains. With some fishermen limiting out this week, Wade Evans enjoyed landing two 20 pounders in 45 minutes on Wednesday, topping off one of his better fall trips in years. Good weather and good fishing - what more could we ask for to finish off the remainder of the 2014 season on the Miramichi. Flies of choice this week were the #8 Short Hair Undertakers.
Charlie Mosher, Albuquerque NM
Ron Halick, Jersey City, NJ
Nancy Moy, NJ
Andrew Moy, Spey Clinic
Anyone who has not seen fish on the Miramichi this week must not have been fishing as almost all of the holding pools are full of fish and there are a good number of fresh fish arriving every day throughout the Main river. All of our guests hooked and landed fish this week with many big Salmon among them. Some of the pools on the lower stretches of the river have had the best fishing in the last 10 years. Dave Goulet, former owner of Classic & Custom Fly Shop in New Hartford CT, who has been fishing the Miramichi for the last 40 years, says he is happy he did not listen to some of the reports before he left home as this week he has been enjoying his best fishing in 10 years. Even though we are seeing and hooking a large number of fish, we expect fishing might even improve over the next few days following the 20 ml. (almost an inch) of rain we received yesterday. This might also help the Cains which doesn't need more fish but does need water.
East Coast Spey completed another successful week of Spey Clinics on the Miramichi with their anglers taking home some valuable tips on casting along with fond memories of salmon landed. Every week throughout the season there are so many special moments but this week's moment goes to Charlie Mosher from New Mexico who has been fishing with us annually since landing his first Atlantic Salmon on his 80th birthday in 2009. In every year since then, Charlie has not been skunked and he thought that might happen this year, however on his 3rd day on one of his last casts, he hooked a 15lb salmon as his 85th birthday gift. His long trip back to Albuquerque will now seem shorter.
With current conditions we are still having the best luck using smaller flies like #14 Undertaker and Bear Hair. Doug Slink from Anglers Adventures landed two yesterday - one in the evening on a
#16 Allie Cascade. So anglers must use low water techniques for now but the rain yesterday might change that a bit - we'll see! Tight lines.
Anthony Stuart, Pontyates Wales
Bryan Martin, Devon England
Brian Warrington's casting Clinic
Andrew Done, Leysin Switzerland
Nova Scotia Doctors retreat
Fish, fish, fish and more fish have been what fishermen have seen for most of last week as quite a few fresh fish entered the system each day however with some of the nicest beach weather throughout most of the week, catches were nowhere close to what they should have been considering the large number of fish in the system. On Sunday, Gary Berenstine from MA landed four on #8 wet flies but by mid week all the fish being landed were on small #14-16 wets. The water conditions are excellent on the lower stretches of the main river system as the lower it gets, the better the fish hold. Water levels are quite low for the rest of the system but but with the cooler water, these fall fish will still travel to the upriver locations and we are now seeing more fish in our upriver pools in the Doaktown and Blissfield areas than we have seen all summer. In the section of the river between the mouth of the Cains and mouth of the Renous we have seen the most fish in a number of years, due in part to the lower water levels and the fall run arriving at its normal time of September instead of August, like it did in the last couple of years. With fishing there are always excuses as to why the fishing may not be great and the excuse this week has not been the lack of fish but rather the sunny clear conditions. With cooler and cloudy weather yesterday, anglers had much better results than most days with the sunshine that we saw last week. With so many big fish in the system, a bit of rain to freshen things up would be just what the doctor ordered to finish off the season and we would probably have the best fishing of the season. It looks like there is not much rain in the forecast until next weekend so we are hoping for cloud cover and will continue using the smaller fly patterns for now.
Last week we hosted our 8th annual UK Spey Week with a large number of returning guests, great instructors and with this group, even when fishing is not the best, it's always one of the most enjoyable weeks of the season.
www.devonflyfishing.co.uk/miramichi.html. This coming week we will be holding our annual US Spey Week and we will again be hosting East Coast Spey from New Jersey with instructors Jody Plonski and Andrew Moy. www.tightlinesflyfishing.com . We expect another great week of fishing and clinics on the Miramichi.
We opened our 2014 summer fishing season in June hosting April Vokey and we will be finishing off the season with April as she will again be staying with us on the Miramichi during the final week of the season.
Flies of choice last week were #14-16 Undertakers, Orange or Red Butt Bear Hair, and #16 Black Bear with some anglers having luck using leaders as small as #6. It takes a bit of skill to land 20+ Lb. Salmon using 6 Lb. leaders but by using smaller flies it eliminates the big knot that would be in the eye of the hook, so the fly floats much nicer on the water. As always, every week our guides go "above-and-beyond" to provide the best chance for every guest to have success. With only 15 days remaining in the 2014 fishing season, there is no better time of year to be on the water and to find a pool with lots of fish and to enjoy the remainder of the season. Tight Lines.
Karl Arbogasd, Plains PA
Roger Lailey, Newbury England
Peter Cherry, Ann Arbour MI
Peter and Guide Gary Colford enjoying the moment
Carol Cherry, Ann Arbour MI Landing her 20lb Salmon
With another week of fall fishing in the books it's not all doom and gloom on the Miramichi, in fact, depending on who you talk to, you might hear quite the opposite. We feel very lucky to have had as much success as we have throughout most of the summer and fall so far. Even though it has not been the best of years, we have had worse! This week our anglers did manage to land 23 Salmon with 3 exceeding 25 lbs, 2 grilse, and we lost another 11 Salmon with fishermen seeing close to 1,000 jumping or rolling fish throughout the week. Everyone fishing from the mouth of the Cains to the Blackville bridge area this week have seen fish. It's music to our ears when guide Gary Colford says he has seen as many Salmon this week as he has in any week since 2011. Our best results came over the weekend or earlier in the week with a couple of slower days mid week. Overall, numbers of fish landed this week have not been as good as in some past years but most fishermen have been quite happy with the numbers of fish seen - if not hooked - and were amazed at the large size of some Salmon. The Renous is still too low as is much of the Cains. Although conditions are perfect for most of the lower stretches of the river, a couple of feet rise in water levels would help to improve fishing on the entire river. We are not sure what next week holds as not a lot of rain is in the forecast but we will keep our fingers crossed that the fish keep coming and start taking flies better. Flies of choice this week were the #8 Woof Woof, #8 Undertaker and the Black Bomber.
Peter Gubb, Hampshire, England Main river fish
Peter Gubb, Hampshire, England Cains river Salmon
Pippa Lloyd, Bath, England
Mike Parker,Johnstown NY Main river fish
The first week of September has seen a good number of fish in the lower Cains with anglers picking up fish on most days - many on Bombers and #8 & #10 wet flies - with a trickle of fresh fish arriving daily in the Main river system, right on time after the full moon and high tides. In the lower stretch of the river there has been a big push of fresh fish over the past three days in the lower stretch of the River and the water is at a good height for holding fish but with the cool conditions, they are travelling right through. Fishermen saw over 100 travelling fish in some of the pools yesterday, with many big salmon among them. The 8 salmon and 1 grilse we landed yesterday all had sea lice on them while the fish landed on the Cains did not. Flies of choice this week were the #4 Black Bomber on the Cains with #8 Undertakers and #6 Montreal on the Main river. Anyone sitting at home waiting for statistics from the counters to decide on when to go fishing have been missing some good fishing this week as most locals do not put much stock in the counters. We should also remember that the actual numbers from the counters are approximately 7 to 10% of the actual number of fish moving through - according to the DFO. All that matters is that there are lots of fresh fish in the system, conditions are ideal and water height is great for the lower river pools - especially from Blackville to Quarryville - with pools like the Orr Pool and home pool at Ted Williams White Birch lodge having the best water levels in years for the fall runs. However, water levels that are good for one stretch of the river may not always be good for other stretches of the river or tributaries and as of now, even though the lower stretch of the river is ideal, the upper stretches of the Main river, Cains and Renous could all use a couple of extra feet rise in water levels for better fall fishing. On the positive side - for the upper river lodges and pools where low water and the water temperatures are this good, the fall runs will travel through much lower water than the summer fish would to get to their destination. If all the fish we are seeing this week continue to move up the Main river then there should be some good fall fishing throughout the entire main river system.
