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Fontinalis 10-10-2007 02:24 PM

Fish counts for the Gaspe rivers?
I haven't been able to dig up the final counts for the Gaspe rivers.
Anybody point me towards the data or relay the info here?

I assume they are fairly dismal numbers, but am curious.


Canadianflyfish 10-12-2007 02:47 PM

York Count
York river count was 155 grilse and 846 adult salmon for a total of 1001. Whitehouse gate went down with the high river in July so some salmon would be in the upper reaches of the river and not counted.

Final salmon count on the York river on September 19, 2006 with a total of 1058 salmon and 194 grilse counted for a total of 1252.

Salar-1 10-13-2007 07:29 AM

R u interested in all , or just the three ZEC Gaspé rivers ?
Matane 2745 !!!!!
Patapedia around 300
Rimouski 500 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bonaventure around 800 (should be adjusted ,due to the ton of fish above E ,that are not habitually include in the count )
Petite around 400
Grande Cascapedia around 700 :whoa:
The fish barrier on the Dartmouth also washed out
At least the Whitehouse barrier washout FINALLY stopped that carnival idiotic "fishing in an aquarium "

billg 10-13-2007 09:49 AM

As far as the counts go on the 3 Gaspe rivers ony 2 were done completely; the York and St. Jean. The Dartmouth would have required walking the length of the river (from just below the lake) because there was not enough water to canoe and/or swim the river. Thus, that count is not inclusive of the entire run.

The York, by the way, was counted way, way upriver and that count is complete (according to the Director of the zec; he showed me the count on Sept 27th. Bottom line there is simple: the run of adult salmon was down by 25% year over year. Equally disturbing was the grilse count which dropped by 25%. Both of these point to a poor year next year; if the number of 2 sea winter salmon dropped that means the 15-40lb salmon (multiple spawners) will be low next year AS WILL the 2 sea winter fish. I get no joy out of saying that because it affects everyone, including my clients.

I never saw the final count on the St. Jean (on paper) but the numbers I was given by guardians and the Director show a large drop there as well.

I am not sure if Brian is right about tons of fish in the sanctuary of the Bonnie; there are certainly fish there but no one saw tons heading upstream this season.

Petite Cas is probably down 40% and the Grande Cas about 70% year over year. For many (not all) rivers this was a very bad year in terms of salmon runs (I have heard this about European rivers as well) and the low grilse runs do not give great signs for next year.

I only wish the river managers on the rivers where the runs declined sharply this year (and which saw low returns of grilse) would proacitvely manage their rivers and go C&R for at least next year (5 years would be great but in Quebec that is asking for a miracle). Unfortunately, the desire to manage a kill fishery and to maximize revenue (and to pay for ill-conceived projects like the Taj Mahal) places the salmon somewhere down on the list of immediate priorities. That said, I head the Bonnie will be C&R at the beginning of the season. That is a needed change; a better change would be an entire year of C&R but it is a good first step.

By the way, North Shore Quebec Rives did get good runs of salmon from what I have heard. Why such poor runs elsewhere? Who knows. I asked a director of the ASF and no one is for certain; there is a hope that more fish are yet to enter the rivers but I am not subscribing to that theory as the river temps and conditions were ideal for the better part of the entire season. It was the best June, July, and August in terms of water levels and temps that we have seen in seveal years.

Bill Greiner

Fontinalis 10-15-2007 02:18 PM

I know for a fact that many Gaspe anglers and guides read this board constantly, but I'm disappointed that not many post, especially to talk about a serious issue like the one we're facing from this year's runs.
I know that not many lodge owners/guides and outfitters want to scare away potential clients by talking about low runs in a public forum, but unless something is done about it (like instituting more C&R, which I know in Quebec is like pi$$ing into the wind - I know, I lived there for 13 years), the situation isn't likely to improve.
Any theories floated out there yet for the cause? Seems strange to me that both grilse and 2 year fish are down this year. The optimist in me wants to believe that a number of the fish delayed by sea ice simply elected to not spawn this year, and they'll show up next year. Probably wishful thinking though.

QuebecSporting 10-15-2007 05:20 PM

Hello Fontinalis,

I can say that for myself, I am (still) waiting to see a copy of the counts.
I was at the Zec office at the end of the season and they had no confirmed or written numbers to give me then. (That was October 1)
We all know the gates fell on all three rivers, so it will be difficult to get an exact estimate.
We fished over fish right through September 30th.
Again, Petit Sauimon, in sector 1 was holding fresh fish (small and big)..about 30 fish ..September 30th!!
Sector 4 (Gros Saumon) ..I was guiding there with another guide, and we could see
very large fish,,,(silver) which I thought should have been in the river in early June.
Go Figure, was weird year.
As soon as I hear from the Zec, I'll let you know my findings, but then again, it will be an approximate count!!
Is there a pattern?? Some say every 7 years etc... Wish I knew!! :rolleyes:

There's good years and bad years, fishing is fishing.... !!

