Thursday, June 23, 2011

Matapedia 2011 A Sum Of 2 Parts

Part 1(The Set Up And Anticipation)

There are some days that I can't help but feel excited.  Today, I was able to clear my schedule so I can travel to Quebec for a few days on the Matapedia River.  Now the thought of hitting the Gaspe is all I usually need, but this year is different.  The reason is simple and becoming additional clear day by day.

Matapedia River At The Location Of The Largest Capture Ever
54 Pounds
Ste. Alexis de Matapedia   Habersham Pool
For the last forty years I have seen all kinds of conditions having angled Atlantic salmon on many rivers in North America and Scotland .  I started salmon fishing during a period of decline and watched the numbers in some rivers hit zero with others on the brink.  Now, due to what I believe is a natural climate cycle, the Atlantic salmon, as well as a few other North Atlantic cold water species, are experiencing a dramatic increase in size and numbers.  So far a three year trend that I hope continues.

So, I was sitting in my office today, with a very demanding schedule. I made the decision that it was an impossible and intolerable situation not be fishing when the best runs of my entire life with Salar were in gear.  My rods and flies have been ready for months and beyond tying a few choice temptations, I can hit the road and not look back.  My anticipation is high, too high for my own good, and the reports keep getting better and better every day.

I use three different rods for this river because there are different pools and runs that I will visit that demand the correct tool.  I already know the water conditions, the weather forecast and the locations that will be of most importance.   I am looking forward to the rhythmic dance of the single Spey with a traditional long belly and fifteen foot rod.  I am ready with my thirteen foot Scandi set up for Ste. Florance and will welcome using my 10'4' switch with a big dry fly should the fish be looking up.   The two hand dry fly flick is a blast and I can do the job well.

I'm as ready as I can be and will give you the details next Thursday.

Part 2 (The Report)

Sunday morning I set my alarm for 4AM.  Light comes early to the Gaspe and I wanted to make the most of the day.

Lord Mount Stephen built a fishing camp in 1870 on the banks of the Matapedia where the Causapscal River enters.  Later in 1917 the property was purchased by wealthy American and English speaking Canadians to form the Matamajaw Salmon Club.  They picked the sight because it represents one of the finest salmon pools in Canada.  The Causapscal will receive more than one fish over fifty pounds each year to the counting fence and the pool holds fish from mid May through the entire season.

I arrived at The Forks at 4:30 and was not surprised to be angler number twenty.  After waiting two and a half hours and watching seven salmon landed I started my first pass through the pool.  The people of Quebec are the heartiest of souls, friendly and kind,  and they take their sporting life very seriously.  The catch is more important than the fishing and they angle with great purpose.  The first person on the pool arrived at 1:30AM.

I made four passes through the pool with various flies as well as presentations and was not able to find the magic.  As well, over my blink your eyes two days I visited Le Tank, Heppel, Matalic, Cullen's, Alice, Ruthierville and Clark's Brook.  I fished hard and was constantly trying to open the door.  I saw salmon everywhere that I just could not get to take.  It is so frustrating to have such a bountiful table set before me and not feel that pull.  I watched each and every cast for what I knew was the right swing.  I was mumbling,"take it, take it, go ahead, take it," more than a few times.  But it was not meant to be.

Every trip I make to the Gaspe ends in the same way.  I drive across the Inter-Provincial bridge out of Quebec, up the Restigouche River on River Road and at the moment I make the sharp left turn away from the river's sight I am longing to return.  It will take me a bit of time to understand, or more than likely, I will never find out.

What a great season for Atlantic Salmon.

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