Here at Country Haven we get 90% of our fishing guests returning throughout September and October because of our access to good private fall water from the Main, Cains, Renous and Nor'west rivers. As of now, our fall season is almost fully booked however we work very closely with a number of other local outfitters who may still have openings and whom we would be happy to recommend to anyone who has not yet made a booking.
With Atlantic Salmon fishing - and nobody knows for sure what can happen - it could be a good fall to be on the river if these fishing conditions continue. "Tight lines and listen to your guides"!
Guide Dan with a Cains River Salmon
Ladies do it best
Good Luck Kiss
Lobster time on the Miramichi
As September rolls in on the Miramichi, so do many returning friends and fishermen - many who have been coming to the Miramichi for as long as they can remember.
With reports of lower-than-normal returns for much of the season so far, everyone has an opinion. Some who are worried that the lower returns might last into the fall - but just can't stay away, and those that say the fish will come - if not in summer, then in the fall. With the latter in mind - even though we again did have better fishing in August than in July this year, we did not have the four big rises of water that we experienced last August. Those rises brought in a lot of fish that normally might have waited until September or October. So, without any major surprises like a flood or a heat wave, conditions are looking good for an old fashioned fall run. With the run traditionally starting around September 10th it is always a great time of year to be on the Miramichi river system. Even though the Main river is normally the most productive river in the system, Guide Gary Colford likes to spend the remainder of the season on the Cains, and Darryl Tucker will do the same on the Renous if conditions are right. One thing we do know for sure is that the Cains will certainly have fish!
Every week our fishing guests are made up of many great people from almost every walk-of-life from around the world. This past week we again enjoyed the company of Jim Buckmelter who returned again - for the 7th Year. What amazes me most about Jim, is his passion for Atlantic Salmon fishing. Each year he drives all the way from New Mexico to spend 3 months fishing for Atlantic Salmon at some of the best places in Eastern Canada. He started in Labrador in mid June, July in Newfoundland, August in Nova Scotia on the Margaree river and here, with us, on the Miramichi, then off to Quebec for much of September. Jim may be getting on in years but he is really enjoying the life that most Atlantic Salmon anglers can only dream of. Although this is not his best year of fishing, so far he has landed over 30 Grilse and Salmon with most fish landed in Labrador in June but he landed his largest fish and has seen more fish on the Miramichi and its tributaries in one week than he saw in all the other stops on his trip combined, so.. depending on whom you talk to, it's not all doom and gloom. Although this past week was not as productive as last week, there were still a good number of holding fish in pools in the lower stretches of the Main river and lower stretches of the Cains in pools that traditionally hold fish at this time of year, with a sprinkle of fresh fish arriving daily. Many of the anglers who put the time in on the water were rewarded including local guides Pete, landing 2 in his pool on a #10 Undertaker over the last couple of
days, and Jim Steves, landing 4 on an Orange Carter Bug Black Hackle. Anglers who were fishing stretches of the river between the mouth of the Cains and Blackville over the weekend - including the Brad Burns Campbell pool - saw the most fish of the season so far - approximately 100 on Sunday alone - so with the cooler and wet weather over the next few days and a bit of rain forecast for this coming weekend along with a bit of luck from the fish gods, we could have a great fall. Still... always remember two things that my uncle - who was a fishing guide - said a number of times over the years, "It's not the money you make, it's the money you save." and "It's not the fish that's gone by but the ones that's coming" that determines success. So "Tight lines" and Welcome to another fall of fishing on the Miramichi.
Photos of three of David Turberfields six fish landed in the past 3 days - 5 on a wet fly, 1 on a bomber.
Erin Manion, Delafield, Wisconsin
In the later part of last week we had fairly good dry fly fishing for holding fish. We were hoping this would continue but another big rain and a 6 foot rise in
water levels made us think that there might not be much fishing until later this week but with high dirty water and not a lot of wading pools being fishable, anglers that did fish from the river bank had good fishing on Sunday, Monday and yesterday on the lower stretch of the main river, where the high water brought a run of fresh fish into the system. There was also a bit of good news for the upper river fishermen for the upcoming
week and weekend as unlike the last couple of schools of fish that passed through our stretch of the river and then went up the Cains and Baltholomue rivers, these fish appeared to be Main river fish as yesterday, a good number of grilse were seen in the Upper Blackville area above the mouth of the Cains. However, when
water is this high, it is hard to know just how many fish are moving up because they travel all over the river -
especialy the big Salmon - and like so many other times over the past couple of seasons, these fish won't be
counted in the Millerton counter due to the fact that they remove the nets because of the high dirty water. It seems that for anyone wants to catch fish on the main river system they need to be fishing in every conditions as it changes daily and it's all about traveling fish and being in the "Right Place at the Right Time". Now that the water is falling and some wading pools are again becoming accessible, if these numbers continue, we could have some good fishing for quite a while. All of the fish hooked since Saturday have been on a #6 LT Special until last evening at least when David Tuberfield from Connecticut landed 2 nice Salmon using a #4 Christmas Tree. There still is high water on the Main river and the guides have been watching some nice Salmon moving upriver past the lodge all morning. If these fish that we are seeing continue up the Main River System - with the water a bit lower in the upper stretches of the river - it should be a good time to be on the water in the Doaktown and above areas - especially over the weekend.
Bob Bowser from Moncton caught a nice Grilse in Pete's pool Thursday evening when this big Bald Eagle decided to give him a fight for it. We are not sure if this means that they are scarce or that it just looked good to him! Bob is a "hook and release" guy so he released the fish - the Eagle probably did not approve. Click on the photo for a larger view
Jezkava Bowen, Kingston ONT
Steven Scott, Fredericton, NB
United Rentals Group
Did someone say this was an "up and down" season, or what! Last week, the first few days saw a lot of fish holding in some of the pools and as a result there was good fishing, but a two foot rise in water made Thursday and Friday very tough fishing days. However, by Saturday evening, a splash of fresh fish started moving into the Main River system again so some anglers had decent fishing on Sunday and Monday on the Main river and on Tuesday and yesterday on the Cains. Some of the fish
landed over the weekend were 'hook bills' with sea lice. The flies of choice have been #8 Undertaker for Main River fishing and #10 Whiskers and #6 Peach Carter bugs on the Cains. Water temperatures are great and levels are falling to a good height for our low-water pools on the lower stretch of the river. The Lower Cains is still a good height and the Renous is now a bit too low but they are not being fished much as of now in any event. The weather forecast is calling for more rain tonight and tomorrow so we are hoping it will not be too much for our stretch of the river. August is always one of the best months for dry fly fishing and this week was no exception as all the fish we landed were hooked on dry flies. Some anglers who return each year from places like Ireland and Scotland, that come in August, say that rolling 10-12 fish a day using dry flies - even without landing any fish on some days - can be as much or more fun than landing fish on a wet fly back home, where salmon seldom take dry flies. Anyway, again this year, so far, our anglers have been doing better in August than they did in July so we are hoping this trend continues.
Neighbour Peter Clark
Johnathan Ingram, Edmonton Alta, 1st Salmon
We have had great conditions and some decent fishing for anglers that were on the water this past week. There are not a lot of fresh fish entering the system but some of the holding pools that normally hold fish this time of year are looking great with hundreds of fish in a couple of them. With fish holding more, it gives fishermen a better chance as they can now go to the pools and know they will actually see fish instead of just trying to be "in the right place at the right time" as has been the case for much of the season so far. Neighbors' on the river - Peter and Sylvia Clark - had a great morning yesterday with both of them limiting out. Peter had 2 salmon and 2 grilse while Sylvia caught 4 grilse. 7 of the 8 fish were landed
on Peter's own #10 Burdock Dry Fly. They are two of the better anglers on the river with Peter being considered by many to be one of the best Trout fishermen in the province - especially on the Cains.