Me too, I wonder, like you..."that a number of the fish delayed by sea ice simply elected to not spawn this year, and they'll show up next year".

We'll see what happens next season....maybe we are right!!!! :smokin:



billg 10-16-2007 02:53 PM


I do not think anyone is trying to drive people away by posts. I have been accurate in what I have posted relative to runs. They were down (I am talking about York, Dartmouth, St. Jean, Grande, Pabos, Bonaventure, Grand Cas, Petite Cas, Ste Anne, Cap Chat, Madeline) from 2006 and 2005. That is indisputable and unfortunate. At least 1 river manager (you can probably guess who) did not paint that picture, but instead made it seem as though the runs were on time and the same as last year. That is misleading or dishonest depending upon how you want to look at the motive for his statements.

Ann: I did see the numbers for the York in Jean's office (we went over it together) and it took into account the fish above White House. The Dartmouth count was incomplete for sure as they did not count the upper stretches of that river and we know fish do go close to Lake Dartmouth. The St. Jean was not shown to me either, even though it was completed. The pools as far as Murray Brook were counted and the final number was definately lower than last year but I am not comfortable stating it since I did not see it (I heard the final number from a very reliable source). I believe that this number will not be shown to you, me or anyone until the Government publishes it next spring is to not show the public the real count as the zec attempts to fill the Taj Mahal (that ought to be interesting).

Why are the numbers down? No one knows for sure. Maybe it is a cycle like Ann says; maybe it is an issue at sea. It is too widespread (Canada, Europe, etc) to presume it was related to flooding after spawning 5 years ago.

What can be done? The only solution I have is catch and release of all large salmon for a period of 5 years. To many this does not seem unreasonable; to others it may seem like an eternity. AT THE VERY LEAST 1 year of C&R would be the most prudent measure that can be taken but that is very unlikely to happen either. Certain zecs rely too heavily on revenue from anglers looking to kill salmon (that is the sole reason the St. Jean River was opened for killling large salmon-- so they could fill the Taj-- it did not work but salmon were killed by other anglers as a result of that move) and they are unlikely to potentially drive some of that business away, particularly after a poor year like 2007 when runs were down, rod days were down, and revenues were down.

Like Ann, I have to work with what we have and will ultimately find the best water available givenn circumstances. The best solution for all is more fish. It just makes sense to put everything back so that at least our impact as anglers is negligible to a run of salmon.

Bill Greiner

Salar36 10-16-2007 04:07 PM


Originally Posted by Salar-1
R u interested in all , or just the three ZEC Gaspé rivers ?
Matane 2745 !!!!!
Patapedia around 300
Rimouski 500 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bonaventure around 800 (should be adjusted ,due to the ton of fish above E ,that are not habitually include in the count )
Petite around 400
Grande Cascapedia around 700 :whoa:
The fish barrier on the Dartmouth also washed out
At least the Whitehouse barrier washout FINALLY stopped that carnival idiotic "fishing in an aquarium "

Brian, Patapedia is for sure over 300, since they had more than that only in Fork at the mid season count. They were in 500 range on July 31st, if the usual pattern is there, it should be around 800-900.

For the Matapedia, the count was in the 1300 MSW range in low visibility condition, sow 1300 is a minimal estimation. But in the Matapedia and Patapedia, very few grilse which is a major concern for next year. Globaly, the Restigouche watershed seems to be not that bad compared with the Baie des Chaleurs rivers, like Grand Cascapedia and Bonnie

On the St Lawrence side, it is around the average everywhere, for both MSW and grilses. Regarding the Matane, you must add 118 fish to the final count -fish caught bellow the dam-, so the total number is 2871. With around 1300 grilses, there is no concern there for next year. Same thing for Rimouski, with more than 500 fish (for the first time), including arond 375 grilses. But in this case, the fact they are still under a stocking programm change the reality.

Sagenay and North Shore are also in good shape

Regarding Bill's sugegstion, I would have another one; open water everywhere with no access fees and catch and release for all MSW. So no more conflict about who will get which water, no more concern about who is the best or the worst management, and equality of chances in access for everybody ;)

billg 10-16-2007 04:30 PM


Interesting suggestion. No access fees for anyone would mean that the Government (Quebec taxpayers) would have to subsidize the costs of protection, access (roads, trails), infrastructure, etc. Do you think they would be up for those costs? I have no idea about the total cost of such an undertaking but I would suspect it would be several million dollars.

