Catch and release limits in the Gaspe? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Catch and release limits in the Gaspe?

05-24-2006, 09:52 AM
Are there specific catch and release limits on rivers or river sections in the Gaspe - meaning that if you catch and release say 2 fish, you are mandatorily done for the day? I'm thinking about a trip that I'll be doing in Sept, during catch and release season.

If so, do grilse count as salmon? I could certainly see being disappointed by releasing two grilse early in a morning and being prohibited from fishing for the main quarry the rest of the day.

The rule book alludes to this, but it seems like it might be a specific thing to certain ZECs since there is not an itemized list of when and where in the rules.

Just one more thing I was wondering about.:confused:


05-24-2006, 12:20 PM

There are no rules (laws) governing catch and release. The laws apply to killing of fish. I cannot speak for other river associations but in terms of Gaspe the zec has adopted a 2 fish release policy per angler per day. This is grilse, salmon, or a combination.

Again, there is no regulation and you will find different guidelines/opinions depending upon where you go. For example, on The St. Jean the zecs policy would apply to sectors 1 and 2 (sectors open to the general public). The Private Club also has a 2 fish limit, although they had discussed raising it to 3 but I do not know if that is in place. HOWEVER, The Pavillion (run by the ZEC) which is on The St. Jean above the Club has a 3 fish per person limit.

As a rule of thumb we allow our clients to hook and release 3 fish and then we will move them to a different river if they like and if time permits. This does not happen often but it does occassionally in August and September.

The Government has stated that they would not regulate catch and release in terms of a daily quota. Maybe they will change their position at some point and come up with a number. If so my hunch is that it will be 3 or 4 per day.

FYI, not every salmon river on the Gaspe peninsula is catch and release for large salmon in September.
Bill Greiner

Salar 33
05-24-2006, 01:08 PM
Dear Troy,

A Story. Many years ago my first adventure to the Gaspe was at a time when one fish per day C&R or kill was in place. My first day started on the lower Matapedia in town below the road bridge.

Within a very short time I was fast into a bright fish. Landing the beautiful 13 pound hen would mean that I was done for the day. This seemed totally strange and I was not feeling satisfied.

The next day I decided that I would move down in tippet to 8 pound. If I hooked another fish early maybe I would land the fish or maybe not. Remember, this is my early days and it seemed like the Gaspe was easy.

Fishing from a Gaspe boat we motored up river to just above the St. Alexis bridge. It was 8am. At 8:10 I was jarred by a huge salmon. Over 30 pounds and screaming off line so fast that the reel smacked me hard. Yes, you can guess what happened. The 8pound leader was no match for such a fish in the middle of June and was gone with my fly.

I fished for the rest of a week without even a rise to my fly. Moral of the story is simple. Don't ever underestimate the value of one fish let alone the opportunity for two. Quebec is great and you will not be disappointed.


05-24-2006, 01:12 PM
Salar 33 -

My blood is boiling reading your tale!!! I can't wait.

Salar 33
05-24-2006, 01:27 PM

I'm going nuts. For a number of years my first trip has been on the Restigouche and Matapedia starting today. The big brights are on the move and I have chosen a trip to Scotland to fish the Tay later in the year. Money is Money and I must make choices.

I will now wait another 30 days before I start on Glenn Emma. This is just too painful. Maybe the Merrimac will be back in it's banks soon.


05-24-2006, 02:21 PM
Thanks all for the input.

Indeed, it does seem strange to me, but then again, who am I?

I asked because I had the fortune/misfortune of running into this rule on the Petite Cascapedia last fall on my first salmon forray. My first fish was a grilse. The run I was fishing had a lot of nice fish in the 20-30lb category, and those were the fish that I was aiming for. Later in the day, I released a small salmon of ~10lbs. Nice fish, but I still wanted more... Boy was I confused, and somewhat disappointed when my guide said "well, that's it for today, let's pack up and go". He was not a talkative guy to say the least, so most of the many questions I had about salmon and fishing for them went unanswered with shrugs (thankfully this board exists).

