I was going to have a whole video rich post of fly fishing in my favourite province from my new GoPro 10 I did but the default settings were incompatible with any normal persons computer. (HVEC) So, while I could convert them eventually, I could not do it at the end of the day. So I ended up with too many hours of footage. A year later I have dealt with less than a ¼ of it. So I’ll just tell you.
You can do a lot of fishing in Newfoundland without a guide.
Yes. Now the rules change yearly so you do have to be aware but one thing to never do is ask a local. They don’t need a guide they don’t need a trout license so they don’t know more than what affects them directly. Even many CO are not clear on the rules for CFA (Come From Away)
Trout, Trout and Trout
First off, there is a tonne of salmon free trout water all over the province. In the town of St. John’s there are 3-4 viable trout streams. All around the province there is plenty of trout water. You do have to be careful that a random stream is not a tributary of a scheduled salmon river.
Another worry free option is the salt. All rivers are open to anyone at the mouth. Sea trout are in many if not most. As in all things fishing, some places are better than others. There is also the option of fishing the salt from shore. On year I was in Bonne Bay and caught mackerel on a fly from the dock.
That is the main attraction for many. A guide is a great idea and gets you on desirable water. In my investigations, I have found that guides are either attached to lodges or just not that internet savvy. That may have change but looking up guides, in a jurisdiction that requires guides, provides shockingly few results.
Within sight of a highway bridge.
The actual rule is 800 meters of a provincial highway. That usually means a bridge but can mean a highway parallel to a river. That gives you over a kilometer and a half of river. Maybe not the best water, but the locals don’t fish it so you might have it to yourself and you don’t need a guide. These areas are not marked so you have to know how far you are.
Gros Morne National Park
You need a Gros Morne salmon license as well as a provincial salmon license but you can fish 100% of the salmon rivers in the park without a guide (not Terra Nova National Park for some reason) Lomond is awe some but a bit of a hike but Deer Arm is right by the road.
Some Things To Consider
Non residents need a trout license and to cover your @$$ (even if you do not target salmon) you should get a Non resident salmon license. I am only fly fishing so I didn’t have to figure if it was fly only or spin allowed water. barbless is a habit with me so that wasn’t an issue either.
And Some pictures.
NFL is missing out on a great tourism idea
I really feel the wide variety of trout rivers and stream are a missed opportunity for Newfoundland tourism. They could still guard the salmon stocks (or guard them harder) while promoting the trout fishing for tourists not wanting a guide. Imagine catching brown trout on the fly inside the city limits! Locals could rent gear or even low cost guiding.
She got a few hits and LDR’s as well as landing one!
On the hike out we noticed the “Super” moon so went back to the house and brought back the cameras.
Hey Honey, remember the time we laid down in the field with fishing waders on, getting bit by skeeters to get a photo of the moon?
Of course I went fishing that night. The Oromocto again but a different stretch.
There were active fish but as I got within casting range some bubbas showed up and started casting their Bill Dance Largie type poppers so whatever fish they didn’t catch they scared to death. So I moved down stream and managed a few more hits but only one to hand
So I have posted many fish shots so I tried to do it differently.
The next day it rained so our second climb (less a mountain and more a mount) got canceled. We did go to an SPCA fund raiser that night but no pictures.
Errand day take back the guitar amp and rental car. Dinner with family. Preliminary packing for the flight out.
I had hoped to go fishing but the 2 days of rain have left the rivers high and discoloured.
The backyard stream
After a nice meal we worked it out by Fishing the Hunter River right in the Town of Hunter River. The section is a place I fished last year and on one side is a 200 year old church and grave yard but on the other an Irving gas station. No big fish but there tends to be many smaller ones…just not this time because I had the video going.
The thing about doing stuff is that you might not have time to write about it.
So Day 6:
Has us leaving the northern mountains and heading back to Fredericton. We stopped in at Grand Falls ate, watched some zip liners and then went down into the gorge.
As promised at the end of the last post I was off to river the river behind where we are staying. The river is called the North Branch Rusagonis and in the past I have caught Bass and Fall Fish no bass this time but I did get this surprise.
This was a pretty laid back day and the only pics was family fly fishing.
Day 8 was more of the same but we did find a Canadian Tire store with a full fly fishing and tying section. Pretty stark contrast to the no fly fishing store and depleted fly sections I am used to in Winnipeg.
Just the wife and I fished the same river for bass etc.
This was our drive to and and first of 6 days in PEI.
We arrived Montague, settled in at our B&B and ate down by the wharf.
Queen Anne’s Lace
Day 10: Was a bit of looking around. We found a spot a local guided favorited but I have plenty of buggy mud holes back home to fish.
It was raining off and on all day but we did end up fishing the Morrel River. My son caught his first fish on the fly (and Tenkara) and my wife had fun taking photos of me casting.
