I drove down to the Miramichi from the base of the Little Gaspe in Quebec on Wednesday night. My GPS, set to take the most direct route, chose that I should travel southeast on old Highway 108, A remote two lane road that travel straight through the Canadian Bush. I was very excited about this route, thinking that this was finally my chance to see a moose again, all the signs were there, Literally.
Well I saw a moose and, I hope I never see one so close again. I had to slam on my breaks to keep for being killed by the fury, forest giant. I thought that a moose was about the size of a large horse, but that is far from reality, that first moose was so large that I am sure that with careful practice and cooperation on both of our parts I could have driven the Toyota Corolla I was renting right through his legs, and tickle his belly through the sun roof as I shot through. More likely the moose would crawl off the road with broken legs and damaged ribs, looking for a place to die and I would just float there watching the seen from the spirit world. Any way, it turned out to be a long stressful, terrifying ride in which I saw about a half dozen Moose, none as big or as close as the first.
So, I made it to Miramichi and met with a customer who has a plant right by the river, Good stuff, good stuff. And then I off to Blackville, for my license and groceries, and then to the lodge were I would stay in a separate cabin and do my own cooking. It was truly and amazing cabin. The first night I had trouble getting to sleep as I kept thinking about Moose and Bears, and how I was afraid of the on that night. Yeah, I used to sleep in an army tent when I was guiding the Talachulitna, saw bears from it a lot and I slept just fine at nite, but now I am a citified chicken.
The first morning of fishing started at 8 am, and we took the boat up to where the Barthalomew River dumps into the Main Southwest Miramichi, here we cast from the boat using truly giant (5/0) salmon flies. I was using my 13’3” two hander, and I hate fishing with a two hander from a boat. We from mind numbing spot to mind numbing spot, doing the same thing until just before lunch we let out a lot of line and trolled around the river a bit. I was furious.
After lunch I mentioned to the lodge owner that I may have to bring my trip to and early end, 2 days instead of three. I was not going to pay for three days of shit when I could get two for less money, I kept this thought to my self.
After lunch my guide, took me to a run just down from the camp called Mountain Channel, and we trolled it. Then it was down to White Rapids, Which had beautiful shores for wading on each bank and awesome step and cast water for a good two hours on each back. We fished from the boat!
But, we got a salmon. Then I insisted that I be dropped on shore. My guide grudgingly conceded and took me over to the inside bend.
I started at about the middle of the run, working a major current seam, and I mean rough water with standing waves meets smooth soft inside flow. It took about twenty minutes to get a grab once I was calf deep and fishing how I was comfortable. That first grab was a good sized hen, around 34". This fished jumped at least six times made strong, fast runs, I think more than that and it's body was rock hard, this fish was definitely a Kelt, but "black" really does not decribe this fish.
From that point on the trip totaly turned around. My guide, Jeremy, saw that I was happier wading he was all for it and we started looking for runs that would fish from shore at high water levels, and we found them. I really thought that lots of people would be fishing kelts with two handed rods already but aparently it is really an almost boat and one handed afair, but really I think that the early season is great for our style of angling, since the whole river is open for anyone to fish, while it is mostly private pools once June comes, and the fresh salmon fishing begins.
Anyway, I landed a grilse just after the first salmon on the same run. That was it for the first day.
The next morning started out great. I hooked a salmon at the very top of White Rapids, but it came off right away. Then I landed a big Sea Trout (Sea Run Brook Trout) and Grilse, both on the hang down. Then at the very low end of the run I got a solid grab mid swing and then saw my backing head through the guides, on out for a solid hundred yards, followed by several minutes reeling it all back in with a large salmon in tow. the fish rolled several time and made several other short runs. I got the fish in finally, and removed the hook which was in the fishes tounge. this fish was the biggest of the trip at, 36".
I landed another salmon on the outside bend, below White Rapids. It grabbed on my first stip as I finished the hang down. another Hen of around 34".
This was it for the trip for me. My guide, Jeremy, landed two grilse from the boat one at White Rapids and one at Mountain Channel.
The Miramichi reminds me very much of the upper Menominee River in Wisconsin where Angler X guide smallmouth. Now it looks like the Menominee in may when the water is high and form the pictures I've seen, It even resembles the menominee in low water, which is most of the season on the Miramichi.
I think I would like to try the Miramichi in summer for the bright salmon, but it sounds like it will not be remotely similiar to the spring. low water and tiny flies are apparently the rule.
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