Would seem to make sense to me that grilse should not count towards a C&R total, especially for those rivers that have a high grilse:large salmon ration. I could imagine being disappointed to spend $500+ a day for lodging, guide and river fees to catch two dinks and have to go sit on the bank the rest of the day. I know the phrase "you pays your money and you takes your chances" all too well, but still :roll:

Salar33 - that's a great story - I can just imagine the feeling in the pit of your stomach!

05-24-2006, 02:46 PM
You're expecting to fish in Sept at the end of the season.You're gently releasing the fish ,right ?
I wouldn't worry about catching more than the 2 fish ! **** ,just enjoy the fishing and recall during the winter ,those 4 or 5 you caught in one day :smokin: UNLESS you're up on one of the rivers in the combat zone !
That being said ,early in the season I'd stop at 1. A 20 or 30 lb fresh run fish is going to leave quite an impression on one's soul for the rest of the day .

Salar 33
05-24-2006, 02:56 PM
Thanks Troy,

I'm haunted by that fish for the last 20 years.


05-24-2006, 03:19 PM
I'm not being greedy here. :tongue: I just never got a chance at a big fish because I "limited" out twice in two days on smaller salmon. I did land a nice, quite bright 17lb hen as my last fish, and I'm not complaining about it. It was just frustrating to have to break down the rod without getting a real shot at some of the truely big fish in front of me. I would happily have instead caught and released one 25+ pounder then called it a trip.

Maybe part of it is that salmon fishing is new for me. I can happily sit on the bank and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while fishing for trout in Ungava- even HUGE trout by anyone's standards because I've caught a lot of them before. Been there, done that. Salmon - it's just a new thing for me, and I have yet to experience one really nice salmon with a lot of spunk, and I just want to experience it in the limited time I have to try it.

I really enjoyed my time in the Gaspe last year. I lived in Montreal for 13 years, and last year was my first visit to the penninsula. I'd always gone north in Quebec, never east of the Saguenay. Last fall, I travelled the entire perimeter of the Gaspe with my SO. She and I toured, hiked, and ate our way through the Gaspe for 9 days, and my treat was the 2 days of salmon fishing at the end. Lovely country!!

Thank you again all for the input.


05-29-2006, 06:59 AM
I'm not being greedy here. :tongue: I just never got a chance at a big fish because I "limited" out twice in two days on smaller salmon. I did land a nice, quite bright 17lb hen as my last fish, and I'm not complaining about it. It was just frustrating to have to break down the rod without getting a real shot at some of the truely big fish in front of me. I would happily have instead caught and released one 25+ pounder then called it a trip.

I know what you are saying but for me anything larger than a grilse would absolutely delight me! A 17 lb fish would be roughly 3 times the size of any salmon I've hooked in a decade of fishing for them....(mostly in the dominantly grilse rivers of Newfoundland)

Green Ghost
05-30-2006, 11:39 AM
Just a couple thoughts and a question.

My understanding in Gaspe is that the two fish C& R limit is voluntary as a courtesy to your fellow fishermen and as a conservation favor to the fish themselves. The limit is completely self-imposed and is reasonable.

There are however, some folks who do not recognize this self-imposed sporting gesture and will continue to and have ignored it completely. Even in the presence of others.

My Question is.. Can the ZEC Wardens enforce this Rule?? :tsk_tsk:

05-30-2006, 02:46 PM
Seems like I've opened a can of worms here. :eek:

Ooops, we fly fisher people don't use worms, how about Pandora's box? :razz:

Best wishes,

05-30-2006, 03:20 PM
Troy- why shouldnt grilse be counted towards your CnR limit? just because they are small doesnt decrease their value to the river.

