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.