Mid-season Salmon report for Baie des Chaleurs... August 14, 2018.
At this very moment things here on the rivers of the Gaspe Peninsula are looking pretty bleak...it's not that there is any lack of salmon in our area (Cascapedia - Petite Cascapedia - Bonaventure ) its more that there is no water in our rivers currently. And that, makes for very tough angling conditions.
Let me back up a bit and get back to where we are now and what we are hopeful for soon!
June started off a bit slow for the first week of the season and this was probably more due to higher water conditions than fish not being in our rivers, especially the Cascapedia which is an earlier river than the Petite and Bonnie. Despite the slowish start, when thing started to groove it got really groovy really fast with some excellent angling right into the start of July. Then, well, the bottom dropped out as the month of July moved along. During the June prime time period everyone was catching fish, and some fairly large ones, although there were not many 40 lb fish reported this June.
Fishing was hot from A sector all the way up into the upper reaches of both branches on the Cascapedia River and hot flies were Paul Caron Stonefly, John Olin Longwing and Dylan Dark Spey which was especially tasty to many of the fish my guests landed. As the month progressed we kept on getting rain announcements but no rain actually fell. It was just one big tease after another, after another, and it got really old really fast.
As I already stated, fishing remained pretty consistent into early to mid-July but with no precipitation falling to keep our rivers flowing, things got tough pretty fast. The only saving grace throughout July was the fact that all three of our rivers here had a good number of fish, although the Bonaventure and Petite were a bit late in seeing big numbers. The Petite does not really have a lot of fish even in a good year but the ones that were around were pretty cooperative when you ran into them. Same goes for the Bonaventure although the numbers of fish on that river eclipse the Petite Cascapedia and rival the mighty Grand Cascapedia which must have upwards of 2500-3000 salmon already in its system. Awesome news for years to come!
The Bonaventure has seen a huge run of grilse this year with a solid return of adult MSW salmon as well and despite low water and tough conditions, folks keep stabbing fish pretty much every day. The key is to fish super early in the morning and then into the last rays of light before darkness hits. Dry fly fishing has been off the hook there this year! Despite the great action heading into August - even with low water - we are now getting into critically low water conditions so I do not imagine that the fishing will stay very good until we get some much needed rain. When I say we need rain, I mean we need the river to go from its current 8 cubic meters per second level to about 30 cubic meters per second for any real significant change to be apparent. Sure a little bump of 10 cubic meters would be nice but it would not last long.
Here are the current water levels as of today, August 14th.
Cascapedia River - 12.25 cubic meters per second
Bonaventure River - 7.99 cubic meters per second
Petite Cascapedia River - 6.16 cubic meters per second
These levels are roughly half of what they should be right now in an average year. Our only saving grace for the moment is that water temperatures have not risen to a critical level most places, although the Grand Cascapedia River has had some reports of 21C water temps. I recorded that temp on August 6th and the water has only dropped since then. Thus far there have been not partial closures of any of our rivers in this area.
All we can do now is hope that the rains do finally come because there are a lot of salmon to be fished to this year! So, if you have plans to come here in the next week or so, keep and eye out on this site for water level info! It is a great resource! http://www.cehq.gouv.qc.ca/suivihydro/ListeStation.asp?regionhydro=01&Tri=Non
Will add to this report as soon as we get some rain!
Tight lines and screaming reels to you all!