Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring salmon fishing being enjoyed by many

We're into the second week of spring salmon fishing on the Miramichi and the sounds of the reels and roar of the engines are filling the air. And with excellent fishing in all the tributaries anglers are reeling them in by the boatloads.

Marcus Wilson here with his first salmon!! WTG Marcus!

Starting on the lower stretches of the river in Quarryville, fishermen were catching great numbers of fish. Local fisherwoman Cathy L├ęger landed a nice trout close to the 5-pound mark. Many other fish were hooked during the week.

Also on the lower stretches of the river, Country Haven Lodge camp owner Byron Coughlan said fishing was excellent. Fish were hitting better from the cast but a few were also being hooked while trolling. Most of the fish his guides saw were still near shore and he thought the fish were still sticking around as to when you see them jumping in the middle and working their way out of the river. Flies of choice were the Maggot Smelt and Alewife Matura pattern.

Up river further, at Vickers Salmon Pools, fishing was also very good as a few fishermen from Maine were catching their limit on some days. Guides were telling me they had hooked many fish on the Green Slime, Red Eagle, and Golden Eagle.

And also in the same area of the river, at Keenan's, local angler Donnie Keenan saw his four-year-old grandson Marcus Wilson landed his first ever salmon.

In an area near the mouth of the Cains River, I was hooking most of my fish on a Christmas Tree pattern and a Renous Special. Zachery Colford, Mike Levine and myself landed several salmon and many grilse during the last week and all the fish we landed were in very good shape and very silver in colour.

Many of our fish were taken on a cast close to shore. Mike landed two nice salmon - one at 42 inches and the other 37 inches. And even though we took many on the cast, a fair share were taken by trolling which is a big topic up and down the river from the Boiestown to Quarryville area.

In the Upper Blackville area, fishermen were hooking lots of fish and casting and trolling were the ways they hooked up. Larry Vanpeursen of Bangor, Me., hooked all of his fish by casting while my son Zachery and I fished with him on Saturday. Larry did hog the best fishing and hooked more fish on my flies.

Wilson's Sporting Camps fished the Cains this week and hooked a few on the lower stretch near Sabbies. Keith Wilson's youngest son Garret landed a nice salmon.

Allan McCormack in the Boiestown area was out with his kids and Sarah, 12, landed a couple and her brother Matthew landed two. Allan said the water was good and the fish all took in the fast water sections of the pool.

The North West Miramichi was also fishing very well as many fishermen were seeing great numbers of fish hooked. Kevin Gillespie and a few buddies limited out several days in a row using Renous Specials, Black Ghost and Golden Eagles.

Dale and Debbie Norton of the Upper Oxbow Lodge said fishing was great and their clients were having great success on the Little South West Miramichi River. Though the North West was a bit dirty, the Little South West was clear and fish were hitting their flies. Flies were Black Ghost and Golden Eagles.

The weather for the weekend looks not so bad for fishing but the conditions are a bit dirty with some grass and small sticks grabbing the fly. And with the rain and warmer temperatures and all the snow still in the woods along the Miramichi system I think we will have some high water yet.

While you're on the water this weekend keep an eye out for the bald eagles, ospreys, blue herons, ducks, geese and lots of other wildlife along the Miramichi River.

Now keep our fingers crossed for the weekend and all you anglers waiting for Friday to come, let's hope the fish gods will be with you and you catch one of those fish of a lifetime.

Until next week keep your lines tight and your reels screeching on the Miramichi.

* Rodney Colford is a third-generation salmon guide on the Miramichi River. He has been guiding fishermen for the past 28 years. His column appears every Thursday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great Fishing on the Miramichi

Opening week for Miramichi was very good and anglers were hooking their share of Atlantic salmon. And with the cold temperatures we are having fisherman were still on the water.

First photo is Ronnie Steeves and John Cost with 1 of many salmon.

Many fishermen including myself was steady taking the ice off the guides on the rod as the line would freeze up on the first two days of the season.

Second photo is Gary Colford and Bill Moore landing a salmon of many for the week.

