As the leaves fell... end of season thoughts [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: As the leaves fell... end of season thoughts

Gaspe Salmon
10-05-2006, 11:16 AM
Hello folks!

Thought I would give you a little end of season wrap-up regarding the 2006 season on the Petite Cascapedia, Bonaventure and Cascapedia Rivers.

As most of you know, I sold my business this past spring and went back to my true passions - guiding and teaching people how to cast and catch fish. All I can say is that I am happier now than I have been in the past 10-years. Stepping away from all of the B.S. and politics that is currently surrounding our sport and reasource was exactly what I needed to get back to my "roots".

I felt like a kid everyday I went out to the river this summer. My mind was no longer filled with lodge woes and the other B.S. that goes along with being a lodge owner/operator. Like I said, each day I hit the river this year I did so with 110% enthusiasm and heart. My passion was more alive than ever, although it has never left me in the past, and I was eager to fish hard every single day.

As my guiding contract only started around the 11th of June, I had a full 10-days to prepare myself mentally and physically for the season. Out of those 10-days I fished 9.5 days. On June 1 I hit the river without any success however the 2nd would prove to be "the" day for Vero my lady friend. Somewhere up river she managed to hook into a 30+ pound fish and proceeded to kick its ass with one of my 8wt rods. The pattern used was a black and green stonefly tied with a "secret" body material that drove them crazy all summer long!

Following this huge fish Vero landed each consecutive day I fished during the early season yielded fish or some sort of action. On the 5th of June my son Dylan hooked (and later lost) a nice chrome fish in the 25-28 pound range on my Loop 13'2 Yellow spey rod. At 12, he impressed the heck out of me when he simply picked it up, brought it back to 2 o'clock and slammed it forward to 10 o'clock shooting out a nice and straight 45' cast. He did that all day until around 3:00 p.m. when his fish finally took. And yes, it was another special stonefly I tie (Paul Caron style wing).

From that day, the 5th of June, things went from good to great for the rest of the month. By the time that the first guests had arrived (around June 10) I had already hooked and released 8-fish on three different rivers. Not a fish was under 20-lbs by the way. You can imagine how excited we were to get our buddies out on the river! My first day out was with Mike and Jim who proceeded to give me a 4-fish day with one fish of 36-lbs and the others in the 20's. The rest of the week(s) in June were all similar, as I think most others would tell you around the peninsula, especially down Gaspe way.

As we got into July things were still good, however, we were starting to already ask ourselves if we would be getting any rain soon as the rivers were already starting to get low. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I hit the river June 1, it was at July 1, levels. As a matter of fact, when I returned in later September, the water was actually higher in Sept, than it had been in June, by about 1.5 feet!

Where was I... O.k. July started out with a bang but like I mentioned the water conditions started to fade quickly. By Mid July, things started to slow down in terms of the action due to low water. The Cascapedia and Petite Cascapedia fished well due to the fact that there were a lot of fish in each river, however, the Bonaventure, with fewer fish returning this year, had a tougher time of it. As the water levels kept getting lower and lower, I decided to hit the upper branches of the Petite Cascapedia for a few days and WOW! Had some AMAZING experiences up there this year, however, they were short lived as the bottom of the river started to show throughout the latter part of July right on through the entire month of August.

Although things were tough, we never gave up, and it is by changing our methods and hours that we fished that saved us most of the time. Sure the water was low but the fish were still there. And when you are fishing over fish, you always have a chance at catching them provided you fish at the right time and use the right methods. My method this year was to use 12-16 foot leaders with size 10-12 flies swung slowly. The best period of the day for us was just before dark, which should come as no surprise to any of you. While I would have gone to sink tips and sinking lines in the past on some occassions, this year I specifically resisted the urge and went really small. I am glad I did for two reasons. First, sink tips are a pain in the ass to fish and second, sink tips are a pain in the ass to fish.
Enough said.

