Our last group was made up of a mix of seasoned pros and 4 anglers who have not fished atlantic salmon before. We are very happy to report that despite what we consider tough conditions, all of our anglers hooked into fish. Sea-run trout were also coming into the river and they presented some action for our guests as well. Sometimes our guides get a little disappointed here on the Eagle when some of our anglers are only hooking one or two a day. We consider that very tough fishing. But one guest, a regular to the Miramichi River, put it in perspective for us when he said, "I've had fishing here this week as good as I have ever had on the Miramichi". That makes us feel a lot better and realize...maybe we're spoiled! :P
This entire season was a great year. We met some great new guests and were ever so pleased to see our repeating guests again. We are happy to report that all of our bookings for next year thus far are 100% repeats. For that we have to thank this world class river for it's resource, a stellar team of employees at our lodge who make the experience happen, and you our guests for allowing us the opportunity to serve you and turn the wonderful resource we have into an industry.
Taking a look back over the fishing year, it was a great one. We don't have our hook stats compiled yet but the year started with a bang, and it continued for 5 solid weeks before water conditions started to slow the action. Much like 2012, it was a crying shame that we did not have guests here for the week of June 21-28th. There were a solid number of very large fish in the river and conditions were excellent for fishing prime high water locations like 'Back River', 'Broken Rubber', 'Sand Bar', 'Inside Governor's' and other popular high water spots. Our rookie guide landed the first salmon of the year for the lower river in that week and the success our guides had just testing the waters in the evening was enough to say that had there been guests here, they would have had some fantastic play time, and with some 18-23lb silver bullets fresh from the ocean. We will be promoting that week hard in the future as it truly is worth coming to fish our first large fish of the year.
From that first week the water made a steady decline for the whole season. A look back at the water charts shows a near perfect slope which made for an incredibly good fishing season over the first 4-5 weeks and the highest we recorded our water temps this year was 68 degrees. It stayed in the mid to low 60's for most of the season. Just fantastic water temps. The first couple of weeks of guests had large fish action possibly better than we have ever seen. This year a high ratio of large salmon to grilse seemed to stretch out much longer than usual and until mid July our large fish rate was around 45-50% of total hookups.
Then the moon did it's thing and around the 14th-15th the main run of grilse started to hit the river. Hook rates were excellent and the smiles around the river and camp spoke for themselves. By end of July the water level started to slow the action. Our saving grace was cool nights which kept our water temps way down. We still had good action in the top producing pools but the challenge with low water is that there were not as many top producing pools as there normally are, so your time in them certainly becomes more valuable. 'Airforce', 'Pole Rock', 'The Bathtub', 'The Shower', and 'The Boulder Field' became the hotspots and we had guys getting some sweet action in them but of course we had to share!:)
Overall, a great season. It could have been made perfect by some mid July rain, but do we ever see it perfect? That's salmon fishing. We eat sleep and breath it for 2 months every year, and that is a privilege. Once again, thank you to all who have made our season a success, and thank you to all who follow our 'Eagle River Report'...obviously, you love the Eagle as much as we do! Wherever you are wetting a line, may it be tight, and we look forward to seeing you next year.