Traffic congestion has become a problem at Middle Cove Beach just outside St. John's, as hundreds of people flock there to see or maybe catch caplin as the small fish beach themselves.

The annual capelin run — which often but certainly not always happens in June, accompanied by cool and foggy weather — is a much-loved phenomenon.

The scene on Monday night, though, was too much of a good thing for spectators, who found themselves in a massive traffic snarl, with many of the cars there parked illegally along Marine Drive.


Middle Cove Beach has been attracting more visitors than normal since capelin started rolling this weekend. (CBC)

"Last night, gridlock was the best way to describe it," said John Kennedy, mayor of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove.

"The traffic at the beach was at a standstill around 8 [p.m.]. Unfortunately, we had to phone the police, they had to come down and start ticketing vehicles. People obviously didn't get the message or didn't heed the message."

The RNC only issued a handful of tickets, but warned many others to move their cars.

Kennedy said Middle Cove visitors should park on the landward side of the road, to allow traffic to flow.

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe is one of those who drove out Marine Drive to get some capelin.

"This tradition of coming down and getting capelin is just a part of Newfoundland culture and it's been going on for centuries," he said.

"People love it. It's the fresh air, the ocean and it's the promise of a whole lot of free capelin."