Friday, September 10, 2010

Heaven In October, They call It Margaree

For me the Margaree River on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia represents the end to my North American Atlantic Salmon season.  This is not a consolation prize.  The Margaree valley is so wonderful that just being there is magical.  The bonus of some large chrome is the cherry on top.

There is one very important factor that must be in play to make the circle complete.  A flush of water.

The river has two separate and distinctive runs each year.  There is a summer run in June and July that has been on the increase over the last few years.  These fish spread out over the entire river and receive steady angling pressure.   They will be very dark by the time October rolls around.  The fall run is made up of some very beautiful wide shoulder fish that will start to trickle during the first week of the month.  It's a nice steady increase of water that is important to this time.  I have seen the run hold off until later in low water years.

Some Margaree veterans say that you should wait as late as possible in October.  This year I am pushing the time back three days.  I have but four days to fish and want to make the best of the timing.  Most years you have a choice.  The second week of October will afford decent weather, sometimes down right perfect but there is a strong possibility that the fish don't show.  The third week the fish seem to like but the weather can snap to a winter feel over night.  I have experienced warm sun and light winds as well as snow flying sideways and the worst of conditions.  A fire and hot soup is advised.

The river is all public from the Big Intervale bridge down to the sea and offers very different challenges.  Make sure you drive up and see the area.   I bring three two hand rods.  15'/10, 13'/7 and 10'3"switch/8.  In October the rules require single hook that is barb free or pinched.  I use many different sizes of flies from size 6 to SunRay size tubes.  A big #2 Mickey Finn will do the trick on most pools.  You will want to have the color purple in some marabou collar flies and I strongly recommend the Ross Special.

I am giving this information and advise because I have never felt crowded on the Margaree.  Some of the pools can get a bit tight but there are so many places that can hold fish it is hard to cover but a few over a weeks trip.   The mix of people are the best you will find anywhere.  Please send me an e-mail should you desire any further information.  I think about the Margaree for the full twelve months waiting for the next trip. I call it  "Heaven In October"

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