On the restigouche we have had CnR limits of either 4 or 2 fish in the past. I believe it will be four fish again this year.
I too have had a great disdain for grilse for sometime, but have now learned to accept them. I went 4 or 5 years in a row where i couldnt seem to catch a salmon above 15 pounds and had plenty of grilse. Very frustrating for me but i have now come to terms with the grilse. Mainly i just dont fish a green machine anymore...
I had a morning 2 or 3 years ago where i wished very much that grilse didnt count towards my limit. I'll never forget it. Pouring rain and i couldnt hook a fish to save my life. We usually start at 8am and by 10 i had burned 4 or 5 good salmon. Right around 10:15 i finally hooked up with a nice hen that i let eat the fly this time. She would go about 26 pounds. 5 or 6 casts later i hooked a bigger fish. After a nice battle i brought a 30 pounder to the net. I switched over to a dry and proceded a hook a big male. He crushed the yellow bomber i floated over him and by 11:15 i had landed salmon of 26, 30 and 35 pounds. I almost quit fishing right there but figured to be on a hot streak and they could only get bigger. Well as you can probably guess the next fish to take my fly was a grilse that i couldnt loose to save my life. i couldnt believe it. And to make things worse, that night 2 40 pound fish were landed in the beat that i was going to fish had i not limited out. I have yet to break 40 pounds but as sure it will happen someday. :)

Also I have had some very memorable moments trying to catch a big salmon with 3 fish released for the day. This when it is so much fun to fish a dry fly. Many times i have fished late july or august with many grilse in the river and you can watch the fish lift off the bottom to come for the fly... big fish, let her eat, grilse pick it up.
Its all fishing and it is all great.

here are 2 pictures from that morning in the rain...

05-31-2006, 12:32 PM
As I stated in an earlier post, I'm almost a complete neophyte when it comes to salmon fishing, so I'm asking lots of questions.

The whole thing about the 2 fish limit was just an innocent question - I was just making sure that I understood the rules before an upcoming trip to the Gaspe, and was a little surprised by the 2 fish C&R guidelines, it being outside my experience. I completely understand the reasoning behind it and have no quarrel with it.

My only suggestion, made off the cuff I might add, was that maybe grilse should not count towards the limit. LET ME BE CLEAR - I was in no way complaining in any of my posts, just wrapping my head around the particular regulations of an area and their financial and angling implications. I hope that nobody interpreted my questions as complaining.

So, for the sake of conversation - here's an idea maybe why grilse might either be not counted or maybe 2 grilse count as 1 salmon in a C&R "limit". Using the appropriate gear for large salmon (say 8-10wt rod), even a hot grilse can be landed and released in a fraction of the time (generally speaking here) as a large salmon, and therefore, they may be less affected by it. How often do you have to spend 15 minutes reviving a grisle before releasing it? This seems to happen a fair bit with large salmon when people baby them in, but I'm only going by reading accounts, not a lot of personal experience here.

I don't think grilse are any less important biologically speaking that large salmon - they all have a role to play. I'm a biologist by training and profession and have a lot of interest in all fish ecology (although I'm a geneticist/biochemist). I'm just positing that they might be able to withstand C&R angling impact better. And I'm only throwing the idea out there for conversation.


05-31-2006, 01:07 PM

I agree with you. For us workin' types, the amount of spending it requires to do these things makes it anti-climatic to put it mildly.

I think a multiple of grilse per salmon to a voluntary C&R "limit" is a great idea. Speaking as a guide in a todifferent venue I would not be proud of myself to call it a day putting my client on grilse especially let's say if he/she had not hooked any salmon. If I worked a full day for the client and it didn't happen, well that's another thing entirely.


05-31-2006, 05:04 PM

I am not sure what, if anything, the wardens could do in terms of enforcing something which is not a law or regualtion since they can only enforce laws and regulations. There are no regulations concerning catch and release and there will very likely be none in the foreseeable future. The Government is always open to modification of laws and regulations based upon factual information and you could certainly speak with some folks in Gaspe or Ste Anne des Monts this summer. Look forward to fishing with you in July on 3 and 5 of the Grande.


If you are up here from June 13-19 feel free to drop by the lodge; Simon and Jim V will be here for the week.