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When to fish


Length of season

The Miramichi opens for salmon fishing on April 15. The Southwest Miramichi headwaters close on September 30, and the rest of the system closes on October 15.

Spring Fishing

On April 15 the Miramichi system is still heavily populated with salmon that have spent the winter in the river after spawning. These fish are called kelts. They bite aggressively as they attempt to recondition and put on weight lost in spawning. This is a historic and very popular Miramichi fishery. The river is high and cold, and the fishing is generally done with sinking lines from boats. Kelt fishing lasts until May 15.

Spring salmon fishing

Spring salmon fishing


Summer Fishing

Salmon begin entering the Miramichi in late May, with the NW branch being known for the earliest arrivals. Mid-May through mid-June is also the most likely time to catch large, sea-run brook trout.

The famous “grilse run” typically begins during the first week of July, with the peak of the summer run occurring from the last week in June until the end of July.

Beyond these general guidelines, good fishing can take place anytime during the season with the right conditions. Even though late July through mid-August is normally the slowest part of the summer - often with warm and low water - a good rain and some cool mornings can bring in new fish and turn on those that are holding in the pools.

June Salmon

June Salmon


Autumn and Fall Fishing

The Miramichi is well-known for its very prolific fall run. The run starts the second week in September, reaches its peak the last week in September, and fresh fish are still arriving when the season closes on October 15.


Where to fish

The Miramichi River system has two main branches, each with significant tributaries that merge in the river’s brackish estuary. Both branches are historically known for their excellent fishing, and have been home to some very well-known outfitters, clubs, and private lodges.

The Northwest Miramichi, or “nor’west” as it is called, is physically smaller than the Southwest. The Northwest rises in the highlands on the north and west side of the watershed, and is rockier, cooler, faster running, smaller, more remote, and more intimate than the Southwest and its branches.

The Southwest Miramichi changes its character considerably as it flows down through streams draining the central highlands. From its origins down to Boiestown the river is larger, but otherwise similar in character to the Northwest. This area stays cooler during the hotter part of the summer, but fishing accommodations in this area are more difficult to find.

From Boiestown downstream to where the large tributary Cains River enters the Southwest Miramichi the river has a character of braided gravel channels. Early run summer salmon are often taken in this section in good numbers when the river is a little higher in level and the fish move rapidly through the lower river.

The Cains River is largely a fall-run river, with substantial numbers of fish holding in the lower three or four miles beginning in late summer, and then moving up towards the headwaters as the fall run progresses.

From the mouth of the Cains down to tidewater at Quarryville the Southwest Miramichi is a larger river. It is still predominately gravel bottom. This stretch of the river is well known for its summer and especially fall fishing. In the normal conditions of fall low water, fish entering the Miramichi will hold in the many large pools in this section while waiting for fall rains to lift the river so they can access their spawning grounds. Sometimes large numbers of salmon will come in and out of the Quarryville stretch with the tides, waiting for their time to run upriver.

The Renous River and its tributary the Dungarvon join the Southwest at Quarryville. The Renous and Dungarvon are highly regarded for their early summer fishing, and many lodges located on the Southwest and the Northwest have access to pools located on these streams.