I’ve waited all my life to become a fishing bum and this July was the closest I came to it. My friend Jamie and I headed to the Gaspe in search of the elusive salmon – it was Jamie’s first trip to the Peninsula, and I think the second or third trip for me fishing legally. After a few days on the rivers near the town of Gaspe we arrived at the Salmon Lodge on the Grand Cascapedia. The Lodge and its amenities, the superb guides, and the new friends we met there made the two-day trip an ecstatic experience. Though the fish avoided our flies we understood the myriad of reasons: low barometric pressure, wrong sized fly, wrong day, wind from the East, foreign fleets off shore….you’ve heard the litany, I’m sure! That’s fishing – some days are diamonds, some days are coal. Our guides: Roddy on Day #1 and Patrice on Day 2 couldn’t have tried harder for us.
I spent some of my days in memory mode: back to my days of youth and fishing illegally with my Dad. Some of us have genes that trigger adventure or doing what we shouldn’t. I do. My fishing buddy has them in spades. I was tempted to toss a fly into a forbidden pool down river but I didn’t dare suggest it. That would have taken me all the way back to my fishing times as a youngster and watching over my shoulder for the authorities.
Yes, it was a different fishing experience than the days of yore. Posh comfort of the Salmon Lodge as opposed to a shanty with bunks. Guided fishing versus picking your way through forbidden territory. Evening conversation versus toe tapping fiddle and guitar music. Hook and release of the fish landed by the Lodge sports versus loading the boat with as many as possible to take home. Which experience would you take? The excitement of illegal adventure or the anticipation of a hookup at each guided cast? Believe it or not – the latter for me!
Next year I want to go to the Bonaventure, and I particularly want to revisit the Petite Cascapedia. That river holds a particularly poignant memory – I’ll tell you about it next time.
Katharine Mott, raised in Northern New Brunswick, had two husbands and four sons in Nova Scotia, and a career in education. A long time volunteer on behalf of the Atlantic salmon; former President of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, on the Boards of Atlantic Salmon Federation and Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation. Salmon fished most rivers in the five eastern provinces including Anticosti. Constructed and co-owned The Rifflin’ Hitch, a fishing lodge in Labrador. Retired and spends as much time as possible casting a line on moving water. is a regular contributor to our news letter