Here is a counter proposal:

Catch and release for all MSW as you suggest. Mandatory outfitting or guiding for non-residents (there is a moratorium for new outfitting liceneses and the same could be done for authorizations of commerce which the LEGAL guides need to obtain). No commercial enterprise (outfitter or guide service) could have more than 2 rods per river in a limited zone per day (there would be no limit as to how many rods could be sent by that business to open waters). This would reduce non-resident pressure on rivers and ensure that most of the limited zones would be available to residents (there could be an opportunity for these businesses to pick up unused limited zone rods the day of fishing that were not bought by residents in the 48 hour draw to ensure no lost revenue). Further, it would allow businesses to offer fishing in controlled (limited access) zones for a certain number of customers in order to charge a rate that ensures a viable business and the employment that results. These rods could be part of the 20% rule or could be obtained thru draws (the current draw system, in my opinion, needs to be reformed to 1 card for 1 angler).

Net result; no large, wild salmon being killed. Priority access for resident anglers. A place (albeit not a large place) for commercial operations who provide jobs and revenue for the economies, and an opportunity for the rivers to finance themselves without taxpayer subsidies.

The best way to eliminate foolish mamagers is to have their members vote them out if they end up either destroying the resource or bankrupting the organization over foolish plans.

Bill Greiner

Salar36 10-16-2007 04:48 PM

"Interesting suggestion. No access fees for anyone would mean that the Government (Quebec taxpayers) would have to subsidize the costs of protection, access (roads, trails), infrastructure, etc. Do you think they would be up for those costs? I have no idea about the total cost of such an undertaking but I would suspect it would be several million dollars."

Let's see couple things. Acces road are, in the major part, already paid by the government. No revenu from the ZEC pay for the roads in most fo the rivers.

Protection now. Except for the place where there is a gate, could you please tell me how many poachers has been arrested in the last 20 years with the protection from ZECs? I am confident for number lower than 10, for all ZECS in the province. Personaly, I have always considered anglers are the best protectors, and we had couple very good example in the last couple years ont he Matane and Matapedia. Infrastructure now. Which part of your access fee goes for infratructure? Around nothing! Most of what you see have been paid by programm!!! And having a pic nic table might be funny, but it will not stop me to go fishing.

Basicaly, the model based on ZEC and Wildflife reserve has always been justified to control the access based primary on a conservation concern. If there is no kill, there no concern no? (or less) So why having a heavy management structure ion that situation. And on an economic standpoint, what is the best, 100 people spending 100$ per day in the area, or 40 people spending 100 $ per day in the area and 50$ for the ZEC? Outfitters and gudie will anyway have bussiness from people looking for all included services, exactly like on the Margaree. People looking for more "elitic" package will always have the north shore and Ungava outfitters available ;)

So let's go to C & R everywhere, open water everywhere, and let's all folks fishing , having fun and promote conservation and species protection :)

billg 10-16-2007 05:14 PM


The roads on the Dartmouth, St. Jean (both sides of the river), Grande, and Pabos West and Petite Pabos are the responsibilities of those zecs to maintain (new culverts were put in on the Dartmouth in 2005 or 2006 and were paid by the zec as was a bridge (not the bridge washed away by the August floods) and the grading, etc is done by the zecs. The road on the Pabos North is maintained by the Zec des Anses and every salmon angler pays a right of access fee to pass on the road as part of their fishing pass. Grande river could not afford to maintain road 2 years ago and I agreed to pay a higher price (30% more) for the block of rods so that they could do the maintenance that was necessary.

As for protection the Grande River was netted at least twice this year (in July if you need specifics) after the gate fell down. I will not comment more on that but fish were lost and the fact that they can only afford 2 guardians on the zec shows that more is needed. If you think that no other netting occurs I would (unfortunately) suggest that you are naive. Again, I will not elaborate but can assure you that this is not conjecture.

I will also tell you that on the St. Jean River within the past 5 years salmon were pitchfored out at night on several occassions at Big Indian on the St. Jean. The number of guardians on that river (and the others we fish) is inadequate. When the zecs do not have large revenue (Grande and Pabos) or mismanage themselves (Gaspe) and see revenues decline by 15-20% the first thing that gets cut is protection. Correct me if I am wrong but the zecs were mandated by the Govt to provide protection on the rivers in return for management. If they fail to do so they can loose their management agreement. :tsk_tsk:

Additionally, the Dartmouth has seen many salmon with flies in their backs even when the river was C&R. If someone wants to take a fish they will, regardless of rules and regulations.

I would also suggest that if all of the rivers were C&R there would be some that would be determined to take fish because of the regulation of C&R.

