Fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon on the Gaspe Peninsula

An aerial photograph of the York River in Canada.
An aerial view of the York River in Gaspe, Canada.

Fly fishing for Atlantic Salmon has been talked about over beers, fly tying tables and phone calls for the past several years. This past winter a friend of mine sent an email excitedly stating that he had won in the Gaspe Saumon pre-season draw and wondered if I wanted to join him. Mid-June waters in the Gaspe can be really good or really bad, but having a chance to fish for these legendary fish made it easy to say yes. The York, Dartmouth and Saint-Jean are the three rivers that converge on Gaspe. This spring the waters of each river were at some of the lowest levels seen in years, which was a surprise to us because here in New Hampshire and New England we’ve had a pretty wet spring. Even with the low water the fish were moving into the rivers and eating flies, thankfully.

I’ve always been intimidated by the regulations, lotteries and hoops to jump through to fish in this area but thanks to Nick and some wonderfully helpful staff at the ZEC, ( I quickly realized that there are lots of options up here whether or not you’ve won the pre-season lottery. The open water sections have some beautiful pools and fishing mid-week we didn’t run into crowds or grumpy fisherman. In fact everyone I ran into during my trip was truly friendly and willing to exchange tips, laugh about lost fish and just hang out by the river.

A small Grilse caught by Nick on the Dartmouth River.
A small Grilse caught by Nick on the Dartmouth River.

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