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This past September, my wife and I took a combination tourist and fishing trip for Atlantic salmon to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and to New Brunswick. Our enjoyment of the 24 day trip was more than I had hoped for. The food, lodging and scenery were spectacular. The fishing on the Gaspé Peninsula was good, considering the terrible low water conditions throughout eastern Canada. The fishing in New Brunswick was not as good as in Quebec, but we still enjoyed our stay there.
We began our trip by flying into Quebec City and renting a car. We then drove east alongside the St. Lawrence River on the northern coast of the Gaspé Peninsula. We stayed in several bed and breakfasts along the way, including La Belle Epoque (*), which I recommend without reservation, in the town of Cap Chat, Quebec. A nearby French restaurant, La Cabillaud, was equal to any five star restaurant I have found in either Europe or the US.
We then headed down to our first fishing destination, the Bonaventure River on the peninsula’s southern coast. We stayed at Camp Bonaventure Lodge (*), which is situated on the river. Although the lodge has its own salmon pools, they were not fishable during our stay because of the low water. Glen LeGrande, a partner in the lodging enterprise, arranged for me to fish other pools controlled by the local "Zec," an association that controls a good portion of the river. In my four days of fishing on the Zec pools, I landed several fresh salmon with sea lice still on them, including a 20 pounder and a 15 pounder. Moreover, I hooked, but lost, a salmon that I estimated to weigh close to 30 pounds. I also caught three grilse and a respectable brown trout.
The lodging, food, guides and camaraderie at Bonaventure were superb. The fishing oriented lodge staff sets aside food for the persevering angler who wants to fish beyond the dinner hour. The lodge itself is very comfortable, as it is less than one year old and has only four bedrooms. The few days I shared with LeGrande and his staff indicate to me that he operates a lodge worthy of my return. It was a truly memorable experience.
Moving on, my wife and I next went to Prince Edward Island to stay with some friends we had met while I was bonefishing at Anegada Island in the British Virgin Islands. (The less said about the Anegada experience, the better! The area was delightful, but the fishing was sad.)
We then made our way to New Brunswick, making a brief stop for some whale watching in the Bay of Fundy. Our next fishing destination was Pond’s Resort (*) on the Miramichi River. Unfortunately, the water conditions at Pond’s were very poor. I did manage three hookups but lost all three fish, one of which made an impressively sudden arrival and departure. However, the facilities and guides were excellent. Owners Keith and Linda Pond provide a buffet each evening after the normal dining hours for those who desire to fish late. This provides an opportunity for all guests to mingle and to share fishing stories!
This was one of the finest trips we have made. Fortunately, the coloration of the fall foliage also cooperated. It was truly magnificent. Norman R. Lucia.