August is a good month for dry fly fishing and the #8 Green Whiskers has been working well for us this week.
We have had a bit of beginners luck this week as 12 year old Tyler Murdock, from Ottawa, landed his first Atlantic Salmon on Monday and 9 year old Johnathan Ingram, from Edmonton Alberta, landed his first Salmon on Wednesday.
Conditions on the Cains are good but water levels are rising a bit after the rains we had yesterday. The lower the Main river gets, the better it will be for us as long as the temperatures stay cool - we have a number of low water pools that we haven't had a chance to fish often due to higher-than-normal water levels over the past couple of seasons.
In any event, over the past few seasons, August has had better conditions than July and with conditions being so important to Atlantic Salmon fishing, we are hoping for good fishing to continue with the fish holding as they are and for more fresh fish arriving in larger numbers which would improve the fishing even more for the remainder of the season.
Fresh from the Sea
William Martin, Fayetteville AR
Ted Ramsaur, Cedar MT, NC
Showing how it's done
We have recently experienced a bump in water levels which has kept river temperatures cool. On Sunday there were 47 Grilse and 25 Salmon and on Monday, 20 Grilse and 17 Salmon passing through the Millerton counter- a better start this week than most recent weeks on the river. These numbers don't always seem to mean much as everything depends on conditions and they are based on approximately 7-10% of the actual fish that might be moving through the main river system. If we assume 10% is reasonable, this means there could be 720 fish on Sunday and 370 fish on Monday. These estimates are not great numbers compared to previous July counts but but on the bright side for the river, if not for the fishermen, we are seeing and catching more Grilse than Salmon this week. So often, including spring fishing, we see a ratio of 3 to 1 Salmon over Grilse, so seeing some of these fresh Grilse with sea lice has looked good to the guides. We hope this trend continues for a while and that these fish are part of the Grilse runs we normally catch earlier in July. Conditions are good for all rivers in the system, with better numbers of fish being seen in the lower stretches of the main river and the Cains. This week we have not seen as many fish on the main river above the mouth of the Cains which makes fishermen think that many of these fish may be heading into the Cains. We have not had a lot of success on the Renous so our anglers will continue to fish the lower pools on the main river and lower pools on the Cains as August arrives and we will hope for the same success we saw last August which turned out to be the most successful month of our 2013 summer fall fishing season. Over the years, on our stretch of the River, we have had some of the best fishing success in August, when fish tend to be plentiful. If water levels are high, the fish keep moving through so we catch them from shore - like much of last August - but in the lower stretches of the river when the water levels are low, fish tend to hold up more than they do in June and July, making for some great dry fly fishing. Anyway it's "goodbye" to 2014 June and July fishing so bring on August, September and October! Lately,#10 Undertaker and #10 Christmas Tree flies have been the most popular choice
David Baeza from Valladolid Spain
Jason Andalo West Roxbury
One of the Big Salmon Tyler Coughlan has been putting through the Counters
Jeremy with a beautiful Atlantic Salmon
With the high water conditions resulting from Hurricane Arthur last week, it seemed like the best place for fishing would be upriver as the anglers who were lucky enough to be fishing in Doaktown or above had the best luck from the run of fish that went through our area
during the high water the previous week. Depending on who you talked to on the river, some said it was the worst week ever, while others had good luck being in 'the right place at the right time'. Fishing Atlantic Salmon depends very much on conditions - even when there are good numbers in the system - so if numbers are below normal and poor conditions exist, it can make for tough fishing. Most of last week was again 'hit and miss' for most anglers on the river - including us - as we fished close to 20 pools throughout the week with our best luck being from the weekend on as the river is finally starting to look like a
salmon river once again as some of the better numbers coming through the counters are now reaching us. Most of the fresh fish that we are now catching are Grilse, even though there are a lot of big salmon going through the counters, such as the "fish of a lifetime" that Trout fishermen Jamie Heine of PA. hooked into on his first day of Salmon fishing on Monday - taking all his line, all his backing and almost his rod.
The water was starting to warm up a bit yesterday but the cooler weather and showers made for a great morning for fishing this morning. It has been such a crazy start to the fishing season this
year and it again reminds us how lucky we are to have what we consider to be the best group of guides on the river, because no matter what the conditions are, they never stop trying their best - each and every day - to put our guests on fish. Every day we see these results from the guests who might not have had the best
of luck on their fishing trip but still re-book again for next year - all wanting their same guides. Sometimes when fishing is not the best it makes us feel so lucky to be running an Atlantic Salmon lodge and not a different species lodge because Atlantic Salmon fishermen are undoubtably the very best. Some of our guests have been returning to the Miramichi for 50 years and have seen it both good and bad, and like a longtime Atlantic Salmon fishermen from the U.S. told us last week - "a bad day of fishing for Atlantics' is better than a
good day for all the other fish species combined! If you can get only one it is worth it." We suspect that is why true Atlantic Salmon fishermen stand out from all the rest. Rich or poor, professional or novice, on any given day everyone can be equal when it comes to fishing, especially for Atlantic Salmon. We are not sure what to predict for the coming week as conditions look promising on all the rivers we fish and there certainly are fish entering the system, but this year has been proof that we can be fooled. The flies that have worked best are #8 Christmas tree , Undertakers and a #10 New pattern Peacock Body Green Machine that Jenna Tucker just landed 3 grilse on.
Amber/Ernst & Young crew at Country Haven
Geoff Giffin playing an Atlantic Salmon Island pool
We've had a less-than-optimal start to our 2014 summer fishing season but are hoping that the worst is now behind us. We had a slower-than-normal start in June because of the lower numbers of returning fish - due in part to a later-than-normal spring. By late June, better numbers of fish started entering the system however a heat wave hit - a week of 100F weather - which brought fishing to a a quick halt. After the week of abnormal heat and everyone on the Miramichi doing a rain dance, we finally got our cooler weather and rain - all 150 ml./6" of it - in the form of a hurricane called Arthur, with a 10 foot rise in river levels which cooled the water. This brought in some nice fish that swam as fast as possible to get to the headwaters to avoid all the anglers. By mid week, with the water falling, fishermen again started landing fish on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We did not fish on Saturday and it turned out to be one of the better days in a while on the river. With the main river water still higher than normal, fishermen landed some fish yesterday on the lower stretches of the Cains and the Renous rivers.
So with improving conditions, everyone is hoping for much better summer fishing throughout the coming weeks. If the old saying "a poor start makes for a good end" proves true, come fall we will need to hide in our basements to avoid being run over by all the Salmon.
April Vokey, Chilliwack BC with the Country Haven crew
Wade Evans, Clifton Forge VA
Landed by April Vokey
The 2014 summer fishing season on the Miramichi has been under way now for over a week and the first week was nothing to write home about, however, the past three days have looked promising - probably as a result of the high numbers of fish that passed through the trap net near Chatham on Friday. 28 Salmon and 42 Grilse were counted. We all know that these counts are not always accurate as the numbers counted represent only 5-10 percent of the actual numbers of fish entering the system, but it suggests that there could have been between 700 to 1400 fresh fish entering the system on Friday. The days before and after Friday have seen lower numbers so it's tough to know the true numbers from these counters - so much depends on the conditions each day. High Water, low water, and sometimes, with very high water when fish like to travel the most due to dirt and debris in the rivers, these counters are sometimes not used for days. Overall however, it does give an idea of approximately how many fish are entering the system and on high number days we can usually see the results upriver within a few days with more fish sightings and hookups.
