Great Season on the Matane [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Great Season on the Matane

10-03-2009, 07:23 AM

Water conditions and timing were in favor the the fish this year. Early fish entered with normal water levels for late June, early July Then the fish got very lucky! Water levels dropped quickly by mid July they hovered around 5/cms and did so for the rest of the entire season occasionally rising to about 10/cms for a day or so, then dropping quickly back to 5/cms. These peaks allowed the tidal fish to enter, while the quick drops in water levels saved their butts as they arrived up river.

On Sept 30, last day of the season, the river started to rise, and rise fast, from 4/cm to 11/cm today, perfect conditions with the season closed. This is great for all those late comers stacked up in the tidal areas for the past few weeks. Now they can come up through the entire system unmolested. The present conditions also have allowed the fish in the river to quickly move from their overpopulated deep holes and spead out up river getting ready to do their thing. Perfect conditions for the fish this year.

Did I mention that Sinking Lines were Banded mid season and are no longer allowed on the river? Hopefully this will greatly curtail the lining of fish, a practice that has been perfected on our river by those who cheat the sport and rape the land with total disregard. Also saw more C+R on the river this year. Hmmm, could things be changing for the best!

Glad to see the fish had better luck than the fisherman. They need to win more than we do.

10-03-2009, 02:42 PM
Also saw more C+R on the river this year.

Don't worry about it Howie, with this year grilse run (less than 800, the worst season since at least 24 years), my forecast model for 2010 give me less than 700 MSW next year ... If you don't see mandatory C & R at the beginning of the season, you will see it before mid august...

10-06-2009, 08:57 AM

I follow the Matane stats and conditions over the course of the season (at assembly of data) and indeed, it was a "good year" for the salmon. However, are salmon counts maintained after 9/30 and if so, are they published anywhere? I'm real curious about the numbers that come in after a dry season like this year.


The Thrasher
10-06-2009, 09:01 AM
Hi Howie,

Those low grilse returns are a bit worrisome. Maybe C&R will be mandatory next year.

BTW, I assume you meant that the river flows are 11 m^3/s, not that the water is 11 cm deep? I find it confusing when people use cm or cms to indicate cubic metres per second, when of course that is actually the metric linear abbreviation.

Hope you have a good off season -- time to start tying!


Earle Fletcher
10-06-2009, 12:19 PM
Pierre, many of the rivers south of the St. Lawrence in Quebec and the rivers of New Brunswick also experienced very small runs of grilse this year. This doesn't bode well for the run of 2 year salmon for next year. On the Miramichi they count the number of smolts going to sea. The number of smolts in the spring of 2008 were quite low, and they expected to have a corresponding small run of grilse this year. I imagine the smolt production in the rest of the rivers was low too. What caused this smolt problem? Pierre, what are your thoughts about what caused the small runs of grilse this year? Do you think the big flood of 2 years ago had anything to do with it?

Earle Fletcher

10-06-2009, 05:55 PM
We had a huge run of grilse in 2008. We had a better % of mature fish in 2009. On the Matane, the water conditions and timing helped more survive to spawn and help sustain our stock.

Now that the counting is over, I feel that more fish came through in big numbers when the water rose at season's end.

The big flood two years ago certainly took its toll visually and thus internally. The river is still healing from those wounds.

I am glad to see that the fish won this year.

10-06-2009, 06:19 PM
"Huge Grilse runs in '08" ."Great 2 MSW runs in '09 = HMMMMMMM ? Great 3 msw runs in '10:smokin: !!
Hey Ian ,what patterns you going to tye ? :lildevl:
C&R IS catching on all over Qc. One Qc. river has a 2 maybe 3 yr. program /study on C&R and its affects .Anglers have to punch a piece out of the fish's Adiposal fin,and bottle it in the profided container . One or two fish already had 2 punch marks when caught !!
As far as the Matane River's "damage" a river changes AND heals ! When the Matane announced the sinking line ban ,unfortunately it was already too late to change plans and head over there .Howie, I predict an INCREASE in fishing activity next yr.

11-09-2009, 06:42 PM
Now that the counting is over, I feel that more fish came through in big numbers when the water rose at season's end.

The big flood two years ago certainly took its toll visually and thus internally. The river is still healing from those wounds.

I am glad to see that the fish won this year.


I do not believe in a large number of fish after sept. 30th. This is the common argument in Matane to avoid to take a decision. But the main reason why the salmon stop going up river when water become low on this river, this is not the main flow directly, this the water temperature transition. With the dam, with a low flow and high water temperature, fish come with tidal water at 50-52 F and have no transition area to gradualy pass to higher water temperature. So when the tidal goes back, the water became too warm to quickly, and they go back to the sea. But after mid september, these condition where not there anymore, since the river temperature was almost the same than the sea. Even at 5 cubic meter per second, the river has enough water to allow fish to pass the fishway. And most did.

Now regarding the flood. In fact, there was another flood in 2006. Lower than the one in 2007, but right in the critical period. Is it the main reason why grilse run decreased? For this year, I don't think. But I would expect to see an effect fr the next couple season. The one in 2007 is going to have an effect, at least on the Matane, since the spawning bed disapeared in many area of the river. Eggs just can't have stayed there suspended in the water...

Globaly, the run of grilse was low in 2009, but on the Matane, it was not low. It was catatrophic. And this river is going to hit the wall soon if nothing is done to change things. 2010 should ring the bell...

11-12-2009, 11:41 AM

I am no scientific expert although common sense tells me that releasing breeders is best to sustain the fishery. The Matane ZEC seems unable to assess the value of long term sustainability versus the drop in short term cash revenues. I don't have much confidence in them changing.

On another note, year after year I've read predictions that meant little once the new season starts. Hopefully we all will have some decent fish in the river next year.

I also hope that the new ban on sinking lines will be enforced, yet it seems the poachers have more muscle on the river than the wardens. Last year I never saw Luke once. Seems he is keeping a low profile. From what I saw, I think the wardens on the river could be quite intimidated if they are challenged.....which they will be.