The river is full of bass from Newcastle to up past the Red Bank bridge. People saw fish schooling at Johnson’s Bridge and there are lots of fish up as far as the Metepenagiag Cultural Centre on the Little Southwest. Many reports of splashing (which was thought to happen when the fish were spawning) is now thought to be the bass schooling the large amounts of smelt that are in the river as well. I have had 2 reports of smelt actually jumping out of the river and dying on the shore, presumably to escape the bass.
Large bass are being caught everywhere. I am attaching a picture of Bobby Norton with a bass caught near Boom Road. Our President, Mark Hambrook, caught a 20 pounder the other night along with many others. One gentleman told me the bass he caught was so big that the picture weighed 8 pounds!
I have heard of three people catching tagged bass. If you catch one please leave it on the fish and let the fish go. They are on there for DFO science for their mark / recapture assessment to estimate the number of bass in the river.
DFO Officers are patrolling regularly. They are so pleased, as is everyone, to see the river alive again with anglers. There are families and so many kids out fishing – it is a great activity for everyone. One officer reported seeing a 6 year old hooking and landing a bass at Strawberry Marsh with her Dora the Explorer spinning rod – and she was proud!
I had a question from a gentleman fishing for bass in tidal water and wondering what he could do if he caught a trout. If you are fishing in tidal waters you do not need a license to keep a trout if trout season is open. You must follow the daily limit and size limit though. If you catch a salmon in tidal water without a license you can’t keep it though as you would need to tag it and would need a license to get a tag.
As I mentioned earlier the MSA is putting acoustic tags in 25 smolt in the Northwest Miramichi near Red Bank and tracking their progress down the river and out through the bay to the ocean. I was asked how we will know if the tagged smolt have not been eaten by a bass and we are tracking the bass instead. If the smolt is eaten the tag will not remain in the bass for too long – probably a couple of days. Also we have a number of receivers in the Northwest and Southwest that will pick up the tag as it moves by. These are at Schenkels Farm (below Red Bank Bridge), Parks Landing, Cassilis, Eel Ground, Strawberry Marsh, French Fort Cove, Chatham, Loggieville and the Barrier Islands. On the Southwest there are receivers at the Enclosure, Quarryville and Millerton. A smolt should be moving down river through the receivers without much deviation. If we notice a tag moves down river and then up river again or up the Southwest with erratic behavior we can assume the smolt has been eaten by something. Hopefully I will have a report for you in June on how they make out.
The smolt trap was installed this week at Cassilis and is being fished today for the first time. The smolt that are tagged in the wheels at Trout Brook, Sevogle and the Little Southwest are recaptured in the trap and the total number caught along with the number of recaptures (tagged smolt) allows us to estimate the smolt population leaving the system. This year we will also be using the trap to collect the remaining kelt needed for tagging in our kelt tracking project. The crew was unable to angle enough fish for tagging on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday so we will use fish caught here. There are still reports of kelt in the rivers so we should have no problem. MSA Director Jacquie Girouard helped angle kelt on the weekend and I have attached a picture of her with her catch.
Please be reminded of the annual “Freeman Dunnett” MSA Conservation Dinner taking place next Thursday, May 16th at the Crowne Plaza Downtown in Moncton. A smoked salmon reception sponsored by Miramichi Smokehouse of Doaktown commences at 5:30 with a great array of silent auction items. Dinner is at 7:00 followed by a great live auction with numerous fishing opportunities, including some prime Miramichi trips as well as trips to the Gaspé, York, Dartmouth and St-Jean Rivers in Quebec. Of course, fishing gear/equipment, furniture , works of art including prints and a special original watercolour by the late Henry McDaniel. Note that this was his personal favourite hanging over his fireplace mantel for many years. The scene depicts Wasson Bar on the Blissfield stretch of the Miramichi River painted in the late 50’s or early 60’s. MSA is accepting sealed bids on this original prior to Thursday’s auction, so if interested in doing so, please email your private bid to me.
Also featured in the auction are unique MSA 60th anniversary items offered exclusively for this milestone year in MSA’s history, including a special Abel Reel, hand-painted with “Atlantic Salmon” artwork which boasts the MSA 60th anniversary logo. Only 6 being ordered by MSA! I have attached a picture of the reel and the print. For a complete list of Live Auction items, please see events on the MSA website. http://www.miramichisalmon.ca/moncton-dinner/
Have a great weekend – bass retention season ends Wednesday the 15th so make sure you get your one a day.