Since Sunday there have been higher numbers moving past our stretch of river. Yesterday, from noon into the
evening, we have seen the greatest numbers this year resulting in some nice salmon being hooked on both the Main
Southwest and the Renous rivers. Traditionally - with the exception of the Rockey Brook
Salmon that enter the Main River early June - the Main river summer season has always been the best from late June or early July on. In the past few years, however, some anglers have become spoiled with good fishing from early June on. This year, with a later spring and colder ocean water, many locals think the better fishing should be just starting.
Last week saw more Striped Bass hooked than Salmon and some of them were over three feet long. Taken on
#6 and #8 Salmon flies, some were hooked as far upriver as the Doaktown area. Stripers generally put up a so-so fight and are not quite as much fun to catch when you are fishing for Salmon. With the better daily numbers of Salmon we are now seeing and the water at a good height and temperature after a couple of rainy days, we are really looking forward to some good summer fishing over the next few weeks.
The fish we did land this week were landed on #6 White Wing, Butterflies and #6 Christmas Trees.
Our first 2014 Summer Fishing season Atlantic Salmon was landed by April Vokey. April and crew will be fishing with us again from October the 10th through the 15th.
Country Haven Miramichi
At Country Haven Miramichi, our Summer fishing season will
officially start tomorrow with great water temperatures - just a bit higher than
normal - and already, reports of a few nice Salmon and Grilse landed on the Norwest, Renous, Dungarvon and on the Main Southwest Miramichi.
With the higher water levels, on opening day, anglers will be fishing high water pools using larger wet fly patterns. Even though there are reports of some grilse already in the system, fishermen should expect
to land Salmon between approximately 17 to 22 lbs. for this time frame in June.
Among our guests this week we will be hosting April Vokey, Field Editor for Fly Fusion Magazine and an Avid Angler as well as Steelhead Salmon and Trout guide. (www.flygal.ca)
We get approximately 90% of returning guests annually and we all look forward to seeing each one again.
'Tight Lines' to everyone fishing the Miramichi this Summer and Fall. We hope you and the Miramichi have a great Season - from all of us here at Country Haven Miramichi.
If fishing the Miramichi this season. make sure to visit:
Steve and Nathan Morency Quebec City - Father & Son
Angus and Jackie Henderson Oakville Ontario - Father & Daughter
Even though there are quite a few Spring Salmon still working their way down through the system, not many anglers are fishing for them but the ones who did still
had some luck. A couple of fishermen from Maine landed Salmon each day in the morning, casting with floating lines, and also were successful with their bear hunts in the afternoon. Most anglers have now turned their attention to Trout fishing and to landing some of the big Striped Bass that are in the lower stretches of the river. With the water finally starting to warm up, this past week has seen some of the best and biggest Striped Bass of the spring being landed. Starting today, anglers can still fish for Stripers but hook and release only is now in effect until August. Flies of Choice this week have been the smaller streamer patterns - Gray Ghost, Black Ghost and Mickey Finns for Salmon, with Gray Ghost, Muddler Minnows and Woolly Buggers for Trout.
With the Spring Salmon season now all but over for another year, it turned out to be a much better one then most expected when around mid April, it looked like old man winter wasn't leaving. Even though it was one of the
coldest and wettest springs in history, the conditions made for a longer spring season by keeping the fish in the river longer. The downside was that with so much runoff, conditions were poorer with higher-than-normal water levels. Fishermen had some washout days with not many fish landed but when water started falling and good conditions returned, there were some very productive days, including 5 days where over 100 Salmon and Grilse were landed and 9 days where over 60 were landed for the Lodge. Overall, it was not as good as many springs in the past but the bright side was that poor days were due to conditions and never for a lack of fish. The good days were productive throughout the entire river system, making one believe that with the number of fishermen on the water who had caught their limit, there might have been a few days of approximately 2,000 landed for the day in the system. On the bright side for anglers, good numbers of large Salmon were landed - one of the best seasons in years for large Salmon. Approximately 70% of the fish landed this spring were Salmon - good for the anglers but with low numbers of Grilse it might not be so great for the river system. Many anglers suspect that the lower numbers of Grilse might be due to high numbers of Striped Bass calling the the Miramichi river system home over the past few years. Many think the Salmon Grilse run in three year cycles. If this is true, since 2011 was one of the best years since the 1960's therefore 2014, being the 3rd Year, could very well be another banner year for both returning Salmon and Grilse in the Miramichi.
With every season there always are a lot of returning guests and friends and great memories. There are too many to mention but with our specializing in Father Son/Daughter trips to the Miramichi, a few from the Spring stick out. A dedicated angler is Keith Bolt from Potsdam NY. Even though no one else in his family fishes, he loves it and enjoys fishing locations like the Miramichi so he talks his Dad, Erick, into flying their small plane here so he can fish and his dad can watch - much like any other sport but probably more fun. They always enjoy their trips here and we enjoy their company. There is also the case of seven year old Nathan Morency and his dad Steve from Quebec City, who returned for a second time this spring with Nathan landing 4 Salmon, all on his own. Nathan is starting out early and is one of the best at his young age.
Every year a number of lady anglers from around the world travel to fish in the Miramichi. Here are a few who had luck with us this spring;
Rene Karpiak, Edmonton Alberta
Jennifer Glasqow, Montreal Quebec
Amanda Poland, Labrador City NL
Jackie Henderson, Oakvile Ontario
Fabry Christy, Boothbay Harbour ME
Jeff Phinney, Moncton NB
Angus. Henderson. Oakville. Ontario
David Sirucke, Agatha Ontario
It's another great week to be on the Miramichi,
with nice weather and great fishing. Weeks like this make lodge owners wish all of their earlier guests, who did not always have the best of fishing luck due to poor conditions, could be here now. With the water falling to a good height for casting, anglers have also been catching some nice fish using floating lines and smaller
flies. Again this week, there still are a lot more big Salmon in the system than Grilse, with some dark Trout around and the lower stretch of river still full of Striped Bass. Even though there still are lots of spring Salmon in the system - and that should be the case for a while - they may probably become harder to catch as the
season continues due to lower and clearer water or they are feeding on Smelts, but we have to remember that after May 15th, summer rules apply so catch-and-release will be limited to 4 per day instead of the 10 allowed during spring salmon fishing. But there always is lots of Trout and Bass fishing after landing the four Salmon/Grilse daily limit. With the nice weather we are having, some of our fishermen are taking packed lunches and fishing around the lodge area for Salmon in the morning then after releasing the daily limit of Salmon, Trout fishing in White Rapids and finishing off the day with evening Striped Bass fishing in tidal waters. With 3 different species of fish around, it's always a great day had by all. The guides are calling it "Grand Slam Days". For Salmon fishing, the better flies are the Smelt patterns. For Trout fishing the Gray Ghost is working best and for Striped Bass fishing, well.. they take anything, maybe even the kitchen sink, but some fishermen are doing well using fly rods, skidding bombers across the water surface but unlike Salmon, they are more interested in skidding Bombers then floaters. It's a bit early for the Sea Run Trout but still a great time of year to be on the water for anyone interested in fishing. The fiddleheads are now up and they sure go well with a nice feed of fresh Miramichi Smelts or Striped Bass.
Dr. Phillip Moss. Saint John NB
Jeff Dow, Paxton MA
Jennifer Gasgow, Montreal Quebec
Miramichi River Guide Tyler
What a difference a week has made for Atlantic Salmon fishing on the Miramichi! Since Tuesday we have been enjoying some of the nicest weather and some of the most consistent fishing this year and after so many rainy days it's such a treat to have this nice weather. Earlier in the season, even though we had some very good fishing days, they always seemed to be followed by a couple of not-so-productive days due to a rise in water levels. This week, however, has been our most consistent weeks of the
spring fishing season with nice looking and good fighting Salmon. Again this week we have seen many more Salmon then Grilse in the System. The Blue Smelt, Maggot Smelt, and Miramichi Smelt have been the flies of choice this week.
