Capelin Calendar

Capelin are small fish that come to our beaches every year to spawn, their arrival is a spectacle that draws in thousands of birds and whales, but the exact date of the event is difficult to predict. The Capelin Calendar is a place to discuss and share capelin sightings from all around Newfoundland.

Sharing information

At the start of summer, many people visit capelin-hotspots like Middle Cove beach to see if the capelin are rolling or not. If you have any capelin news, please share it here, it’s as easy as leaving a response at the bottom of this page.

>> Skip to the capelin news

Capelin activity through the years

To see what capelin activity was like in previous years, you can browse back through years of comments or watch the years roll by in this abridged version of the Capelin Calendar:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About this capelin data

From 2005 to 2008, the dates quoted above were derived from a flickr search. From 2009 onwards, the dates are based upon personal observations and crowd-sourced capelin sightings reported on the Capelin Calendar and on various social media.

Capelin in the East Coast Trail Guide

Because capelin are so important to Newfoundland’s coastal wildlife, they feature prominently in the East Coast Trail Guide, a digital photo book and trail guide now available on iBooks:


1,237 Responses to Capelin Calendar

  1. WWWM says:

    Any one see the fishes coming?

  2. Tj says:

    Caplin landing lancove beach cbs

  3. Jennifer says:

    People were catching some with cast nets and long dip nets tonight around 9 at outer cove, few people at the beach. Not rolling but people were able to catch some!! Middle cove seemed like there wasn’t much activity.

  4. lori says:

    Heard they rolled yesterday in Chamberlins

  5. Cyril says:

    Just back from Middle Cove/ Outer Cove. As has been happening all week, the capelin are a few feet offshore and can only be caught with cast nets. In spite of reports of capelin rolling, I don’t think a main spawning event has occurred yet. There is no evidence of spawn along the beach. According to sources on capelin behaviour the males show up first and wait just offshore for the females. When they show up then the serious rolling ( spawning) occurs. So it’s all up to the ladies.

  6. Cyril says:

    To add to my previous comment, a 5 gallon bucket of capelin had only 3 females indicating that the main mass of females haven’t arrived yet. I think the best is yet to come.

  7. yu says:

    is there have capelin today?

  8. mckrobx says:

    Had great luck at Chapel Cove a couple of years ago… anyone know if they’ve been there yet this year?

  9. Jacquie says:

    Any sightings?

  10. Charlotte says:

    At Lance cove now and nothing happening yet.

  11. Paul W C says:

    Caplin arrived at bellevue beach yesterday according to the Park’s Facebook page.

  12. Paul W C says:

    I’ll be at Bellevue tomorrow night, I’ll post some updates then.

  13. lori says:

    The beach in Topsail is full of spawn

  14. Cierradiaz says:

    Rollin in middle cove beach

    • newfoundsander says:

      Hi Cierradiaz, thanks for sharing that update here!

      Did you actually see the capelin rolling onto the beach today, or were they a few feet from the beach, with people going in catching them with nets?

  15. dgj says:

    Where too?

  16. John says:

    Just came back from outer cove. We were in between 7:30-8:30 am-no one there. Capelin were rolling and its like black waves. Pick them up with bare hands.

  17. Jessica foley says:

    Any word on if the capelin are in at witless bay?

  18. Karen says:

    anything rolling in middle cove or outer cove tonight? ?

  19. Sheri says:

    Anything rolling in Lewisporte?

  20. David Beckham says:

    Hopefully this isn’t offshore spawning

  21. jasper says:

    Does anyone know good cod jigging spots near St.John’s? I was jigging in Portugal Cove and it is slippery and dangerous in current weather.

  22. newfoundsander says:

    Did you guys see the aerial video of a humpback eating capelin in Ferryland yet?

  23. David Beckham says:

    There is trout fishing in three arms pond , paddys pond etc basically every pond nearby though I don’t know about the season.

  24. Rachel says:

    Is there any information about capelin in middle cove?

