We headed to a cold water tributary of the mighty Little Southwest Miramichi to fish for Wild Atlantic Salmon. Even in the record breaking heat of 2018, this cold water spring fed tributary was still 14 degrees celsius (58 f) which is near ideal for Atlantic Salmon.
We landed at the camp a little after 2pm. The camp was 40 feet from the bank and boasted a screened in deck with a beautiful view of the river. Being screen in and under the shade of the trees gave repreave from the heat and bugs. This served us well as the outside temperature was 36 with humitiy.
With drinks in hand we toasted to the pleasures. Within 10 minutes of basking in the glory of the camp we seen 3 salmon jump which gave promise of some good fishing. Seeing these mighty fish jump in such pristine wilderness is an experience all of its own.
This hotter than usual 2018 season caused grave concerns for the salmon's well being. The salmon counts in the Maritime was down and to add to the concern the water was so warm it was stressing the salmon. This state of affairs applied to most of the rivers in the Atlantic Provinces. These valid concerns resulted in Department of Natural Resources putting fishing restriction in place for the Miramichi. Fishing was only allowed between 6a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
For most people the restriction was enough to cancel their trip. We on the other hand enjoy are trips immensely and we only gets so much time together so come hell or high/low water, we make the best of it.
Around 4 p.m. we scouted the lower pools of the 15 km stretch. These pools being big and flat were nice but didn’t real give us that feeling that it would be an exciting place to fish. I guess after many years of fishing we became instinctive and intuitive as to what we are looking for in water.
We then took a drive to see the country side. The amount of forestry cutting was appalling. Just the same it was beautiful county and most of the cutting was replanted.
The evening came, I lit my pipe and popped open a beer. We sat in the screen in deck, played guitar and watched the salmon jump. After dark only the silhouette of the trees could be seen so the splash of the heavy fish left it's size to our imagination.
Later that night the super moon shone bright giving us our final view of the of the trees line before retiring.
July 28,2018 - Due to the fishing restriction, the morning was the first time slot that we were actually allowed to fish. We had a late night but managed to be on the river by 6:00 am. Connor and Aaron decided to fish the pool just in front of the camp and Chad and I went up river.
Chad and I fished a beautiful pool just upstream of the camp. We were expecting more from this pool but I caught only one small trout. We explored our way father upstream until we came to a rockey big deep pool. In 5 minutes I landed a nice grilse. Wanting to know what was around the next turn, we continued to hike a very rugged path upstream to yet another pool. It wasn’t long before Chad hooked and landed a 25 pound salmon. We seen other salmon roll. They were all big salmon and no grilse.
11:00 a.m. came in a flash which was when we had to stop fishing. Chad and I headed back to the camp and met up with Aaron and Conor. Conor caught and released a grilse within 5 minutes of fishing but Aaron was empty handed. After a big feed of eggs and bacon we took a much needed 3 hour nap.
Here is conor with his grilse.
Awaking refreshed we were ready to take on the heat to reward ourselves with a scenic hike up the Palisades Falls. The Palisades Falls is on the North Pole Stream, which is a tributary of the Little South West of the Miramichi. The falls are not one big drop but a series of 10' to 30' foot drops with pools on the bottom of each step. They are as beautiful as they are unique. Being located in this very remote area just adds to it's pleasure. We started to hike the falls but it started to thunder and lightning so we turned around and went back to the camp.
Palisades Fall repeats it's 20 foot drops for more than 1 Km.
At the bottom of the Palisades Falls sits the camp for the Crown Water stretch called Palisades stretch. There was a crew fishing this stretch. After talking with these light hearted fishermen we learned that they never caught a fish. They had the next morning to try their luck again but for now they were content with having a few beer and enoying some comodery.
Buy the time we got back to the camp our second evening was upon us. It was time for some guitar, beer, and bear sausages which put us in fine form. We retired around midnight which is an early night for us. This made it easier to get up at 5:00 a.m.
Aaron fished the pool in front of the camp. I went to the second pool upstream from the camp and Chad and Conor went to the third pool up from the camp which is where Chad caught the 25 pounder. My morning of fishing was incredible. I caught 2 more grilse and one 25 pound salmon. The final minutes of fishing was nearing when over the din of the river, I heard Aaron yelled “any luck”? We shared our stories of the morning fishing. Aaron landed one nice grilse. Moments later Chad and Connor joined us. With Chad usual excitement he told his story of hooking and loosing two big salmon and Connor had a taker who rolled at his fly but never really hooked up. A great morning of fishing indeed.
Once back at the camp, Chad fired up the propane stove and put the steak in the sizzling frying pan. Over a fine steak and stein dinner we rehashed the trip’s highlights. The highlights were great fishing, incredible scenery, a sighting of two deer, one bear and many laughs. The sharing of these great times made the thoughts of leaving hard to swallow.
Dinner was over, we cleaned the camp, pack our gear and reluctantly headed for home. We committed to another trip to this stretch but we don’t know when we will be back. It was one of those trips that your heart never leave.