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The 2006 angling season is they say, “history” and now is the time for reflections of a healthy river, a superb angling season and to plan for 2007.

2006 – Strong runs of both large salmon and grilse started to appear in the main stem Southwest Miramichi River around mid-June. With good water conditions, runs remained strong until mid-July, then tapering off, as is the norm, picking up again with the start of the Fall run in mid-September continuing strong beyond the October 15 end of the angling season. Statistics from The Miramichi Salmon Association and Fisheries and Oceans Canada indicate 2006 returns of both salmon and grilse exceeded the mean since 1985, making 2006 one of recent history’s best!

Anglers of course shared in the bounty of these strong runs. Early season (until mid–July) anglers reported good numbers of salmon and grilse in all the pools from the headwaters to the estuary. Traditional wet and dry fly patterns were the norm and reports of many salmon over 20 lbs. and a handful over 30 lbs. being brought to hand were heard up and down the river.

From mid-July as water levels dropped and temperatures increased, the fish once again sought cold water and pooled-up in numbers. Patience and finesse with small (down to 12’s) wet flies like the green machine, brown buck bugs, green butt bear hairs and drys, bombers, bombers, bombers brought success.

Water temperatures dropped and levels were good as the fall run started (and never stopped). Reports of patterns being used were as varied as the anglers themselves, it seemed whatever was your personal preference worked. One trio of anglers fishing the same pool on the same day at the same time were each using very different flies, one an orange Ally’s shrimp, one a size 8 green butt bear hair and the other a big blue bomber. The results, all three anglers brought salmon to hand! Of note during the Fall run, anglers reported many bright hen fish in the 12 to 20 lb. range, a handful of hook billed males and only a few grilse. While it seemed the majority of fish being caught were hens in the 12 to 20 lb. range, reports of 35 lb. plus brutes being brought to hand were
not uncommon.

An added bonus for Atlantic salmon anglers were large numbers of brook trout, both sea-run and river natives.

2007- Estimated smolt escapement in 2006 was over 1.3 million up from 0.5 million in 2001. This 2006 number, considered to a minimum estimate as the smolt collection wheel was not operational for three days during the peak migration period speaks well for continued healthy Atlantic salmon runs and great angling for 2007 and beyond.
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