    • newfoundsander says:

      Hi Rachel,

      the capelin rolled on Middle Cove beach 2 weeks ago and were then close to the beach for a while afterwards. Since that time I haven’t heard much about Middle Cove, but capelin have been reported on several other beaches.

      One theory is that there will be a second spawning event on Middle Cove beach, this has happened before.

      If anybody has recent information about Middle Cove & Outer Cove it would be greatly appreciated if you shared it here :)


  25. Edward Martin says:

    Capelin rolling in Witless Bay this morning!

  26. FlyingEye says:

    Rolling like crazy @ Bryant’s Cove today!

  27. newfoundsander says:

    Capelin rolling in Sleepy Cove near Twillingate too.

  28. Frank says:

    they arrived at Leading Tickles today!

  29. Troy says:

    I was visiting Twillingate on July 23/2015 and saw thousand of Capelin coming in on the beach. They say it was an abnormal time of year for this to happen there. The Capelin come in usually in late May or early June. Unusually cold wether must have brought them in late this year.

    • newfoundsander says:

      Yes the cold water and weather seems to have thrown them off their ‘normal schedule’.
      Some towns, beaches and bays still haven’t seen them arrive.

  30. Susan Wdl says:

    anyone seeing Capelin on the Avalon – trinity bay coast/baccalieu trail area or near Placentia area?

    • newfoundsander says:

      Several people have seen them in Carbonear in the past few days, and 2 days ago they were seen rolling in Witless Bay.

  31. newfoundsander says:

    Nature Newfoundland and Labrador is hosting an event at Middle Cove beach today.

    Learn all about capelin and their spawning behaviour in an information session with Dr. Craig Purchase (MUN Biology).

  32. Rocknice says:

    Capelin is rolling in middle cove!!!

  33. Karen Hickey says:

    Was there this evening between 8:30- 9:30. No Caplin rolling then, but there were people with their fishing rods catching cod! It was very nice as the beach wasn’t crowded much.

  34. Tony says:

    Not rolling but can catch some with net, but rolling at outer cove.

    • newfoundsander says:

      So a 2nd event at Outer Cove, just like in 2011!

      • Tony says:

        I went to middle cove for cod, and saw my friend’s picture taking at outer cove.
        It was so easy to catch.

        • Gregg says:

          Tony is it possible to catch cod from the shoreline I bet I can cast a few rods deep in the ocean put worms on them leave them for a few hours and see what I can catch if I do I’ll tell you guys with some pictures if it is possible to fish on the shore. I don’t see a lot of people fish from the shore on middle cove or outer cove. But if you go to the right places you can even catch mackerel from shore.

          • tony says:

            Just use jig, lots of people got big cod there, 5 lb, 10 lb, even around 20 lb. It is not normal. We did see that easy to fish cod before.

          • Fishfan says:

            Do you know these places to catch mackerel from shore? I’m going up today to see if I could get a cod but I would love a few mackerel!!

  35. newfoundsander says:

    I just read that in the past few days capelin have rolled in Bay Bulls, Raleigh and Cottrell’s Cove.

  36. newfoundsander says:

    Capelin have been sighted in Mobile today.

  37. Gary says:

    Lots of capelin at Middle Cove lat night – July 28. Filled 2 five gallon buckets with casting net in no time

  38. Linda says:

    No capelin at either Outer Cove or Middle Cove as of 6:45PM this evening.

    • tony says:

      I was there around 9 pm, and lots of capelins and cods. I stayed until midnight, and cod was gone, but capelin was there.

      • Gregg says:

        You can fish down in Cape spear where there is cliffs but it’s dangerous you can even see whales there beautiful scenery. Though I never tried fishing there I have been there. My main focus though is to catch cod on middle cove because it’s easy to access. I just want to know people who have been successful with it on the shore.

        • tony says:

          Yes, I fished at Middle cove beach since last Friday, and only one night could not get cod. 15 lbs one is the biggest one I got there.

