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Our group of anglers from New Hampshire stayed on for the first half of the week. We were expecting Mr. Allwarden to join them but he had other obligations at home. They did a bit of fishing on their own on Sunday. In the morning Mr. McCartney and Mr. Phillips fished Roughwater and Mr. Roedel at McDonald. Fish were surfacing in Roughwater but not touching the fly. Mr. McCartney and Mr. Roedel went to McDonald later that afternoon. Mr. McCartney prefers a dry fly and was using the Aqua Blue Bomber when he hooked a twenty pound fish. Both anglers had a good time getting the fish to shore while just wearing running shoes.
We were very fortunate to receive rain showers on both Monday and Tuesday. The water level has been slowly rising from 53 ¼ inches on Monday to 56 ½ inches on Wednesday. The water temperature has also dropped slightly to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mr. Bruce Patterson of Sunny Bank was invited by the group for breakfast and some fishing on Tuesday. Bruce started at the very top of the rapid in McDonald and covered the pool expertly with a number 8, Gourmet Special. A nice fourteen pound fish grabbed the fly and it was brought in for release. Mr. Phillips had fish come to the fly through the week but it was not until Tuesday morning that he actually kept a fish on. He and his guide, Gordon, were at Roughwater and tried many good flies, including a small Sunray Shadow and the Picasse. They decided to go with a larger number 4, double hook Sunray Shadow and immediately got a fourteen pound salmon. Mr. Phillips left after lunch on Tuesday to drive part of the way home. Mr. McCartney and Mr. Roedel departed on Wednesday morning at 4 o’clock.
The new team of anglers drove in on Wednesday evening in time for dinner. The day began on a good note on Thursday when Mr. Coulombe hooked his first salmon in Roughwater. He had it on for several minutes but it unfortunately came off. Meanwhile, Mr. Després was concentrating on Still Pool, which is holding a good number of fish. He is an experienced angler and soon had hooked a grilse on a Chocolate Humpback dry fly. After releasing it he changed to an Aqua Blue Bomber and got an eleven pound fish.
Although the latter part of the week was warmer, the water level is quite good and we are still receiving frequent showers. Mr. Zonda was at Roughwater on Thursday afternoon and hooked a nice fish on a number 4, Sunray Shadow. It fought incredibly but was brought in, measured and released. The salmon was 35 inches long and estimated to be seventeen pounds. Friday was a cloudy, humid day, with again a chance of showers for late in the day. Mr. Després was at McDonald with his guide, Lowell, and was fishing with the darker Blue Bomber. He soon had a nice fifteen pound salmon on and quickly reeled it in for release. The upriver beat has not been producing as well recently, but Mr. Coulombe managed to get a four pound grilse on Friday morning in Countess. It was taken on a number 6, single hook Undertaker. Mr. Després was very fortunate and got his second fish at Roughwater on Friday evening. It was a grilse and was taken on a single hook Silver Rat.
Saturday was a mixed bag of weather with dark clouds overhead and later in the morning the winds picked up considerably. With the change in the barometer and these stiff winds, nothing was caught during the day. Mr. Brisette, Mr. Després and Mr. Coulombe got up very early Sunday morning to give it a try but again very little response from the fish. After breakfast the three anglers finished packing and set off for the trip back home.
The sunny and windy conditions persisted on Sunday and Monday, but thankfully the temperature dropped for those days to a more seasonal average. The water temperature also went back into the 50’s Fahrenheit.
Mr. Garner was good enough to pick up four Look-à-Touts for our guides and they are using them each day. Five or six new fish were spotted in Curtis on Monday and Mr. Shakespeare had salmon coming to the fly at the top of Shanty. Mr. Garner only began to have some action in McDonald on Monday after the sun was off the pool. He had better luck on Tuesday morning at that pool. Alan Garner hooked and released a fine fifteen pound salmon at McDonald on an Aqua Blue Bomber.
