PPS Destinations Report
Gaspe, Quebec, Canada
Date: Summer 2010
Reported by Dr. Chris Travis, Laguna Hills, CA, USA
Atlantic Salmon on the
Eastern Canada, along the
Salmon has the most spectacular take and fight of any migrating anadromous fish.
They are bigger, meaner, and take the fly viciously on top. Giant 'holes' in the
river are made when they strike the fly. Now I know why those who fish for
Atlantics get a disease that can only be quenched by fishing for them every
year. Here is the catch. The numbers of Atlantic Salmon on earth has declined to
the endangered levels. The rivers have deteriorated through human expansion and
the industrial revolution, as well as over harvesting in excess to the point
where the Atlantic Salmon industry has all but vanished.
have created a goo of filth and sea lice that anadromous fish have to navigate
through and most of the smolt die from the fish-lice infestation they get from
exposure to the fish farm exudate. Don’t buy farmed salmon and let the markets
know it. Basically, where these
farms were placed without any biological data from scientists in
So, what we have is the greatest fresh
water game fish on earth struggling to survive as a species. Go figure.
Just as sad, only the fortunate rich get to fish for the greatest game
fish in fresh water, because only a handful of waters still have representative
runs of Atlantic Salmon. These waters are owned by very exclusive fishing clubs
and the ones that are open to the public, have a lottery to get on the pools.
Two such rivers were afforded us because we were
shooting a TV series for networks in
We fished the fabled Grand Cascapedia
The people are wonderful on the
The weather is completely unpredictable,
so you must layer and be ready for anything with a packable raincoat. This year
the river levels were low, and sight fishing was doable. We had a great time
moving from one lodge to another during the two week stay. I highly recommend
doing that to get a different river every few days to fish.
The time to go is the full moon at about
the end of June. One goes a week before the full moon and stays a week after the
full moon. The numbers are nowhere near the numbers of steelhead in the
Northwest, so you have to go then. The bigger fish come during this time of
summer. (Makes you think hard where the steelhead species is going…probably
downhill like the Atlantics).
The rivers are divided into sections and
some are better than others. You must do your homework prior to booking. I
cannot stress that any more than I have. You cannot think you will get an
Atlantic Salmon by just going there. They are so endangered, you have to do the
science to be there at the correct time. And, they are crazy fickle fish. But
you can entice them like you would a cat with yarn.
The Lottery system is provided by the
Cascapedia Society and it is a good system. If you are lucky enough to
stay at a lodge, they will have their own water to fish. All fishing is,
by law, with a guide. Do your HOMEWORK and you will do well. I highly
recommend going to the
The flies you use are traditional with some improvements over the years. I like the idea of fishing Green Highlanders, Blue Charms, Lady Amhersts, Black Bear Green Butts, and the like. It is romantic and full of history. The salmon love 'em, and there is a bit of science to the flies and which ones to use. Just follow what your guide says and ask him why he chose the fly. Most of it has to do with sun and overcast, fast and slow water, shallow or deep.
The Atlantic Salmon take a faster moving
fly than steelhead. They lay in the same areas of the river, maybe even more
inclined to hold in the deeper parts of every pool. A two handed rod is
imperative for most fishing due to the width of the river and trees and
obstacles behind the angler. The
single handed rod is used for dry fly fishing in a drag free manner. Fun!
The best Salmon fishermen were using
short lines and fast swings to get their fish to grab. One can entice a salmon
into raising up the column and take a fly by doing it many times over the same
area where the salmon is holding. It
is a game that never gets old.
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