Home | Features | Feature Articles | Fishing outside the UK | Atlantic Salmon on the Dry Fly

Atlantic Salmon on the Dry Fly

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

'The Gaspé peninsular and New Brunswick areas in Canada have for a hundred years been the focus of North America's Atlantic salmon fishing, and with good reason.'

Peter McLeod of destination angling firm Aardvark McLeod takes a look at this amazing fishery where you have the chance of a lifetime to catch an Atlantic Salmon on the dry fly.

by Peter McLeod

The Gaspé peninsular and New Brunswick areas in Canada have for a hundred years been the focus of North America's Atlantic salmon fishing, and with good reason. The high water temperature on the East coast has resulted in the genetic strain of salmon becoming aggressive in attacking surface flies. In Gaspé there are the unique crystal clear waters of the Bonaventure and the tea coloured water of the fabled Grand Cascapedia. In New Brunswick just below Gaspé there is the Miramichi river system. Both of these fisheries are totally unique, and fish here will readily take a dry fly. Hooking salmon on dry fly is probably the highlight of my salmon fishing career as it is breathtakingly exciting.

The crystal clear waters of Canada's famed Gaspe Peninsula make for an unforgettable Atlantic Salmon experience!

The Bonaventure and the Grand Cascapedia

Next season we will be offering fishing on these rivers based from Camp Bonaventure and Salmon Lodge. Both lodges fish both rivers, and you will access numerous beats on both. Camp Bonaventure is a new lodge built in 1995 with all modern conveniences down to free wireless broadband throughout. The lawn fronts the river, and the service and guides are incredibly professional. Salmon Lodge on the other hand provides a real feel of history. This one hundred year old lodge has been refurbished inside without losing its charm or tradition. It nestles on a bluff overlooking the large meandering bend of the Grand Cascapedia.

The Bonaventure is gin clear and wading across it the salmon are instantly visible, almost suspended in air. Guides even carry periscopes that allow you to see many of the fish in the pool. It is an extraordinary experience to be able to cast a dry fly at fish up to 30 lbs and witness their every movement in response to the fly.  When the river is higher at the beginning of the season it is possible to use a canoe to drift down the river fishing as you go. The Grand Cascapedia offers the chance of a large fish as some up to 40 lbs are caught every year.  Although the water is tea coloured it is still crystal clear. It will also be possible to combine the two lodges for a week. The clear water fishing and the fabulous food and service offer a truly unique salmon fishing experience.

The Miramichi and its tributaries

An Atlantic Salmon from Canada big enough to make any angler smileThe Miramichi is steeped in history and tradition dating back over a hundred years, and has always been fly only water. Generations of guides have plied their trade on the river, with many of the same names appearing for the third generation. There are seven major tributaries off the main river, each one providing a completely different fishing experience and environment to catch Atlantic salmon. Some are like Scottish rivers, meandering quietly through the trees and some carve their way through rocks and canyons.  Fish of over 50 lbs have been landed this season, so there are some very large fish in the system. The main river itself offers some extraordinary fishing opportunities based from either Country Haven Lodge on the Main Southwest arm or at Upper Oxbow Lodge on the Little Southwest.

Country Haven Lodge is a typical Canadian cedar log lodge overlooking the river, and for those wishing for a more intimate experience has some further two and three bedroom cabins further along the river front. These can be catered from the lodge or privately. The lodge itself has 11 private pools on the river system all reached easily by vehicle, and leases with our partners Salar Enterprises a number of others making a total of some 25 pools on the main river.  Many of the pools on the Miramichi are between 200 - 500 yards long, so they will take you a full session to fish. You also have access to the Cains River, one of the principal tributaries and particularly known for its fall run.

Upper Oxbow Lodge has some rustic cabins, but also a fabulous modern lodge complete with hotel style rooms, downstairs pool room and bar and a beautiful pool right in front of the lodge. The Lodge sits on the Little Southwest River, a very productive tributary with very different scenery from the main river. The Little South West flows through a more mountainous area that is more akin to the West Coast of Canada. The Sevogle River system nearby is another fascinating tributary.

Articles by the same author

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

No tags for this article