Another season for all but a very few rivers is “in the books”. Unlike last year which was one of the best in years, this year has been far from fantastic. From early July the water was very low and very warm. Many stretches and holding pools were closed. Anglers were resting their hopes on a good Fall, but that did not happen.
The counting Traps had very poor numbers with often a half dozen fish constituting a “good day”. So now the dissection of the season begins with many questions lingering over the winter as we anticipate the 2013 season.
Was it the extremely warm and dry summer that kept the salmon and grilse from coming in? (And this was pretty well the story across eastern Canada.) The over all numbers were down (see the counts below, and by next week I should have the completed counts for the season). But what was particularly strange was the very low numbers of grilse that came into the rivers. Normally, grilse counts are two or three times that of salmon, but the reverse was the case this year, and the salmon counts themselves were also low. Some maintain that it is not totally uncommon to have Fall runs of fish in November and even December.
Speculation abounds about the cause of this. Are there too many Stripers in the system resulting in them being “weapons of BASS Destruction” for the exiting spring smolt? Do the increasing Bass numbers correspond with the drop in the lack of grilse numbers this year?
Are too many seals eating the incoming runs? What is happening when the fish go out to sea? Are other fisheries such as smelts, gaspereaux and shad numbers also down?
It may be a long winter of head-scratching for answers. Hopefully, there will be a lot of co-operation between anglers, user groups, scientists, DFO and Conservation groups in the seeking of answers and explanations. Too much finger-pointing will not solve the problem. Maybe this season was just one of Mother Nature’s anomalies. Let’s hope so! Continue Reading