With such good numbers of Salmon still in the system, and not moving a lot so far, It's looking like there
may be good spring Salmon fishing for quite a while yet. Combine that with good numbers of Trout in the system and the million or so Striped Bass in the lower stretches of the river and we can't think of a much better time to be on the Miramichi for anyone interested in fishing.
Double hitter, Art Mesher & Luigi Miceli Kitchener Ontario
Another good week for fish catching especially the first part of the week but fishing slowed down big time over the weekend due to a rise in water levels. It has occasionally been less than perfect weather this spring, with more rainy days than sunny ones, but we are having a good year for big spring salmon on the Miramichi. With any type of fishing, conditions play such a big part and it is no different with spring fishing as anglers have been limiting out on good condition days - sometimes before noon - but with days where water rises, they have been lucky to land any at all.
Once again, this week has seen great reports coming in from the entire river system. This week was
one of our best in years for big salmon with over 30 landed which measured over 40 inches, including a couple exceeding 48 inches - BIG salmon! 48 inch Salmon are seldom landed in summer even though they are in the river, as they are much more pickier at choosing a fly in the summer and fall than in the spring, also anglers tend to use heaver leaders in the spring so they don't break off as easy as in the rest of the season. Another good thing about the fishing this spring has been the high quality and great fighting nature of these Salmon. Again, the only negative so far has been the weather as all the rain has been making for poorer conditions, and that's tough with so many quality fish in the river. Another concern for the river overall is that even though the river is full of large Salmon, which is good for the fishermen, apparent low numbers of grilse in the system so far may not be good in the long term. So far this season, anglers have been landing 5 Salmon to every Grilse.
So far, as of today, May 5th, due to the late spring and colder and rainy conditions, the fish have not yet moved downriver so fishermen are expecting one of the longest spring seasons in years, with some of our best fishing still to come when they do start to move. There is warmer weather in the forecast for mid-week which should warm the water and get them started, so everyone is expecting another productive week on the Miramichi. This week, the most productive flies have been the Country Haven Cardinal, Christmas Tree and Golden Eagle.
Hockey Player/Fisherman Gregory Yoell, New Minus NS
Gino DeBurra, Poland ME
John Torgan, Providence RI
Andy Lipsky, Barrington RI
Even though this year it was a late start to the fishing season due to a longer winter, anglers have really been making up for it since opening
day. With the exception of Thursday and Friday, because of poorer conditions due of rain, fishermen have been limiting out almost daily, with our guests landing over 100 salmon and grilse on Sunday and again yesterday.
It has been many years since fishermen have landed so many big salmon on opening week - many were over 40 Inches. This is good news for the River and the people who are on the river and who really see how many fish are in the System. Most fishermen we have talked to from above Boisetown to below Quarryville - over a 60 km. stretch - have been limiting out at 10 fish a day this week when there were good river conditions. The most productive flies were "Christmas Tree", "Blue Smelt" and the popular "Country Haven Cardinal". The Trout and Striped Bass season opens on Thursday May 1st but with the great Salmon Fishing we are enjoying, there will probably not be as much interest in these for a while.
John Hoffman, Kitchener Ontario
Art Mesher, Waterloo Ontario
Tyler Coughlan, Gray Rapids, N.B.
As of this morning the river is looking great, with water levels falling daily and clearing up nicely. Yesterday was one of our better days on the river in a while with over 50 fish landed. It's funny how fast things can change, from Monday morning with ice floating again in the river and two days later with a river full of fish. Even better news is that two of the big ice jams upriver,
in Doaktown and Porter Cove, have now gone, making the river almost ice-free from Boistown to below Quarryville with only one more ice jam remaining at Norrads Bridge above Boistown. If the water continues to fall and continues to clean up then fishing should improve daily. Our anglers landed 10 Salmon on Monday but had very much better results yesterday. The only negative news is that the weatherman is calling for some rain on Wednesday and depending on how much we receive, that will determine if fishing will continue to improve or not. If water rises again because of a lot of rain then some of the ice we now have on the shore could get pulled back into the river. With rising water, fishing is not as good. The good news, as of now, is that fishing is looking great. The only question is how long this will last. As with any type of fishing the conditions form a big part of how much luck you have but one thing we are certain of is that there is a lot of good fishing to come this spring. The best Fly of the Day was the "Christmas Tree".
1st 2014 season Salmon, Art Mesher, Waterloo Ont.
Ice almost gone - time to fish
Upriver from Country Haven
On the Main Southwest Miramichi, much of the river is ice-free from Boisetown to Quarryville, the Cains and the Renous, but there are still a few ice jams, approximately a couple of miles in length, in and above Doaktown.
The river is starting to look very good this morning as it is now almost ice-free. Over most of the last few days there has been more ice passing in the evening than in the morning. The water has been dropping and clearing up daily. Throughout the rest of April, any time we get a rise in water could result in a bit of ice still running in the river as it will be picked up from the shore.
The few ice jams upriver will eventually leave with a rise in water or just melt away. Most of the time it does not create much of a problem by the time it travels down the river to our location but if going out boating at this time of year, it's always wise to keep an eye open for floating ice.
With the slow start in the season due to the late ice leaving, most anglers will be just getting started this week. A few of our fishermen fished this morning with Art Mesher from Waterloo Ontario landing the first salmon of the season. If the water continues to fall and with the later ice departure and higher numbers of fish in the system we should see some great spring fishing - probably some of the best May fishing we have seen in years. With these conditions, a heavy sink line and big streamer fly will work best.
Even though there should be more fish in the river this spring compared to last year, due to higher numbers of returning fish and the ice leaving later than many of the last few seasons, the excitement of opening day this year looks like it might need to be postponed. Much warmer temperatures are expected this week and next and with so much snow melting, we are hoping a sooner opening but it will probably occur sometime during the week of April 20th if these warmer conditions continue. The weather is so difficult to predict and a few degrees in temperature either way can make the difference. Today is the first day we have started seeing a bit of open water along the shores and there are no snowmobiles on the ice - which are both good signs spring might be coming. If anyone has a trip booked early and it does not work out this spring and your outfitter can rebook you into a later date - even in late May - this year, fishing might be good. When fishing is good in May we always enjoy it best as the weather can be warmer,the fish fatter after feeding on smelts and they take a fly better on a cast. A few dates stick out in our mind from past late springs where good May fishing occurred. Raymond Hill, from Virginia, who has fished with us for years, always fished on the 11-14th of May. Some years he limited out daily and in 2003, before daily limits were in place, he landed 74 fish in 4 days and the Lodge landed 60 on the 21st of May in another year. Every year is different but with this old fashioned winter and spring season we should have close to a month of good spring fishing after the ice leaves this year. The guides are getting anxious so let's hope it happens sooner than later!
YEAR 2013 River Reports
Jens Adamsen, Frederica, Denmark Main Southwest Miramichi Salmon
Tom Hansen, Beddington, Maine Nor'west Miramichi Salmon
Fred Goldburg, Olympia WA Cains River Salmon
Country Haven staff
This week Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday showed a big improvement from last week, with fishermen landing in a number of our pools and with some of the best luck we have had in a few weeks on the main river in the Upper Blackville Area. Early in the week the Nor'west was also producing well but another rise in water levels on Wednesday put the damper on any great fishing to finish off the season, as fishing slowed daily from mid week until closing day yesterday. There was not not a lot of holding or fresh fish in the Main River at week end and even though some of the tributaries like the Cains are full of fish they apparently have things on their mind other than a Darryl Tucker tied fly hook. `
Overall 2013 was a very good year for returning fish, even though on occasion the catching was not the best due to a week of hot weather in July and higher-than-normal water throughout much of the summer and fall. Our Spring season did not last as long as most years but it was a much better spring then many had predicted after the lower runs in 2012. Our first runs of summer Salmon arrived early and from late May until closing day there was always a chance of catching fish. This year was not as good as 2011 but much better then 2012. With so many fish arriving on the high water in August and early September, the fall fishing late in September and into October was a disappointment compared to past years. Many folks here believe there are still more fish to arrive, as has been the case over the past couple of seasons with fall runs of Salmon until mid November. With the exception of Spring fishing, our most productive days occurred in the last week of July and the best month this year was August.
