New Brunswick

Lack of Miramichi River salmon concerns industry

People in the sport fishing industry are concerned about the lack of salmon in the Miramichi River.
Anglers are hopeful rain will bring salmon back. (Submitted by Mat Trevors)

Water levels are low on the Miramichi River this summer and as water temperatures rise, so does the sport fishing industry's concerns for the region's salmon.

Salmon head for cooler waters, in pockets away from the main river, and away from anglers' hooks.

Keith Wilson's family has owned Wilson's Sporting Camp on the Miramichi River for seven generations. He said dry spells this time of year are normal, but this year it's lasting longer than usual.

Wilson had guests scheduled to fish this weekend, but said there's no point in such warm waters because the salmon won't bite.

He added that the river needs more rain. "Yeah, we're obviously kind of a bit worried. If it drags on a lot of people will start cancelling then, it'll be a huge hit for the communities," he said.

If the season stalls, the operators lose business, guides and cooks lose work, and suppliers' sales fall.

Steve Hachey, a spokesperson with the department of Fisheries and Oceans, which closed 15 pools to salmon fishing along the river in late July, said the warm, low waters are concerning.

"We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and we are still concerned by the low level and the high temperature of the water on the Miramichi river system," Hachey said.

Wilson said outfitters are eternal optimists. He expects rain is on its way.