As we headed into September we actually started to get a little rain, althought it only started around the middle part of the month, it was great to see. Better late than never. Once the rains really started to fall and we were seeing 1-2 foot rises in our rivers, all hell broke loose on most rivers. With these higher water levels and Very cold temps, we started to break out the intermediate and sink tip lines a bit more, however, the floating line was still our first choice along with the intermediate which proved to be the most effective line during September month.

The last two weeks of the season were almost as good as the first 3-weeks of June this year. We caught and SAW some absolutely incredible fish. G-Mario from Italy can attest to that, he hooked and played for over 20-minutes THE biggest fish I have ever seen on a rod and reel. Remember I have been fishing for 32 - years and guiding for over 15 of those years so I have seen a lot of big fish get away but this was REALLY big! G-Mario, as usual, took it all in stride and simply smiled as the line went slack. What a guy!

Like I was saying, the end of the season was very good and on the last day of the season whilst I was with Howard and Richard, they treated me to a three fish day 25-28 and 35! What a way to end the season!!!

Wish I could upload you guys some pics but I am having a heck of a time getting the sizes right!

I wish you all a great fall and winter wherever your fly is cast. On a personal note: I also hope that future threads on this, and similar boards, will be about fishing and how to save and improve the reasource, rather than the bickering and blaming I have been seeing over the last couple of years. It is high time that we stop talking about who should be managing the reasource and start managing it while it is still around. If not, all of you (and me) may be looking for another species to fish. Imagine what it would be like if people could come together with the same intensity and with the same amount of passion whilst bashing one another, imagine what could happen if all of us could actually channel that energy towards conserving the species. Food for thought.

Frowning rods and screaming reels to you all,

David Bishop

10-05-2006, 12:08 PM
Thanks David
Can't wait until I return next June.

10-05-2006, 12:43 PM
Geez man,,, you were living my dream and now you say it aint all its cracked up to be????:chuckle: Nice post David,, and congratulations on "finding" yourself and what really makes ya happy.
Salmon Chaser

Gaspe Salmon
10-06-2006, 10:06 AM
Dear Salmon Chaser,

Did not want to make it seem that the "dream" is not all that it is cracked up to be! On the contrary - the DREAM is guiding people everyday and showing them what you know. The only downside is when you are stupid like me and try to be everything to all people. Does not work, believe me. Despite my ups and downs, I have NO REGRETS at all.

The only thing I find sad, as I look in from the outside, is the fact that there are so many talented, competent, and brilliant people, who, by the way are ALL passionate salmon anglers and managers, fighting amongst each other about WHO will manage and have access to the resource. If everyone does not stop bitching soon, we may all be bickering over empty rivers. Then I am sure the fighting will stop and then the finger pointing will start as to who was responsible for letting the salmon die out.

It is my fervent belief that there is room for everyone. It is not a simple case of accessibility, as most would have everyone believe. It is more complex and involves lots of jobs, a way of life for many here, and an ever changing demand for access to the resource. I will not pretend to have all of the answers, however, after being on all sides of the fence, lodge owner, Zec director, Zec administrator, guide, biologist and simple guide (like now) I can tell you that if there was a bit of goodwill and openess expressed by everyone, this problem would have been solved about 2-years ago. Unfortunately, there are many different interests working against one another and things have gotten ugly and personal. THIS is ONE of the MAIN reasons I decided to sell. I was getting too caught up in the BS and fighting and finally realized that I was doing NOTHING for the salmon. Thankfully, the light switch went off BEFORE it was too late for me! All I can do now is preach to everyone about CONSERVATION and offer my humble opinions on how to fish for, and hopefully how to catch these magnificent fish.

Keep your DREAM ALIVE! Go out and guide people, start a business if you want, however, try to keep out of the politics of the "business side of things" if you can. It will save you a lot of sleepless nights and personal attacks like you may be seeing on this and other sites.

If you ever want, or, need any advice as to what this guiding thing is all about, shoot me a pm or call me at 418-392-6768. I will be very happy to help anyway I can.