And even though the weather was not the best the fish were taking flies of many patterns just the same. Flies like the Renous Special, Mickey Finn, Orange Blossom, Golden Eagle, Blue Smelt and the Christmas Tree were some of the favorites during the first week. Fisherman were hooking fish every way from wading from shore, long lining from the boat, trolling on many sections of the lower river.

The Upper stretches of the River around Boistown had very good fishing. Fisherman were hooking there share and many reaching their limit. Michael McKinnon was in the Boistown area and said it was very good fishing but very cold to say the least.

Down closer to Doaktown Wilsons Sporting Camps said the river was ideal height and color and was perfect for fishing. There were a large number of salmon in the mix. Keith expects the fishing to be very good again next week.

This is John Keenan with a nice grilse.

Down river near Upper Blackville fisherman were having great success too with many anglers catching their limit the first week each day. Salar Haven club on the Howard road were catching all there fish casting from boats.

This photo is one of our cook outs on the Cains River.

From left to right is Gary Colford, Currie Curtis, Pat Colford, Clark Hallman, Ron Steeves, John Cost, John Wason, Ron Falusy and Bill Moore.

The lower stretches of the river near the mouth of Cains river we were catching ours mostly trolling and a few on the cast. Most fish we had landed seem to be salmon in the 32 to 36 inch range.

Jamie Keenan with a super meal!

All the fish looked very good and very silver in color, looked like they had a good winter in the Miramichi. Fly of choice was the Christmas Tree and Renous.

This is Kirk Keenan holding one of many salmon that were all bigger than his brother Jamie's.

Down river in the Blackville area fisherman from Country Haven Lodge were hooking double digits and limiting out most days.

Byron Coughlan camp owner said one guide yelled to him on the porch that we can’t keep them of our hooks. He said that was music to a camp owners ears when he heard that, with many clients in from around the world made it good news.

This is Jessie Fisher with a nice grilse.

Miramichi Renous Club was catching lots of fish on the lower section. Many anglers were catching fish in Quarryville area. Local guide Gerald Hallihan said fishing on the Renous was very good too.

The fishing was also very good on the North West Miramichi as many fisherman were hooking up. Many of the same flies were being used like the Renous Special, Christmas Tree and Golden Eagle to name a few.

Ron Falusy with one of many salmon of the week and most hooked on a Christmas Tree and Mickey Finn.

Guide Kevin Gillespie said they boated 228 fish with 7 guys fishing at the lodge. The biggest fish was 39 inches and many big salmon being hooked. There were no signs of any smelts in the river as of Wednesday.

Local Shops like Curtis Miramichi River Outfitters, Georges Fly Shop, Herb Barry’s, Miramichi Surplus, Fredericton Outfitters, Trout Brook Fly Shop and Doaks were reporting having many fishermen in with good fishing all week.

The start of a April snow storm on the Miramichi and Ron not liking it..

With the first week in the books on the Miramichi I think the worry of the fish being out of the river early is over. They are here and in big numbers of them for you to get out on the river to catch.

Coming in to get dried off at my Fly Shop after a great day fishing on the Miramichi.

Until next week keep your lines tight and your reels screeching on the Miramichi.

Rodney Colford

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Wait Is Almost Over, Lets Fish!

One day remaining and it’s just like Christmas and watching the kids wait for Santa Claus, except this time were waiting for a strong Atlantic Salmon to hit our fly. Not as strong as when they’re running in from the sea but after such a long winter and just to have the opportunity to hook a salmon makes it well worth it for us kids and parents. And if your kids are like mine for the past week it’s all there talking about is getting out and hooking a fish.

Now for river conditions on the NW Miramichi up past the Wayerton Bridge. Outfitter Roger Sorel of Miramichi North West Lodge said ice was gone on down to Sunny Corner on Tuesday and without any flooding. River was starting to come up a bit from the rain and warm weather.

River conditions on the SW Miramichi improved very well. Warm weather and heavy rains on Monday got the water up and made boating a little easier for us to get around for opening day. And with high water comes lots of debris from the spring clean up of the river. Meaning be careful out on the water as ice and trees and debris from the shore lines will be making its way down stream.

Local outfitters on the river like Keith Wilson of Wilson Sporting Camps in the Doaktown area said the river was up on Tuesday. He also addressed being careful on the water. Keith will be fishing the Cains on the first couple days so let’s hope we get a good report back from him for next week for the river.

