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Salmon rivers re-opening to catch-and-release angling as environmental conditions improve

Closed salmon rivers across the province are beginning to re-open to catch and release angling as environmental conditions improve.
Closed salmon rivers across the province are beginning to re-open to catch and release angling as environmental conditions improve.

GANDER, NL – As water temperatures drop and water levels rise, some closed rivers across the province are being re-opened to catch-and-release angling.

Jason Simms with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said re-opening numerous rivers in Zones 6,7,9,10 and 11 indicates that environmental conditions are getting better for salmon.

The department says temperatures of 18 degrees and lower are the best conditions for salmon. 

“Somewhere around mid-late July we started to get into low rain fall and warm temperatures,” Simms said. “Great summers come with some draw backs – one of them is closing rivers.” 

Simms said the decision to close rivers is based on a number of factors provided by key players on the rivers. 

“We work with local fishery guardians who are on the rivers to monitor conditions,” he said. “They’ll observe conditions, take water temperatures, water levels, and provide photographs, and we also keep an eye on the local forecast.”

Input is also sought from experienced anglers. 

Moving into mid-August, Simms said cooler temperatures and more precipitation should bode well for the remaining 61 closed rivers.

“In terms of nighttime temperatures and a bit more precipitation on the way, it is anticipated that we will see some of these rivers opened in the coming days and weeks,” he said. 

However, better environmental conditions will have no bearing on whether retention angling will be reintroduced this season. All retention angling was prohibited earlier this month because of poor salmon counts throughout the province.

“The environmental conditions are not uncommon for us to do on an annual basis, so it’s not going to really reflect on the decision to retention for salmon,” he said. “That’s really a reflection of what we’ve seen from our science advice, in terms of returns overall for the island of Newfoundland, which has (had) a really challenging year.”

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