The Restigouche River - Quebec & New Brunswick

I fished the Retsigouche and it's main tributary the Matapedia in the last days of May this year. I had headed out with BR and we were looking for the first bright Atlantics to enter the river. These fish are usually the biggest fish of the run, often clearing 30lbs and rarely smaller that 20lbs. Of courses sizes like that rarely come in decent numbers and this was no exception. On the best days fish are few and far between and it is rare for an angler to average better than a fish every couple days. We were no exception our selves and struggled to find any Salmon we got some nice Sea trout (Brook Trout).

BR and I hired a guide through the Motel Restigouche, named Ricky Gray. Rick's father had guided the Restigouche and the Matapedia and in due course Rick and his brother both followed the path of occupational inheritance and began guiding as well. Rick had spent a summer guiding for Loomis on the Ponoi River in Russia. It sounded as though the process of becoming a guide on the Restigouche and or the Matapedia was a long and tiring process.
Despite all of Ricks years of experience, I did find the a familiar problem arise. The problem being that rick wanted to fish BR and I out of the boat, a Gaspe Canoe, one at a time, slowly down the run. The first run we pulled up to was perfect for us to fish from shore, yet he dropped anchor about 50ft from shore. It took a fair bit of conversation to get him to let one of us out to fish from shore but we were able to get that done in the end.

We spent our first day and a half fishing some water a few miles up from the town of Matapedia which is where the Restigouche is joined by the water of the Matapedia. The water we fished was a giant run, very similar to the Mixer on the Skagit. A small river entered the Restigouche on the south side of the river, just below was a big riffle which created the run's head. The run it's self could be fished on either side the north side was the inside of the the rivers curve and had a soft current that went on for several hundred yards over a rock bar. The south shore was the outside of the immense bend and also went one form several hundred yards, but this water was deep and while the current nearer to shore was softer the main current was really pushing near close. The water look so perfect, and we had some great grabs, but no fish, with the exception of two trout that billy caught.

Our first day was marred by heavy rains nearly all day, luckily Rick was able to get a decent fire going on the immense rock bar on the rivers north side, that and a great flock of swallows eating the largest mayfly hatch I had ever seen made that after noon a blast. There were lots of memorable moments, many including birds. A small brood of abou 4-5 baby mergansers mistaking my body waste deep in river as their missed mother and swimming to with in a couple feet before realising there sad predicament. A pilliated woodpecker and then another. twenty ruby-throated hummingbirds all gather together at the Motel Restigouche competing for feeder time, or as I said before a thousand or more swallows so close on all side hovering dipping and skimming for a feast of BWOs.
On the afternoon of our second day we head down river to fish the Restigouche below Matapedia. A lot of the water on the Restigouche, Maybe even most of the water belongs to a group of the US's and Canada's Richest people, all of them belonging to the Restigouche Salmon Club which was started in the 1880's. Because of the Salmon Clubs vast holdings, it can be a pain to find good fishing water, and a lot of time is spent running the boat across private water just to find water that can be fished. To get to fishable water below town took a bout a mile and a half run down stream to the InterProvincial Bridge.

We fished the water immediately below the bridge while one of fished from shore. I had a few soft grabs fishing from the boat but no fish. We then headed down river to a big bar that we fished out our evening on, me from shore, BR from the boat. Rick showed us a down river spot where powerlines cross the river and there was a great run there where fresh from the sea Atlantics were known to stop and aclimate to fresh water. We barely beat a big storm in as we headed to Matapedia. A black wall of cloud and showers came rollong down the Matapedia valley as we turned up it, and as the boat was being landed the sky opened and lightening came with it, we cracked opened a few beers and hunkered under the bridge until the worst of it passed.
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That night as on the night before BR and I grabbed our dinner at the small store in the Village of Matapedia. We ate at the Hotel the first night but the prices were alittle high for us to make a habit out of it and the hours of operation were not condusive to fishing the best times of the day.


We started our last day on the Restigouche fishing one of the lowest runs on the river, right where some major power lines cross the river between Campbellton and Matapedia. The towers are red and white and this is good info to have as this part of the river can be fished with out a river pass up until the 1st of June. The run was great and there was plenty of good water for a few hours of fishing, but our time was limited as BR and I had to get back to the Hotel to meet Rick for a day of fishing on the Matapedia.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

funny I and my son fished with Rick Gray last May and for the first time in tens years were skunked ,coincidence? maybe, Maybe too much.