  39. tony says:

    I don’t think you could fish for cod at middle cove when capelin season is over.

    • Gregg says:

      Is there any other places you can list that I can fish for cod from shore ? or any other ocean fish. I would love to know as I am an active fishermen and I am interested in fishing on the beach.

  40. yu says:

    middles cove can fishing cod fish today?

  41. gisela says:

    we have been at middle cove until 3pm: no rolling. Are there capelins expected for tonight?

    • tony says:

      didn’t go last night, but heard lots of cod there, not sure about capelin. 3 pm is not early, say around 9 pm.

  42. Gregg says:

    I heard you can catch salmon,sea trout , cod, ling cod ,flat fish in outer cove. Same goes with middle cove I assume. Can anyone post there catch while on the beach?

  43. tony says:

    never been outer cove, Got cod, flat fish and herring in Middle cove. All above plus mackerel and sea trout in Portugal cove ferry. Heard friend got salmon.

    • Gregg says:

      Yeah I might go someday this week. Going with telescopic 8m rod, 60 lb line, 8 ounce weight on the end of the line , two hooks with worms on the them few inches apart. Is there anything I need to add/change in that setup?

      • tony says:

        always use jig 2 oz, never try more than 4 oz or worm, anyway. you could try.

        • Gregg says:

          Why wouldn’t I use worms, will they not work? It has to work cod bite anything even a plain hook as long as it is big. Those worms are placed to enable me to catch other fish which are a bit smarter than cod.
          But I don’t know , I never tried fishing in middle cove but it doesn’t hurt to try a variety of baits
          for example squid,crab,lug worms, normal garden worms ,smaller fish, different jigs etc. I would like to know methods with using jigs on shore as I am not sure how close the fish are to the shore are they fairly close Tony?

  44. newfoundsander says:

    Hello capelin watchers,

    Thank you very much for keeping the Capelin Calendar up to date for another year!

    With this year’s cold start of summer the capelin were a bit late to arrive but in the end they showed up all around the island and many of you got to see them roll on the beach.

    This year was also the first year that capelin sightings were reported in a consistent way on twitter (#CapelinRoll2015), so for next year be sure to keep an eye on the news there too.

    Some housekeeping news: you may have noticed that I have just updated the calendar itself: the spawning dates section that used to be on top did not reflect all the capelin sightings reported here, so I changed it. The new gallery setup allows for more detailed reports on more locations; it may take some getting used to, but with many more years to come I think it’s the right way to go.

    Thanks again, and I hope to see you all again here next year, for the capelin roll of 2016!


  45. Jim says:

    We had a day trip to Bellevue beach yesterday (15th August), to our surprise the Capelin were rolling on the beach in small numbers, though was easy to grab by hand. We weren’t there after or expecting Capelin, seems very late to witness that. The ocean is still freezing, numb feet after a few seconds paddling!

    • newfoundsander says:

      Thanks Jim, good to hear they’re still at it. Some years that will happen, the capelin will keep going long after everybody’s lost interest.

      I’ll add it to the calendar slide above, thanks for reporting.

  46. newfoundsander says:

    This past summer, Jillian Norrie made a film called ‘Chasing the Capelin’, it is her final work for her masters in Wildlife Documentary Production at the University of Salford in the UK.

    The capelin sightings reported here helped her find what she was looking for, and in her film you’ll see several familiar Newfoundland locations such as Middle Cove, Outer Cove, the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, and St. Vincent’s beach.

    You can watch her film on vimeo.

  47. newfoundsander says:

    A report of capelin in Holyrood this week.
    Yes, a little late, but not unheard of.

    • Bren says:

      Did the capelin ever get around to rolling really well in Middle Cove? We went donw and managed to get some but never did see them rolling right onto shore.

      • newfoundsander says:

        Reading back through this season’s comments they seem to have rolled ‘OK’ at Middle Cove but often they preferred the quieter beaches of nearby Outer Cove.

Leave a response here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s