In my element
Right At Ya
soft rod open loop
Almost looks like I know what I am doing
Went to put some recycling away and found a young raccoon. The owners of the B&B pull the bin to the ground to let it escape and it made straight for the trees.
Then we were off for a little tour to the East Point Light House.
Madeline Islands Ferry
Next off to Basin Head beach. This is part of the Northumberland Strait so the water is warm (19 Degrees Celsius that day)
Poking a dead Jelly Fish
The Sign Says “No Diving” While the life guards look on.
Then we went to Georgetown and at at Clam Diggers.
View from Clam Diggers Before we Eat
Later that evening I fished the Morrel River again and caught 3 American Shad (new species for me)
So we Checked out the South east part of the island and where a little underwhelmed. While it was still nice the scenery wasn’t anything you couldn’t see almost anywhere and was a little less as the rest of the province is as neat as a pin from private homes to towns to parks and this area was a little less of that.
We did visit a nice vineyard.
Combine with an earlier trip to a local distill and our love of Gaham beer we have quite a lot of “adult” souvenirs.
Then off to Point Prim lighthouse and as the tide was going out and the ocean floor revealed itself. After we ate at the Chowder House which was both excellent and reasonable.
So yes, for the 3rd year in a row we are vacationing on the east coast of Canada. We are currently in New Brunswick like last year but we just finished visiting some of the northern parts of the province.
Day 1: Arrive and not much else. Raining.
Day 2: Rental car not ready, still raining. Get car very late in day with barely enough time to get fishing licenses. Rivers brown with run off so no fishing.
Water running down rings
Day 3: Head north. Ultimately to the town of Saint Quentin but we stopped off at Hartland to lunch and visit the worlds longest covered bridge.
World’s Longest Covered Bridge
Saw someone fly fishing on their break and, after our lunch, I saw an immature bald eagle chase an osprey (perhaps to get the nice fish in the osprey’s talons?)
In Saint Quentin we stayed at the Du Repos B&B This area of the province is VERY beautiful. You can’t drive very far without seeing a tempting stream. This is the northern tip of the Appalachian mountain range. Our hosts Jacques and Louise are avid fly rodders and just great people all around.
The room was wonderful and looked to be the perfect base for our coming adventure!
We asked our hosts about local fishing and they offered to take us fishing the next day!!
Day 4: Our plan was to climb Mount Carleton the highest peak in the Maritimes! So ya the plan was to climb a mountain then go fishing.
So up the more scenic and challenging west side. So many photo ops.
Nutrition Bar Break.
The last kilometer was the four limb climb over huge boulders. And the area is too steep for pulling out cameras so here is a picture of an easier climb.
But we made it!
Fire Watch Tower
The current info on the place says it is 2 hours up and one hour down. Well maybe for people used to climbs but living on the prairies for 14 years and stopping for many photos this was the hardest thing I have ever done and it took us 5 hours to get up and back.
So ya this is a fly fishing blog and I did mention our host were going to take us fishing. So back to the B&B and one ham and egg sandwich and 2 Tylenols later I was off fishing.
Now this is their secret spot so I can’t tell you but the fishing was good and the fish pretty active. It was bad by their standards but catching wild fish in the shadow of very old mountains has a certain panache that the amount of fish cannot affect.
So if you are a C&R at all cost type avert your eyes!
Just Add Butter
Nothing quite like eating brook trout fresh out of a mountain stream.
Having such a good time we extended our stay. One, to enjoy the area more and two, to take the family to that fishing spot.
Day 5: We had a few plans to explore the park without climbing any mountains.
Red Pine Trail
She got a small salmon
So again back to the secret spot.
Adelle fished and Charles played in the water. At one point he decided he want to fish. Seeing as he hasn’t fly fished since he was 4 years old so I handed him my rod, gave him some reminders and let him at it.
He got a million hits and loved the action!
So I used this an opportunity to break out the Tenkara rod and see if I could get a game fish on it (as I did bust the cherry on it the weekend before in B.C. but they were bait fish).
That’s it for now but I am off to fish the creek behind the house we are staying in.
Sorry it took so long to get to the 2nd half of my trip (or at least the fishing part). Nonetheless here it is.
I have only been out fly rodding twice since I got back. Basically I was spoiled in NB. Not by big fish or numbers but by accessibility. Now east coast fishing and accessibility may not seem to go hand in hand what with 15 different licenses and heavy restrictions on where you can fish (right down to particular pools). No, the access I am talking about is being able to drive 20 minutes or 2 hours or more and everything in between to get to one’s fishing.
Around here you need about an hour to get anywhere, 2 hours to get anywhere decent in terms of an outdoor environment and 3,4,5 etc. hours to get someplace that has it all (scenery, numbers or sized fish etc.)
Fishing the Fredericton area reminded me of fishing in southern Ontario. I could fish in town for trout, salmon bass or pike (depending on the season) OR I could drive any variety of distance to achieve a different goal.
