Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Friday, 31 March 2017


I'm lost for words at this latest disgrace in fisheries management ... closing the Northwest Miramichi River below the Red Bank bridge for 3 weeks at a time of your (DFO's) discretion? Based on what? What is the lower limit (I've heard rumors of Cassilis)? How is this going to affect outfitters? How is this going to affect the striper cup? How is this going to affect shore anglers who have few options and even fewer places to fish?

This issue is by your (DFO's) own numbers, there are currently, AT MINIMUM, ten times the number of spawning fish required for the population to self sustain and this number continues to trend upwards year after year under current recreational fishing practices. So where's the justification for this closure? Why are you blaming anglers for an issue that doesn't exist? What year class of juvenile is rumored to be appearing in lower numbers? Where is the science to support this and why are you assuming it's anglers and not the fungus frequently being observed on bass up and down the river? What are your efforts towards studying this fungus/disease and are you concerned of the overpopulation that's occurring due to ongoing protection of bass? What role does Quebec repopulation play in this? Are you finally abandoning science in favor of opinion and political based management?

I suppose next there'll be an announcement that you're allowing grilse tags for the 2017 angling season for "socioeconomic reasons" (instead of science) while ignoring the same during your 3 week bass shutdown on the NW ---- don't forget the outfitters and other businesses who will be affected during this unjustified shutdown.

Link to DFO's page:

Notice to Recreational Anglers

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Gulf Region

Striped Bass Recreational Fishery in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017

Moncton, New Brunswick – March 31, 2017 - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) today approved the Plan for Striped Bass Recreational Fishing in the waters adjacent to the Maritime Provinces in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence for 2017.
This year, fishing days are added, distinct seasons are established for tidal and inland waters, and retention of Striped bass is authorized every day of the fishing season.
  • In 2017 , the Striped bass fishing season in tidal waters of the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will take place from April 15 to October 31;
  • In 2017, the Striped bass fishing season in inland waters of New Brunswick* and Nova Scotia draining in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and inland waters of Prince Edward Island will be from May 1 to September 15 (*inland waters of the Miramichi River system: from April 15 to October 15);
  • Retention of Striped bass will be authorized every day of the open fishing season.
During the 2017 season, anglers will be able to retain a maximum of one Striped bass per day and will be prohibited from possessing more than one (1) striped bass at any given time from April 15 to June 14 and from September 1 to October 31, and two (2) Striped bass from June 15 to August 31.
The following management measures will apply during the 2017 Striped bass recreational fisheries:
  • The size window for the retention fishery is established at a minimal length of 50 cm and at a maximum length of 65 cm. The length is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail (total length);
  • Angling activities will begin two hours before sunrise and end two hours after sunset of each day;
  • The use of a non-offset barbless circle hook is mandatory when bait is used while fishing for striped bass in tidal waters.
  • NEW: Closure of the Northwest Miramichi River spawning ground to all angling during the spawning period. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will issue a variation order closing all angling for a duration of 3 weeks in an area of the Northwest Miramichi River below the Red Bank Bridge once concentrations of Striped bass are observed spawning. A closure notice will be posted on the DFO Gulf Region Recreational fisheries Internet page
Anyone wishing to report suspicious fishing activity anonymously is asked to contact the nearest Fisheries and Oceans Canada office or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
See the 2017 recreational fishing plan for Striped bass in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

For more information on this fishery, please contact:

Frédéric Butruille
A/Regional Senior Fisheries Management Officer
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Moncton, New Brunswick
Honourable Dominic LeBlanc (Minister of Fisheries & Oceans) 506-533-5700 (hill office 613-992-1020)

I encourage everyone to call or write to DFO to tell them how you feel and demand an explanation behind closing the Northwest Miramichi for 3 weeks..


And in case you're wondering, I'm the pr!ck holding the dead bass...

Please contact the following people to let them know how you feel about the 2017 striped bass regulations:

DFO Management
Frederic Butruille
ph: (506)851-7358

Minister of Fisheries & Oceans
Dominic LeBlanc
ph: (506)533-5700

Member of Parliament (Miramichi)
Pat Finnigan
ph: (506) 778-8448

Thursday, 30 March 2017

New Logo!

Thanks to Matthew Buckley & Bill Lendorf for making this new logo - I'm finally getting down to using it and it looks great on these fly "mailers"!

It will be making its debut at an N.S. fundraiser in the near future so keep your eyes peeled :)

(Update - a dozen bugs and a Double J heading to N.S. tomorrow)

Oh and just because this is cool, a .gif that Paul made from the NWM last season.

We're just a whisker away from the N.B. season opener on the 15th of April - will the rivers be open and fishable? *fingers crossed*

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Fishing Story - as ripped from the pages of NSFLYGUY..

In lieu of a properly written blog post, here's a story about a 42" fish that Paul & I met on the North Pole stream last September with the details ripped from the pages of the **NSFLYGUY forum.