For all of us here at Country Haven, it was again a great year with over 85% of previous guests returning - from 16 Countries, 42 U.S. States and every province in Canada. As each year passes, I am always amazed at just how many wonderful people there are in the fly fishing community - many travelling for days, from around the world each year to visit the Miramichi and fish for the wild Atlantic Salmon. As so many long-time salmon fishermen have told me, including Jens Adamsen from Denmark, who told me that he has fished almost every Atlantic Salmon river in the world and that Atlantic salmon are addictive - once you hook one you are hooked for life and you will travel anywhere to fish for them.
From all of us here at Country Haven we would like to say "thank you" to everyone who fished with us this season. We hope your stay with us was a memorable one and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2014.
sight fishing for Atlantic Salmon
Andrew Moy, Towaco NJ Main River Salmon
Ron Halick, Jersey City, NJ Cains River Salmon
Annual Spey Clinic 2013 with East Coast Spey
Andrew Moy Tightlines Fly Shop, NJ,
Lobster time on the Miramichi
This has been a very good week for weather and fishing conditions - better than most weeks since July - as water conditions improved daily throughout the week. Even with the great conditions this week there were not a lot of hookups - probably one of our slowest weeks ever for the first week of October. The Cains river is full of fish thanks to the the higher water. Many entered that river early and as the water keeps falling they are holding up more in the pools ever day. Our fishermen picked up only a few fish each day this week even though they were fishing three of the best fall pools on the Cains. There were not nearly as many fish in the Renous or Main river but they were taking better when anglers found them. Once again, this week, the Nor'west produced a few nice salmon for our fishermen. Flies of choice this week were the Lt Special, Red Francis and Ally's Shrimp.
This past week East Coast Spey from New Jersey were again here for their annual U.S. Spey Clinic that we host on the Miramichi, and as always, a great time was had by all.
Bryan Martin, Devon England Nor'west Miramichi
Brian Warrington, Manchester England Nor'west Miramichi River
Piaras Kealem, Dungiven Ireland, Cains River
Robert Hayes, Belfast Ireland Cains River
John Hicks, Neath England 46 inch beauty
John Hicks, Neath England Renous River
Traditionally this is normally a prime week on the Miramichi, as many long-time fishermen will tell you, but results for these past two weeks over the last couple of years have not lived up to that tradition. I would highly recommend August over September again this year for fishing on the Main River. There have been too many big rises in water levels since July, taking many of the holding fish upstream with fewer-than-normal fresh fish replacing them. This has kept our guides busy fishing our pools all over the river system these past couple of weeks. The bright side for us is that when conditions are not the best, we have great access to private water throughout the Miramichi and also our fantastic guides who will travel to all the tributaries seeking the best results for our guests. This past week we fished 17 private pools throughout the Main River and 4 tributaries with 38 salmon and 6 grilse landed for the week. This is good, considering the overall results on the river for the week, but not as good as our weekly high of 137 landed only a few seasons ago. The great news for the fishermen this week was the size of some of the Salmon landed, including two over 30 Lbs,. - both landed on the Renous. As it has been for much of the season this year, there was a big difference between the number of salmon landed compared to grilse - good for the anglers, but it does make us wonder where all the grilse are. Once again, the majority of fish landed this week were female so it looks like we are still waiting for our fall run of males to arrive. Until some greater numbers of fall fish start arriving in the Main river, our anglers will be spending more time fishing the Cains, even though the fish there might not be taking the best. One thing is for sure however - right now there is no shortage of salmon in the Cains pools we have access to. Flies of choice this week were the Undertaker, Red Francis and on the Cains, the Black Slime seems to work best.
This past week was our annual U.K. Spey Clinic week - always a great time with wonderful guests and with world class instructors Bryan Martin and Brian Warrington from England.
Taken on the Cains
Glen Nepin, Lancaster PA, Cains River
Lee Gallant, London England, Main River
Main river Salmon
We have been picking up a few fresh fish daily on the River System but like much of August and September so far, the high water has kept the fish moving which is good news for the fish but not as good for the fishermen. With the high water and not yet having great numbers of fall fish arriving on the Main river, our anglers have been having better luck on the smaller tributaries of the Cains and the Renous where they have been fishing for holding fish. Overall, a few nice salmon have been landed daily on the river system but nothing compared to results for the same week in some past years. With the higher water, the fall patterns such as Red Francis, Ally's Shrimp and the LT Special have been working best.
Chris Lloyd, England
Terry Nab, Lewiston Idaho
Cains River Salmon
Overall, August was a very good month for fishing. Even though the water was too high for the rivers most of the time, anglers had good success, especially when the water was falling. The beginning of September has not been our best so far but fishermen are landing some nice 20+ lb. Salmon as we head into the fall fishing season. It's been the same through all of August and so far into September - almost every week we have been receiving too much water. When water is rising fishing is not good but when water is falling it is quite a different story. Water levels are now starting to get back to a nice height again for good fishing but the forecast is not looking too good for over the weekend. Most of the fish we have been landing are still August Salmon with only a few grilse and/or fall salmon so far. If we do get another rise in water and a full moon next week we should expect to see more of our fall run of fish arriving by next weekend. The most productive flies this week have been The GP Green Highlander and the LT Special.
It was another week of good and cool higher-than-normal water and there are still quite a few fish in the system so no one is complaining. We had one angler from Boston who told me that he has been fishing the Miramichi for over 10 years and this was the first time he has fished a full week and landed at least one fish every day without ever having to step into the water. The best fishing is still from shore but the water is falling and many of the pools are again wadable but some of our best fishing is still from shore in the pools. This week we again landed fish on both the Main River and the Cains. There are still more Salmon than Grilse but we did land a couple of fresh Grilse with Sea Lice early in the week.
We have another great Miramichi Story about a youth Group from Montreal who spent close to a week of lodging and 4 days fishing with us on the Miramichi and we can't say enough about this fine group of youngsters, their leader Mario Viboux and the whole organization as a whole. Our guides said it was one of the most enjoyable week of guiding ever, watching kids from ages 9 and up putting on casting clinics daily while fishing with both single and double handed rods - a job well done.
If the water keeps falling as it is without another big rise, the conditions should be absolutely perfect for September fishing and the fish should now start holding more in the pools - that will be a welcome sight after a year of running fish. Conditions are now great for the Cains, much of the Renous and improving daily on the Main River. Tight Lines for rest of the season.
This week, best flies were the #8 Undertaker, White Tail Green Machine and dry Peach Carter Bug.
William Garrard, Minneapolis, Minn
Bill Blanchard, UK
Bill Blanchard, UK
Overall It has been another good August week on the Miramichi. There still are high water conditions with anglers seeing, rolling and landing some fish daily. August is a month for Salmon and this is what we have been seeing most of this month with some big ones among them! For most of August so far, with the higher water conditions, the Salmon are moving and not holding like they normally would in this lower stretch of River.
Every week some good stories are made and told on the Miramichi - first Salmon, largest salmon, the one that got away or just a great story told by our guests, including this one told by Bill Blanchard from Northampton, UK. Bill's Dad left this area for England in 1939, as a soldier in World War 2, but unlike many soldiers who returned home with a war bride, Bill's Dad remained in England, married and raised a family. This week his sons Bill and Zane returned to the Miramichi to catch an Atlantic Salmon and visit the places their Dad talked so much about. Another interesting part about this story is that Bill is probably the only person in the UK that has a boat Called the "Miramichi" with the City's colors and Logo.
