St. Jean River - Quebec

In late September of 2008, My friend Rusty and I, after attending a convention in Ottawa, On. made a fourteen hour drive east along the great water of the St. Lawrence River to the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. We were here to close out the season in the low waters of the York and St. Jean rivers fishing for the Atlantic Salmon that had taken up residence through out the summer.

We spent days 1 and 3 fishing on the York river, which we liked and Days 2 and 4 on the St. Jean which we loved. While it was easy to spot fish in the the waters of the York, The St. Jean had a water that was so clear that it almost seamed like a thicker version of air.

We only ended up fishing one pool on the St. Jean, The Bluff pool, as there were not fish scattered through out the river system, but rather all grouped together in a few certain pools, and bluff was one of them.

Bluff, as the name suggests, has a large bluff that comes down into the river. From the bluff you can look down at the fish that have packed into the run, in this case 80-100 salmon. there was a hen sitting far back in the pool. our guide told us that she weighed around 50lbs and had been sitting in that exact spot since the beginning of July.
Rusty and I fished two days on the St. Jean and it was by far the most enjoyable water for us. On our first day Rusty hooked and lost a decent salmon on a Laxa Blue #6, and I may have had a grab but nothing was for sure. We could see fish both lying in the run and jumping. the weather was warm, which was great since we froze the day before on the York.
Our guide coached us to really slow down and be methodical with these fall salmon. He had us take two casts from each position and then to only take one small step. He also was adement that we not use a cast such as the Snap-t with our spey rods and really wanted us to stick with single speys. His advise proved to work on the St. Jean and I should probably slow down on other waters as well.

On our next day, we went without our guide and got to the water right at daybreak. I went through the run first as I was still without a fish and Rusty had landed a big Cock on the keg pool of the York's 9th Sector. I was just stepping into the spot where rusty had hooked up two days before, when I felt my #8 Blue Charm get grabbed and some line was jerked of the reel, then it was gone. I was bummed but excited that we got an early grab.

I went through again after Rusty and then as Rusty was starting on his second pass I decided to wander down river to see what other runs were nearby. It had been a mistake, because just as I was out of ear shot, rusty hooked the fish of the trip. A fairly bight salmon of about 13-15lbs. His fish from the day before was bigger but this was better.

This was our last day on the Gaspe. the weather was great, our guide came down to hang with us for several hours and we really enjoyed it. Then we blew off the river a little early to get over to the ZEC for a few souvenirs.


Slint said...

Great posts on the st. jean and matapedia. I'm heading that direction in July and it is great to have some insight.

Great work, dude.


Stephen R. Nelson said...


Thanks for your encouragement. I am hoping to add a few more rivers this summer from the Lower St. Lawerence River near Quebec City, or maybe the North Shore, And very soon Sault St. Marie.

Thanks again