Local shops in the area are very well prepared for all anglers coming in to get there gear.

George Rutledge of George’s Fly Shop said he expects to see lots of fisherman in during the first week.

Curtis River Outfitters also are very well prepared to meet there customers needs and with well known fly tyer Cathy Colford on hand to help you out.

Doaks Fly Shop in Doaktown is always ready to help out and has many good products available from Sage to Simms gear.

In Miramichi Area, Miramichi City Surplus has lots of fly fishing supplies available. Also like I said last week drop into any of these places for updates of the river and they will help you out.

Anglers Awareness Night was held on the 7th and 12th in Boistown and Renous with very good topics from Mark Hambrook of the Miramichi salmon association and Debbie Norton president of the Miramichi Water Shed Committee. Bass was the biggest concern and if there was going to be a season to fish for them. The answer was NO there was not a season as of now and the numbers were too low, even though the NW Miramichi is being over whelmed with bass. Many anglers, guides and outfitters were very worried about the numbers of bass in the system and the effect they are having on our salmon. There were also talks about where they spawn and we were told that there spawning all took place on the North West and only the NW Miramichi.

Well a few anglers said the different and saw the strippers spawning in more or all of our rivers on the Miramichi system the past couple years. Mark agreed and said he also saw them spawning in the SW Miramichi and a few other rivers in the system. The awareness of what the bass were eating was also brought up and salmon smolt and lobster was a main food source in the system. DFO was not at this meeting so most that Mark could help with was good but it would have been nice to hear from Department and Fisheries and Oceans on the bass topic. A few prizes were given out last night and too name a few that won were some of our young anglers and or future guides of the river were Logan Brophy, Alex Hallihan and Zachery Colford. Other guides and Anglers that won were Gerald Hallihan, Aubrey Buggy, Duncan Manderville, Larry Munn, Eugene Donovan, Emery Brophy, Tracey Harris and Keith Gallon.

With many more topics to talk about I will let you get back to your fishing count down and opening day tomorrow. For more information on the bass check out the Miramichi Salmon Association web site.

And until next week let’s get those lines tight and the reels screeching on the Miramichi.

Tight Lines Rodney Colford

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fishing waters opening up but they're very low

With just a little over a week away on the Miramichi River ice out conditions are rapidly improving with the mild weather we are having. The lower stretches of the river the ice has cleared up from the mouth of Cains River on down through the village of Blackville. Renous River is open in places but also has very low levels.

In the upper Miramichi River area Keith Wilson of Wilson Sporting Camps said the water is low as summer and if it was June it would be perfect conditions. With a few warm days and all the snow in the woods we should see normal conditions later.

Derrick Munn of the Ledges Inn in Doaktown sad the ice is slowly rotting away with a few open spots here and there. He said we also need some rain and some warmer weather to get things moving on the river.

The river levels are very low and without some rain and milder temperatures boating does not look very good for the river on opening day. Temperatures do look promising on the weekend with highs of 12 C on Saturday which will raise the river some. And without some rain or snow melting in the woods the smaller rivers like the Cains, Renous, Little SW Miramichi and the Upper Stretches of the Main SW and NW Miramichi will be very hard going for boaters.

Also fisherman that are wading safety is always an issue in the spring as ice jams does change the bottom of the river from year to year. So please be careful out there when you have that 40 plus inch salmon on. It would be a good idea to check with your local fly shops in the areas for good places for wading to fish spring salmon, as most places

do not mind you fishing in the spring. Fly Shops to call is W.W.Doak & Sons Doaktown, Curtis Fly Shop Blackville, Herbs Fly Shop Blackville, Georges Fly Shop Renous, Trout Brook Fly Shop on the NW. They all have a very good supply of spring fishing gear and can tell you (or sell you) what is the best to use in the low or high water conditions.

I will look forward to hearing from you with all your catches on the river. Pictures would be good too of the big ones. Please practice proper releasing methods so not to hurt the fish when taking them out of the water for your photo. Also remember to pinch your barbs and singles hooks only. And until next week and from the Banks of the Miramichi River this is Rodney Colford.