The flies of choice this week were the wet "#6 & #8 Glitter Bear" and dry "Peach Carter Bug"
Aug 13th River Report:
There has been lots of cool water and plenty of fish! So far this August, anyone who has not been having fun fishing, has not been fishing! With the exception of Saturday and Sunday and with too much water due to the heavy rain on Friday, fishing has been good although it has been tougher to find places to fish, but anyone wanting to make the effort or stand on the river bank has been well rewarded. The first week of August has been one of the river's best weeks of fishing this year. Bob Bowser from Moncton landed 10 in three days in a number of different pools - seeing fish in all of them. If the water had been this cool and a bit lower with as many fish in the system as there are now, we hate to think of how good a first week of August it would have been.
Lots of fresh fish have been arriving daily due to the good water temperature, however high water conditions have been allowing them to keep on moving right through. The high numbers of fish are making for good hook ups. If these great numbers of fish continue then this might make August being our best month for fishing in 3 of the last 6 years! Beggers can't be choosers however and we hate to say anything after the low and warm water in July, but less rain now would be okay for our pools on this stretch of the river. As we all know, the lower the water in our stretch of the river, the better the fishing if conditions are good.
So far this August, the Main River has been fishing the best but we were still landing fish on the Cains and Renous before the rise in water over the weekend. It will take a couple of days for those pools to start producing again. This month we are catching more salmon than Grilse. Guide Jeremy has been having some luck on a fly he tied - a cross breed between a Green Machine and a Red Francis. He calls his fly "Francine" - and says it reminds him of a girl he knew years ago from his boat building days down on the Bay. The fly is as good at hooking salmon as she was at hooking men. Fly of Choice recently has been a #6 White Tail Green Machine and a #4 Francine.
Jeff Morneay, Quebec City
Karl Arbogast, Plains PA
Nathan Morency, Lac Beamport Quebec
Steve and Nathan Morency, Lac Beamport Quebec
Did someone say the water was too low and warm last week? Well, they should look again! The river is full of salmon, there is water in the woods and temperatures are in the mid to low 60's. Isn't it funny what a couple of days and 4 inches of rain can do for a salmon river. Last week, into the weekend and the early part of the week, fishing was as slow as it can get due to the warm water, and we did not see any fresh fish moving into the system off the tides for 4 days in a row. This is the first time we have not seen fresh fish daily since early June. However, by mid-week, with the cooler nights and fish moving out of the cold water areas, fishing started picking up on Wednesday. The D.F.O. had no choice but to open up the cold water areas by Thursday Morning. Anglers had some of the best July fishing on Thursday and Friday. on Friday, in one pool alone, our anglers hit, rolled or landed close to 60 fish on Bombers -something that a couple of long-time fishermen said they had never witnessed before in there entire lifetime of summer fishing. With the rise in water on Saturday, Sunday was a washout but surprisingly, with high, dirty but falling water, Monday fishermen that had a place to fish - mostly from riverbanks - starting hooking fish again and had some of the best fishing of the entire year Monday and yesterday. This rise in water is great for the river and the fish as it will be a good buffer for a while if conditions do again change to warmer weather. Over the Years, when warm weather conditions have occured, this has made for not-so-great July fishing so August has turned out to be our best month overall for the entire Season. We're hoping that these cooler conditions and Fresh Run Salmon will continue into the fall. With high water conditions there is not as many pools to choose from on the Main River - only a couple locations on the Upper Renous and Cains - but as the water falls, expect some great fishing on these rivers.
Every week that passes makes for a number of great fishing stories to remember for a lifetime -including the 110% turnaround in the fishing from the start to the finish this week. Someone we shall never forget is our little 7 year old fishing buddy, Nathan Morency from Quebec. In all our years of operation we have never seen such a dedicated 7 year old who dressed, fished and acted the part of a seasoned fly fishermen. Guide Jeremy said that if all our anglers could cast like Nathan does then what a fun job guiding would be. #4 and #6 flies should be the flies of choice until the water falls.
A morning at Blissfield Pool
Taken on the Cains
Relaxing at Country Haven Lodge
Bear Watching Tours
With a few days of record hot temperatures and the water becoming warmer each day, fishing has slowed down big-time since June and the first week of July. The water is still at a good height for our lower river pools but a bit low for upriver pools and tributaries but with the salmon concentrating more in cold water areas, they are not very interested in taking a fly. Even with the lesser conditions we did have some beginners' luck over the past week with first-time fly-fisherman 16 year old Garon Molyle From Edmonton Alberta who landed a 20 Lb'er, and 12 year old Danny Hamilton from Ottawa who landed a 16 Lb'er on the first morning. With the salmon staying in these cold water brooks, the D.F.O. has decided - starting today - to close some of these areas to fishing until the water cools. Closing these areas does not really effect much of the river system as most of these spots are not where most anglers like to fish, so it's still 'fishing as usual' on the Miramichi - even though the Media might make it sound like fishing is over for the season. If you already have a trip booked to the Miramichi, you should check with your Outfitter to see if any of these closures will effect your particular fishing trip. We do suggest using dry flies as much as possible if fishing in areas where salmon are pooling up and also taking extra care while playing and releasing fish. If these conditions continue, your Outfitter will probably work with you to reschedule a later date if possible.
On the brighter side of this week's report were the strong numbers of returning fish. Even with the warm water, every day fish have been arriving with the tides and travelling upriver past our lodge.
Once again, the annual Salmon Classic was held on the Miramichi and some of the participants had better fishing than they were expecting with these conditions, but not quite as good as in the past. Over the years, these dates have been considered prime time for summer fishing on the Miramichi but not the past couple of summers due to the hotter conditions. The number of fish in the system at this time - compared to last year - is high so all we need is a good rain to make for a great end-of-July and a good August. Although fly-fishing for Atlantic Salmon on the Miramichi is our specialty, we also offer our Country Haven guests a number of Tours throughout the Province that can be very popular on poor fishing days. Our Black Bear and Whale-watching tours have been very successful this week with good sighting of both species.
Jim Caputo, Fairport, NY
Karsten Anfrae, Fairlawn NJ
Andrew Moy, East Coast Spey's Clinic
Beautiful summer salmon
This was another great week of fly fishing on the Miramichi with our hosting another annual Spey Clinic with Instructor Andrew Moy from East Coast Spey, NJ. Andrew's clinics always make for a fun-filled week of fishing and instruction by one of the best teachers in the world. The week started out great, like it has been throughout much of the season - cool water temperatures and lots of fish - with almost all anglers landing fish every day, but later in the week, after some of the hottest weather so far this season, fishing started slowing down. Fish continue to arrive with the tides but have become more selective. Throughout much of the season fish could be caught in just about any pool on any fly but now the colder water pools are starting to hold the most fish. The weather man is calling for some rain and cooler nights this week so everyone is hoping the improved conditions will keep the fish moving and anglers happy throughout July. Once again, the Main Sou'west Miramichi has been the most productive river with some fish landed on the Renous and the Lower Cains. The pools we fished on the Nor'west that were very productive earlier in the season have slowed down a bit throughout the week and need a bit more water, but the main river pools are cooler and are now at an ideal height for great fishing. So far, we would have to say, there have been some of the best numbers of returning fish in the main river that we have seen in quite a while, including 2011 which was a record setting year. With so many fingers crossed, we hope this continues until late October. The most productive flies are #8 White Tail Green Machine, #10 Bear Hair, Glitter Bear and Undertaker as well as dry Peach Carter Bugs.
Peter Cherry, Ann Arbour MI
Carol Cherry and guide Gary Colford landing a Salmon
Guide Ken Vickers
Lee Davidson from Snake River Outfitters, Rigbi Idaho
With the exception of only a couple of hot days, lots of rain and cool water conditions in June has been good for fishing and has brought some of the best numbers of fish into the Main Sou'west Miramichi System for the month of June in years.