Maybe all of the other Quebec rivers have seen poaching go to zero but not the ones on the tip. I would venture a guess that it is still alive, though not as bad as it was 20 years ago.

At least we now seem to agree on Catch and Release of Large, Wild Atlantic Salmon.

Bill Greiner

Salar36 10-16-2007 06:33 PM

Bill, poaching is still alive, for sure, but protection from a ZEC or a Reserve is nothing else than dissuasive for light poaching and certainly not effective for heavy poaching. I am still to see a guard to arrest is neighbour after this one advised him he should be better to stay quiet for the health of is children. In fact, in the past, the period where these rivers were the most poached was during the period they were operate by private club, which was the period where they had the highest number of guardian. The Grande Rivers you mentioned was under control of a french. The last year he was responsible of the whole river, only 79 fish were counted on spawn...

I know the ZEC has responsabilyt for a road in some case, but most pay that with "Volet 2" project, so gouvernment project anyway.

As far as I know, if these fish have been able to cross the ocean on the road to their rivers, they must be able to swim couple more miles alone...

billg 10-16-2007 07:14 PM


No doubt poaching was higher in the Club days then today. Much of it had to do with the absecnce of accessibility for local anglers as well as an accepted part of culture (it was an honor in certain places from what I am told).

It has not gone away any more than poaching of moose and deer have disappeared either. It is not as prevalent but it still exists.

Presuming that poaching is gone the loss of jobs would be unacceptable by local communities. In the case of the Grande, those 2 jobs support 2 families. In Gaspe, there are roughly 18 guardians for the 3 rivers. Even though their hours and weeks were clearly cut back this year due to budgetary constraints, they still support their families through their work. Fact is that poaching still exists, albeit it less than it was 20 years ago, and it will continue and need to be dealt with.

I am not familiar with the road program you are speaking about. However, I can tell you that the 3 zecs I deal with are responsible for the roads and they must budget for grading, maintenance, and repairs of the roads, bridges, and culverts out of their revenue. If you look, for example, at the Zec Gaspe, their revenue in 2006 was around $1,000,000 (including the Pavillion now Taj which did just shy of $400,000 in revenue). Net profit was around $90,000 which means that costs, including salaries, repairs and maintenace, etc amounted to around $900,000. To simply make the fishery free (subisidized by tax dollars) likely will not fly.

I am all for the Catch and Release component though.

Bill Greiner

wilson 10-16-2007 07:57 PM

Folks, I've said it before and I'll say it again, go to Google Earth and look at the cutting or burns that affect these rivers. It was only a matter of time before one hot summer or exceptionally cold winter put a run or two at risk. I'm fine with altering the angling plan, and even paying more, but I want to see the land and rivers protected. They just plain need more habitat up there.

I don't know the specific case and will have to dig it up but severely depressed WC Steelhead runs have been saved by steps to improve habitat improvement without changing angling practices beyond C&R. The issue of habitat degradation is missing in this whole debate. Like I said, I'm happy to pay more, as long as it goes towards the health of the resource and not a shiny new cleaning station (sends quite the message there).

What would it take to get the fisheries managers at the table or at least tell us who to write to in order to find out what is being done regarding habitat management?


billg 10-17-2007 06:00 AM

Hi Chris:

You are right on relative to habitat destruction. Anyone who has been to the branches (particularly salmon branch) of the Grand Cascapedia has seen clear cutting at its worse. On the York and St. Jean they are now cutting massive amounts of trees (at a time when lumber is fetching almost nothing) and the Dartmouth has already experienced large cuts and that has had an impact on water temps and fluctuations. In Gaspe, they have said there is a person or persons on the zec board whose responsibility is to monitor cutting plans and to push for reduced cuts and minimizing the environmental impact of cutting. If that is true then someone is asleep at the switch. If it is not true then someone needs to step forward before it is too late.

I will not forget a day I had up in the wading sector of the G-Cas a few year back. I was fishing pool 80 and then walked downstream. In the river were a couple of forestry people from a University. They said they were studying silt build up to see if the massive logging had any sort of impact on the river. I was suprised that in 2001 that there was no scientific evidence that loggin had an impact and was surely grateful that these folks were "looking into things":confused:

Fact is, though, that not every river has seen the massive cutting like the rivers I am mentioning. And, with runs down everywhere worldwide there has to be more to it than just poor logging practices. That is not to say that poor logging practices have not had an impact; they surely do overtime. My fear is that something is occuring at sea and I am not sure what it is.

A year or so ago Dave Bishop told me about a fungus that was showing up on salmon entering the Grand Cas. I would like to know more/hear more about that.

Bill Greiner

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