Matane River - Quebec

In early August I made a trip out to eastern Quebec to fish the Matane River at the base of the Gaspe Peninsula. I arrived after a long, hot, and dry spell in the area. Luckily there was a cool, rainy day and the fish turned on for a while and finally one came my way.

I fished with a guide, Louis Bazine, and he was instrumental in finding and hooking the salmon I caught. He found good water to fish that was not getting pounded all day by anglers. This meant that we went out looking for travelling fish in resting spots, rather than looking for holding fish in holding spots. This was a big difference. Most anglers on the river stayed on water where the could see multiple salmon in the water, the salmon always stay at these runs, day after day, they become dour, this is a holding run. We found spots where fish that were making their way up river would stop for an hour, or two or tuck in stay the night, and then move on. these fish would be more eager for a fly and less harassed.

This came to pass, as we fished a slim tail-out in a very out-of-the-way pool. The water looked too shallow to hold much of anything, but a fish rolled to show that he was there. I fished through with a #8 Blue Charm. I started high on the tail-out, in water so slow had to strip in line to keep the fly moving. As I worked down, the water sped up, bit by bit. Soon the fly was plain atop the waters glass like but speedy surface. to fix the plaining we adjusted the know and kept working down the tailout.

There were several salmon at the end of the run, despite the shallow look to the water. The first fish, which had originally rolled, rolled a few more times, and once just behind the fly. Another fish lower in the run left a wake charging the fly across the run, but never a pull, or a pluck on the Blue Charm, so Louis suggested I put my switch rod to the test and fish a bomber up stream over the groups of fish in the tailout.

I switched to the Bomber and Louis pointed out where he could see fish, soon I could see them too. After a while of working over the 4-5 salmon lowest in the run, a grilse took a look and rolled just beneath the fly with out the slightest surface disturbance. He did not look again. I worked up to the location of the first fish that we had seen roll. I could see the fishes form and made the casts as Louis had recommended: Behind left, behind center (over the fish), Behind Right, On top of left, center, right, in front of left, center, right; only leave the fly on the surface for 3 seconds and cast again. force the fish into a quick decision.

The fish didn't move for the fly, but another fish did. The fish boiled near the fly about 6 feet down of the targeted fish, in water so clear that I was sure I could see everything, but saw no fish. Then as the fly dragged the surface as I picked it up to cast again another splash and boil happened. and finally about 6-10 cast later the fish brought its (her) head out of the water and ate the Bomber.

The fish fought hard jumping and running, nothing crazy but a lot of fun.

The Matane flows North into the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Chic Choc/Appalachian Mountains.