Ideally, fishing would be fantastic if the water was a bit lower but with the large number of fish in the river, no one is complaining. If these conditions continue then fishermen should have some great fishing throughout July. Anglers have also had good results fishing on the Renous and lower Cains but a drop in water would be ideal with the fish that are moving up these rivers. #4 and #6 White Tail Green Machine are still the "fly of choice" among fishermen.
Country Haven Miramichi
Country Haven Miramichi
First Atlantic Salmon
A nice June Salmon
The start of summer fishing has been just what the fishermen ordered - lots of water and plenty of fish moving through the system this early in the season. With good early results on the Nor'west in May and now some nice big salmon landed on the Main Southwest, Renous and Dungarvon over the past couple of weeks, it's making for an early start to this year's summer fishing. Depending on conditions, June can either be great - with fish arriving early in good numbers - or just trickling in until late June or early July before the big runs start. Even with higher-than-normal water levels for summer fishing, anglers have been experiencing good results. It's a bit early yet but with the great numbers so far, anglers are starting to hope and talk about a repeat of 2011 when the salmon started in early June and continued daily until closing in October. There might not be as many fish entering the rivers in June as in later months - even in a good year - but one thing is for sure - they are some of the nicest, freshest and silver salmon, and pound-for-pound, the best fighters of the season. With June always being so "hit-and-miss" and different each year, we choose to book the majority of our angling guests from June the 15th on - to be safe rather than sorry - and as a result, in some years, we miss out on good early fishing. Again, this year, some of the fishermen we did have early have seen some fine action. With the higher water, fishermen have been landing most of their salmon on #4 and even #2 flies but the majority of fish have been landed on White Tail Green Machines.
Country Haven Miramichi offers guests a choice of all-inclusive or self-catering packages in three main lodges, or private two or three bedroom Cottages, with access to fishing in 11 private pools throughout the Miramichi River System. With a 90% return rate from guests each year, we do book up early but we still have some openings remaining for the 2013 Season. If dates you are interested in are not available we do work closely with a number of great outfitters on the river who might have openings left so we would be very happy to recommend one of them.
Lobster is in Season on the Miramichi
A day on the Water
Mike Price MA, fishing the Miramichi since 1962
Bernie Pelech, Portsmouth NH
With our Spring fishing season all but over for another year, it turned out to be a much better spring than we all expected, after the hot dry summer we had last year. With the exception of a couple of slow days early in the season due to high dirty water and a few slow days toward the end due in part to low clear water and not as many grilse in the system compared to other springs, fishing was quite good including 9 straight days with all our anglers landing fish. Overall, the Salmon numbers were good with many 40+ inch fish landed however the grilse numbers were disappointing. The counters suggested 2011 had the highest numbers of return fish since the 60's with 2012 being the lowest. Overall, there was not a lot of difference in the 2012 and 2013 fishing seasons, proving once again that the local old-time fishermen must have been correct when they said the fish will come in - if not during the fishing season - then after the fishing season. Overall, the spring numbers were quite good, all things considered.
There are still a few spring salmon in the system but any hookups now will probably be by anglers fishing for trout. The Gaspereaux are now entering the system so we expect the Sea Trout soon. We have had no reports of any Bright Summer Salmon yet but it should not be long. This time of season is normally what we call the In-between-season - too late for Spring Salmon and too early for Bright Salmon. Some fishermen are spending their time fishing for Striped Bass in the Lower stretches of the River and the catches have been fantastic. Fishermen from Boston, New York and Rhode Island, who have fished for Stripers for years throughout the Eastern Coast of the U.S. said they have never seen so many bass after fishing in the Miramichi area a couple of times last week. They stated that they come to the Miramichi each year for the Atlantic Salmon, the King of Game fish, and will never come to fish only for stripers - no matter how good the striper fishing is. However it is a good change of pace on slower days of Atlantic Salmon Fishing.
Josephine Connors, Cebu Philippines
Steve Vaccarello, South Orange NJ
Angelo Sacks, Edgecomb Maine, 1st Salmon
Brett Quinn, New Glasgow NS
Another great week of weather. good conditions overall and quite decent fishing. Although this weeks numbers for salmon landed might not be as high as in some past years, the high quality of the salmon landed and the great weather have made it a great week on the Water. With the lower levels of clear water, the anglers who had the best results were casting using floating lines and smaller wet flies - the faster the water, the better the results. There still are a few reports of salmon quite far upriver but the fishermen who are fishing the lower stretches of the Main river have been landing nice salmon as well as some trout between 1-5 Lbs in the White Rapids and Quarryville Areas. Most fishermen come to the miramichi to fish for Atlantic Salmon but the ones who did fish for Striped Bass were landing one every time they casted in the Tidal waters on the Miramichi.
Howard Kilguss, Rehoboth MA
Joe Linares, Feeding Hills MA
John Torgan, Providence RI
Shya Kane, Milford NJ
We have enjoyed perfect weather, perfect conditions and quite consistent fishing this week with all our fishermen averaging between 2 -10 fish daily. The ratio of salmon to grilse has been 75% salmon and 25% grilse with some really large salmon hooked daily, including a 50 inch beauty landed yesterday - something we have only experienced a couple of times throughout the years. The anglers who were casting had the best results using sinking tips. Yesterday and over the weekend as well we even hooked a few using floating lines - lines we might normally use later in May - as the great conditions this week have been more like May than April. The Gray Ghost, Black Ghost and Magog Smelt have been the most productive flies.
We are expecting strong spring fishing for a while as the conditions are good for keeping the fish in the river longer and we are receiving reports of quite a few fish still far upriver. Over the weekend, anglers have reported seeing fish jumping - the first sign that they are starting to move. Over the past few days, fishermen have also started hooking some nice trout in the 3-6 Lb. range, especially in the lower stretches of the Main River and on the Renous. With the Trout and Striped Bass fishing season opening on May 1st, anglers should be able to pick up some of both species while fishing for Salmon throughout the month of May.
Craig Williams, Alexandra NH
Jonnie Jackson, Stamford CT
Mike Legere, New Durham NH
Newbury England Group
With the exception of the first two days of the season, conditions this past week have not been the best as the water was rising almost daily until this past weekend. Fishing was not as good as it should have been for the first week of the new season. However, with the water now falling again, we expect that our best spring fishing has yet to come. Even though the conditions have not been that good, what with the dirty water, fishermen who were casting had the best luck. There have been many reports of fish throughout the entire river system which is good news for the river. The most productive flies were large bright streamers with Marabou patterns working the best.
We would like to say "Thank You" to Paul Carleton, owner of Affordable Adventures who has been sending us fishing guests and personally fishing with us now for many years. Paul has landed hundreds of Atlantic Salmon while fishing the Miramichi with us over the past 10 years. Here are a few photos of some of the Atlantic Salmon Paul landed while here with us for three days. Even though conditions were not perfect, Paul still landed some great fish. Here are photos of some of the fish he landed. Any one of these beauties would make any angler happy. Congratulations Paul, on 10 great years of working together in bringing anglers to fish for Atlantic Salmon on the Miramichi River.
OPENING DAY: It was a great start to the 2013 fishing season yesterday as almost all of our guests limited out at 10 fish each for the day.
The first salmon of the day was landed by Art Mesher from Kitchener Ontario. The largest salmon caught was 48 inches and was landed by Hal Hutchen from N.Y. Overall, it was as good a start as we have seen on opening day for the past few years. After talking to other Outfitters in Boisetown and Quarryville, it appears that there were lots of fish throughout the entire river system on opening day, which seems to add proof to the theory - which locals believe - that a lot of fish enter the system later in the year after the fish counters close in mid October.
Even though fishing was great, we could still use a slight rise in water levels to continue good fishing into the month of May and we will probably get that with the warmer weather in the forecast. Flies of choice were the Christmas Tree, Golden Eagle and the Country Haven Cardinal.