The temperature began to climb again over the week, with an average from 28 to 30 degrees Celsius. Employees from the Gaspé Zec were scuba diving on Tuesday to have an idea on the number, and most importantly the condition of the fish. They had been getting reports of salmon infected with Saprolegnia but the number is minimal and certainly not like the severe outbreak on the York River.
I have included in a separate attachment a copy of the count. There were 563 salmon and 124 grilse for a total of 687 fish. Numbers are slightly better this year in comparison to the mid-season count of 2012, which was 503 salmon and 106 grilse. The percentage of fish affected by Saprolegnia stands around 3.5 percent, which is very reasonable. The percentage of grilse is 18 percent, which is better than I had first thought. Big Indian pool is also holding a good number of fish. The retaining fence was installed later this year so it is possible that several fish are in the upper reaches of the St. John. Zec employees will be attempting a count of this area at some point during the week. There is also a good number of salmon which have recently gathered in Maitland. The Pavillon have stopped the lower canoe run due to low water conditions and we have done the same for the time being. As of Monday anglers will drive for a certain distance and then walk the trail to Clandeboye.
Early on Thursday morning we were awakened by the welcome sound of rain on the roof but unfortunately the amount was only 7 millimeters. The temperature still managed to reach 30 Celsius but at least we had heavy cloud cover, which improved the fishing considerably. There were a few new fish in Curtis pool and Mr. Lawrenz released a nice grilse on a Green Bomber. There is a good number of fish in Consul and Mr. Garner hooked and released a twelve pound salmon that morning on an Aqua Bomber. The Québec Government this week has decided to ban all forestry work in the Gaspé until conditions change and we receive some precipitation.
This is Mr. Turcotte’s first visit to the St. John Salmon Club, although he has in the past fished many of the rivers on the Gaspé Peninsula. After much effort and casting during the week he was thrilled to release a beautiful twelve pound salmon at Roughwater pool on Friday morning. Gordon Drody had chosen a small Green Stonefly which proved to be successful. On Saturday morning Marc was on the upriver canoe run and tried Consul with no result. Clandeboye was much better as he released a nice twelve pound fish on a Brown Bomber. It is incredible how many days we have had with a temperature at or above 30 degrees Celsius. Mr. Garner had to return to Montréal on Saturday afternoon. Mr. Lawrenz and Mr. Turcotte left early this morning on Air Canada. Mr. Shakespeare went out fishing this morning and released a lively twelve pound fish at Roughwater. There continues to be a good current in the pool and this particular salmon rose immediately for an Aqua Blue Bomber.
Our friends from New Hampshire arose very early Sunday morning and departed for home at 4:00 am. Our new group of anglers arrived on the noon flight from Toronto. Mr. Govan is new to salmon angling but was keen to learn and had read some material on salmon fishing by Gary Anderson. His guide, Percy Annett, was on hand in the afternoon to give some casting instruction. Mr. Govan did well and later that day released his first Atlantic salmon. It was a fourteen pound fish that was taken at Roughwater pool, on a large Tiger Ghost.
Monday was the warmest day we have had so far this season and the temperature at 10:00 am was 30 degrees Celsius. Mr. Govan took the opportunity to see more of the Saint John River and did the upstream canoe trip that morning. He enjoyed it immensely and was rewarded with a twelve pound fish, taken from Countess pool on the same fly, Tiger Ghost. Anglers have been doing very well upstream recently, with fish stopping regularly in Clandeboye, Countess and Consul. With the lower water level some fish have of course moved out of pools below the Club. Guides this week see fewer salmon in McDonald and the current is much slower in Curtis. Mr. Stevenson did however release a nice twelve pound fish at Curtis on Monday. It was hooked on the new fly, Teacher’s Pet. Eric fished the upper pools that afternoon by walking through, and released another twelve pounder at Clandeboye.