So with all that water around me my favorite thing to do in NB was to fish the (unnamed) creek (trib of the Rusagonis) behind my Brother and Sister in laws place after dinner.
It has trout, salmon parr, bass and fall fish (locally called ‘creek chub’ and treated with utter disdain).
Here are some fish. Not big but on a 4wt in VERY skinny water stalking, hooking and landing was still a challenge.
A view of the River/creek I spent most of my time on
Through these brambles lay a fork and pool where the fishing was best
Fall Fish (or creek chub) as fickle as trout & fights as hard
A smallie falls for a bomber
I also fished the Oromocto just 25 minutes down the road. Similar fish but more open and miles and miles of it I never fish.
Although this is a site dedicated to Fly Fishing I Manitoba, I do travel and fish elsewhere.
If you are at all like me, you have read a boat load of outdoor, general fishing and fly fishing magazines. Pretty well guaranteed you will have come across an article on Atlantic salmon fishing and probably one, two or a few about the Miramichi River in New Brunswick. 250 kilometers of river with the best salmon numbers of any river in North American !
A few years back I went to Newfoundland. I was psyched and geared up to fish for the ‘King of Game Fish’!! When I got there the weather was hot, the streams low and most closed to fishing.
I did manage to raise a few in Grosse Morne (in national parks you can fish w/o a guide) but not a hit sniff or bother.
This year I figured against salmon fishing (though I did bring appropriate gear in my 8 and 10 wts). I checked out the local Fredericton fly shop, Fredericton Outfitters, where I found very friendly helpful owners and staff. They proceeded to tell me that we were in the area at one of the best times, that the river had fish, the levels were dropping and that people were getting salmon.
So we asked about guides and such, when they mentioned Wilson’s Sporting Camps who had access to the best pools on the river.
Turns out they had an opening and we could come up and fish the afternoon and evening for a discount rate.
It wasn’t a long drive, 1½ hours,by fly fishing in Manitoba’s standards, but by the time we got there we considered staying the night.
They offered us ½ of a duplex and almost apologized about it, but the rooms where awe some, clean and classic in design. Came with everything you needed to make food etc.
And our cabin looked out onto the Miramichi.
Now the term ‘world class’ is bandied around a lot. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate the term in most of its uses. Particularly when used to describe something similar you can get elsewhere in the world and is therefore considered ‘world class’. By those standards I am typing on a world class laptop….
But despite the very unassuming nature of Keith Wilson (to whom the camp has been in his family for 150 years) Wilson’s is considered world class. If I was in doubt; I found a European salmon fishing magazine in our cabin that wrote about fishing in Russia, Norway and yes Wilson’s.
So 1½ hours from an international airport and you are on a legendary river, fishing for a reasonably unique and potentially large fish in a pristine environment…ya that pretty well sums up world class fishing.
So here I am with my wife at a world class lodge (normally $700 per person, per day and not including tip or licenses) getting ready to fish a river that is on most fly rodders life list.
So into one to the jet outboard powered 26′ canoes for one of the smoothest and scenic boat rides you’ll ever have.
My wife, Adelle, Henry our Guide and yours truly.
Yours truly looking kinda happy
My wife thinking that holding the hat that way makes it look better and our guide Henry
Our guide, Henry has been fishing/guiding the Miramichi for 57 years.
The method for hooking salmon is quite simple and either works or doesn’t or in the words of our guide, “if they’re there they’ll bite if they’re not they won’t”.
So you tie on w/e fly you heard works, the afternoon it was the Undertaker, then ¼ cast and drift through the run till the line straightens. Then step up or down the run, strip, t-snap or snake roll your cast and repeat.
It was nice and overcast, raining off and on and a bit cool so perfect for fishing. We didn’t feel a single bump but some fish did pop up. One made a big splash upstream and Henry said ‘that one got past you’.
We went in for dinner and back out at 6. This time we fish a run/pool just in front of the lodge.
The lodge from the river
We changed our flies to Green Machines and finally started getting some hits. My wife was killing it with salmon parr and 1 nice brookie. I was getting hits but no hook ups. The light was fading, it was 8:30 and we are supposed to be off the water at 9, I had made 1,000’s of casts.
At 8:45 I could finally yell ‘fish on’. Put a good bend in the rod, got a coupla jumps and, just before the net and the perfunctory ‘grip and grin’, the hook popped! Now It didn’t matter because my wife was taking lots of video. We have video of the trip up river, down river, our room, me casting, etc. But in the excitement of someone actually hooking a salmon she forgot to hit record.
I won’t guesstimate the fish length because as Henry says ” that fish’ll be 40 inches by the time you get home” but fair to say it was a grilse (1 year in salt and between 5 & 7 lbs July weight)
So a few more casts in the fading light, then the trip back to our cabin, where we had a cup of tea and watched the sun set on the river and then the bats and fire flies come out.