(**NSFLYGUY is the BEST salmon fishing discussion forum in Atlantic Canada, owned and operated by Mark Willigar - usually found here:

A couple videos of the event:
Paul's original edit: (if for some reason this doesn't play in HD - go to youtube and watch there:

Howie's edit - contains the battle, release & pleasant music:

A picture of Paul doing what he does when he's not coaching or photographing salmon battles:

An epic brookie caught by Paul (just because):


(Posts from other forum members have been removed so in case this "discussion" seems 1 sided - that's the reason!)

........Thanks a lot guys - I've still got a good buzz after that one.

DH (Jason), I know exactly the rock and alders you speak of - you used to be able to wade around the corner a little bit while hugging those alders but a lot of the sand has washed away and it drops off quite abruptly... I was standing as far and as deep as I could in the alders holding my rod "around the corner" when I hooked her - luckily it was deep enough that she cooperated and allowed me to work her back to the top of the pool and get better positioned before the fight really began.. we had no idea what we hooked until she jumped and then things went crazy... she was dogging down deep at the top of the pool when Paul said "make it jump" .. so I used the old tap the butt of the rod trick and about 6 taps in she started to lift off and then made a crazy run into my backing ... Paul said "you better make her work for that line" judging by how much backing I had left on my spool and luckily I was able to slow her down and turn her around. If that pool wasn't as deep and as long as it was it may have been a different story as she would come back each time. About 10 minutes in (I know this because Paul was videoing the whole thing) we made a tailing attempt as we had no net because we were backpacking for the day and beer seemed more important when we left the camp that morning - a no brainer, right? Anyhow, I handed Paul the rod because he wanted this fish landed or lost by me - and I can't say as I blame him. So as she got closer I got my first clear look at her silhouette against the sandbar ... I was excited before but now I was shaking, literally .... so with shaking hands, I reached for her tail - trying not to make a ripple (which was damned near impossible) and I gripped her by the "wrist" as firmly as I could and that's when she proceeded to thrash my arm, shoulder and entire upper body for what seemed like an eternity but was actually only about 3 seconds during which time I yelled "She's landed, this counts!" - and then off she went, somehow miraculously still pinned! I credit the large #4 ironed **"Faux GP" for this and the fact she was hooked perfectly in the scissors ... (**"Faux GP" which is actually a version of a General Practitioner by Emmett Johnson with a simplified wing arrangement - 3 wings is overkill and a waste of time and material, in my humble opinion)

The most important ingredient of the day was a shit ton of luck... So the battle continued for another 10-12 minutes, during which time Paul was offering encouragement while assuring me she was well hooked and that we were doing her no harm because the water temps were perfect for an extended fight, if necessary. Towards the end of this second 10-12 minute period she finally showed us her side and briefly submitted - a sign to NEVER be ignored when trying to land a fish. So Paul and I quickly did the rod hand off and this time she stayed in my firm grip as I held her under water, facing upstream for the entire duration of her captivity. I have to admit, I was "slightly" emotional while holding this beautiful female full of ripening eggs... So many thoughts went through my mind and I was flush with respect, admiration, gratitude and most of all bewilderment over how anyone could kill such a magnificent creature? And to be lucky enough to hook such a fish while having the kind of guy like Paul in my corner who really knocked it out of the park on camera/coaching detail.. that S7 phone of his is some piece of technology.. I have no words to describe how lucky I was that day, that more than any other factor led to me being able to share these pictures and this story with you guys - sorry for sounding corny but the entire experience has been truly humbling.

She was tagged!

Tag info. from DFO:

Gary (Tanner), you'd have been proud - as close as I got to an actual green machine on that trip was a "Some Ugly" - A fly I have caught ONLY salmon on - no grilse, including a small salmon about a half hour earlier in the same pool and a fish of the same class as this one (broke off on a snag after a 15 minute fight) a few weeks earlier.

Thanks a lot guys, It's been a great season for me, my best in fact - we've had some tough days on the river when you really had to earn that 1 rise and we've had days where we raised and hooked a dozen. Landing percentage hasn't been terribly great but then again when having the action we've been lucky enough to have, landing them seems to matter less. I've seen some new water and fell in love with another river and a different style of fishing. Lightening up on smaller water has finally taken it's hold on me and I'm planning to add a 5/6 or 6/7 switch rod for next year - although I was some happy to have the backbone of my 8wt last Sunday.

The places we get to see, as salmon anglers, that average people have no clue exist is another amazing bonus to what we do. I feel I've learned a lot and swing or drift my fly more confidently but I know I have SO much more to learn about this sport and  species.  The craziest part of all of this, as I'm standing at the head of a pool before my first cast, pulling the fly line up through my guides, checking my leader for knots or nicks, wondering what fly I'm going to show them first - my hands shake with excitement and anticipation EVERY SINGLE TIME.