Skies were covered on Tuesday with much cooler temperatures and a forecast of rain for the preceding days. Mr. Govan went to Roughwater to give it a try and immediately hooked a great fish, which gave a lengthy battle. He was using a number 2, Tiger Ghost and the salmon was estimated to be twenty-eight pounds. That afternoon Mr. Govan decided to fish Clandeboye by walking up again via Lady Hamilton. Fresh moose tracks were observed on the trail and when angler and guide were crossing the river at the tail of Countess, noises were heard in the woods. Soon a female moose and calf came from the woods and went out into the water. Following close behind was a large male black bear, who must have been after the calf moose. Mr. Govan was capturing all this on video and quite naturally he and his guide became worried. Barton decided it was time to exit the scene and Mr. Govan, who is a physical education instructor, says he has never seen anyone ever move that fast. Mr. Govan unfortunately fell in the water and dropped his fishing rod and got his camera wet. They returned to Camp and the rod was found the following day around Lady Hamilton.
Mr. Govan left on Wednesday a very happy angler, along with Miss Livingston. The new team for the last half of the week was two gentlemen from Toronto. The temperature on Thursday morning was a chilly 5 degrees Celsius and the water was a bit warmer at 9 Celsius. Henry did very well that morning by releasing a twelve pound fish at Curtis on a Crystal Ghost. Mr. Stevenson hooked a large fish at Roughwater on a Sunray Shadow. It was extremely strong and gave a terrific fight. Upon releasing it was estimated to be twenty pounds. On Friday morning after breakfast Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Stevenson saw a salmon break water on the far side of Home Pool. Mr. Stevenson tied on a White Stonefly and hooked the fish, which again gave a good fight, before being returned to the river. The twenty-four pound fish had some injuries on its sides and damage to the fins. Mr. Fiorillo did great on Friday also, with a twelve pound fish at Clandeboye in the morning and a second salmon at McDonald that evening. Both were caught on a fly which has done well this week, the Dutot Blue Charm. The group had a wonderful week and released a total of fifteen fish.
This is the first week of salmon fishing at the Club and we were happy to greet our first group who made the drive from Toronto and two gentlemen who flew in from Calgary. We have had much rainy, cold weather recently and luckily the flight was able to get into Gaspé airport. As I mentioned in my previous report the water level at the beginning of the week was high and the waters of the St. John quit swift. The guides made a run through the Maitland sector on Saturday, June 01st and those pools were too high to fish properly. We decided to concentrate our efforts on the area from Home Pool to Curtis for the first days.
The sun finally returned on Monday and made conditions much more pleasant for anglers and guides. The water temperature at this early stage is very cold and boats were used in most pools. Mr. Hall and Mr. Griffin both brought their spey rods, which helps when wading out in the current is not possible. Mr. Hall was casting in the lower end of Home Pool on Monday morning and hooked a bright twelve pound fish on a number 4 Sunray Shadow.
Certain sectors of the York were fishing well this week and good numbers of fish are gathering near the falls on the Dartmouth River. Anglers and guides worked very hard through the week but no fish were released on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The combination of high water conditions and a small number of salmon made it difficult. We are very pleased to see that fish are stopping in Home Pool and Mr. Hall released another twelve pounder on Friday morning. This one was hooked on a number 6 Blue Charm. In the afternoon Mr. Griffin was casting over two fish resting in Home and managed to get one to rise three times to his fly but no hookups.
Mr. Hall fished the Sector 2 water by canoe on Saturday morning. The current in Lady Gray was too fast but he released a beautiful fifteen pound salmon at Lady Mary, again on the Sunray Shadow. Mr. Griffin covered Sector 2 in the afternoon and released a thirteen pound salmon in the same pool. Mr. McConnell also got a ten pound fish Saturday afternoon at the lower end of Shanty.
Our anglers ventured out fishing Sunday morning for a few hours. Mr. Griffin used the canoe to position himself in Curtis and successfully released a nice twenty pound fish. Mr. Hall had luck again in Home Pool with a bright twelve pounder. Six of the seven fish released this past week were hooked with the Sunray Shadow fly.