Best to you,

David Bishop

10-06-2006, 07:39 PM
I for one am glad to see David has retained or even refocused his passion for guiding and salmon fishing. One story to tell from the 2006 season is David's last day off before the season, June 9th, when he took some poor, tired soul (me) across the peninsula just to get his skunked **s into some fish. The story goes like this.

I'd been in Oregon for nearly 7 months and had spent upwards of 30+ rod days on various rivers and had one Steelhead to show for it. Taking pity on me we took off for the York where he got me into my first fish in less than 15 minutes on the river. Gracefully passing up another good pool later in the day I was fast to a larger salmon which was shortly lost. Most anglers would have fished what they found, but the guide or grace in him put me into another fish when I was clearly in a bad way.

After that confidence builder and a few others, and all the knowledge you've bestowed on me these past few years, this year I can now feel confident enough to call myself a "Salmon Fisherman".

Passion is a wonderful thing my friend, never lose it no matter what you do.

Good to have you back!!!


10-07-2006, 09:05 AM

Great post.....


10-07-2006, 09:12 AM

Thanks for the inspiration. Gets me thinking on this stormy Saturday morning. I guess quite often, we loose our "purpose" and get tangled within the maze. Our focus then blurrs while we negotiate this maze, leaving behind the real "purpose" of the journey. Obviously you know this senerio well.

The fact that you were able to stop, reflect, understand, and then ACT upon your conclusion inspires me the most. It takes conviction and bravery and above all, the courage to separate ourselves from our "need" to be right in order to ACT, and make those changes. The action you took and the maintanance it takes to continue, must be a very freeing feeling. I'm not so naive to think it's all very smooth, but no path is smooth, other than the ones created by our own expectations. Perhaps I am at a similar place as you where prior to your decisions.

Most find it easier to continue within the maze, and feel like victims of "fate" looking for comisseration rather than to muster the courage to change. You sound like a person I would love to fish with one day.

Thanks for the thoughts......


Gaspe Salmon
10-07-2006, 02:09 PM
Howie and Chris,

You are both much too kind. I appreciate your comments and fact that you took the time to post them here on the board.

As someone who has (is) going through some major changes in his life, I can tell you that it is not always easy to break away from certain things. I guess after I looked at my life, now that I am 41, I decided that I needed to get back to my roots, slow down a bit and I really felt the need to step away from some of the things that were slowly choking me in my life. Stepping away for a while and reflecting is a good thing. It helps you gain a bit of perspective about who you really are, who you were and who you want to be. For me, it was all about getting back to who I was. The Dave who tried to be too many things to too many people got lost along the way from time to time. All I can say is that I am glad I had the good sense to change my life when I did. It would have been really sad to have woken up later in life and regretted the last 20 odd years.

Today, as always, I have no regrets, some things I am not proud of, but NO regrets. Sure I would have liked things to have been different from time to time, BUT I truly feel blessed that I have been able to do what I have done for so long.

There are worse things in life than standing watching, (and sometimes being the drill sergeant) anglers as they fish for salmon and trout. I can tell you that I have the best office view in the world. That is all I need for now.

My life change will allow me FIRST to see my son more often, Lord knows he deserves to have his Dad around more, second, it will allow me to be in a non-conflict position, (as a simple guide) to offer my opinions and knowledge I have accumulated over the years, to hopefully help in the current debate going on here in Quebec about salmon resource management. If I am asked to give my 2Cents worth I will in the future, if not, I will simply continue to talk salmon conservation, teach casting and bring people fishing.

I have spent countless days with various people from different backgrounds on the rivers of the Gaspe and look forward to countless more in the future. Each day has brought me something and I have learned a lot about life and myself along the way. Hopefully, I will someday be able to give something back to the salmon. THEY are the reason I am here. They are the reason I came. They are the reason I will stay.

Best to you all and thank you for your kind words... it means more to me than you can imagine,