Home to 22 salmon rivers, the region of Gaspésie has many fishing stories to tell! Here are five that will introduce you to these rivers, which abound in fish, anecdotes and history.
Matapédia and Causapscal rivers
The Matapédia and Causapscal have been renowned salmon rivers for over a century. Legend has it that the first sports fisherman to cast a line in the Causapscal River was Lord Mount Stephen, who purchased land along both of these rivers to establish a private fishing estate in 1873. In the early 20th century, a group of wealthy English Canadian and American businessmen acquired his estate and founded the Matamajaw Salmon Club. Visit the Site patrimonial de pêche Matamajaw (Causapscal) to learn more about the fascinating history of salmon fishing in this former club!
Site patrimonial de pêche Matamajaw. Photo: Tourisme Gaspésie
Offering 48 pools in four sectors over a total of 92 km, the Cascapédia River is also steeped in history. Visit the Cascapédia River Museum to learn more about the king of our rivers and this area’s rich past, as you tour the museum’s Atlantic salmon interpretation centre and exhibitions focused on local fishing history.
The museum also houses artefacts from the visits of influential people, including Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, who fished on the river in 1879 with her husband, the Marquess of Lorne, who was Governor General of Canada at the time.
Musée de la rivière Cascapédia. Photo: Tourisme Gaspésie
Sports fishing for salmon has been popular for over a century on the crystal-clear Bonaventure River. However, fishing on this river was initially restricted to wealthy Americans and members of select private clubs. In 1978, when the government put an end to private hunting and fishing clubs in Québec, a Bonaventure River anglers association was created.
A few years later, a ZEC (controlled harvesting zone) was established to manage a portion of this territory. You will be surprised by the clear waters of this river, which offers 98 pools, 65 km of which are open to wade or canoe fishing.
Bonaventure River. Photo: Mathieu Dupuis
Nearly 80 km long, the Matane River is very accessible for salmon fishing. You can fish in an urban setting as well as in the middle of the forest! Whether you are an experienced angler or just want to learn more about Atlantic salmon, be sure to visit the Centre d'observation de la montée du saumon (Matane) where you can observe these fish as they migrate and learn more about their biology. The site also features an exhibition about sports fishing on this river and the history of local bridges and dams.
Centre d'observation de la montée du saumon. Photo: Zec de la rivière Matane
Three salmon rivers in Gaspé
Located in the Gaspé area, the York, Dartmouth and Saint-Jean rivers have long been renowned for their salmon fishing. A fishing club was established on each of these rivers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: the Dartmouth River Fishing Club dates from 1895; the St. John River Salmon Club, from 1899; and the York River Fishing Club, from 1909. All of their pools have been given very specific names, often steeped in history… Discover them all!
Salmon Fishing. Photo: Antoine Blier
Become part of the history of the salmon rivers of Gaspésie by catching your own fish in our region or learn about our rich fishing history by visiting interpretation sites!