Timing for the Baie des Chaleurs region
Thought I might add to this for another region of the Gaspe...
The Bonaventure can start to fish well from about the 6-10 of June, based on my experience. The fish, however, usually push into the middle to upper part of the river, zones C and even D. C is the best and is a NON-reserved zone. Once the 15th of June comes around the fishing gets hot everywhere.
The Petite Cascapedia is a bit different. It gets started around the 18th or so and then hits high gear around the 20-25th of June. Fish can be found almost everywhere!
The Cascapedia, or Grand Cascapedia as many call it, can be hot from June 1 onward, depending on the moon and tides. Yes! they do have an impact. Believe it or not, I have caught fish in the UPPER sectors, D and E of the Cascapedia as early as June 2. Last year was the latest I have ever seen it, hooked and landed my first fish on June 11 but others were taken before that, I believe the 6th, if I am not mistaken.
A couple other rivers to consider, besides the York and Dartmouth, WHICH ARE EXCELLENT early season, as Ann stated, are the Grande Riviere River, the Trois Couronnes beat and the Matapedia River.
When it comes down to later periods, most, if not all rivers, will have a good number of fish in them by the middle part of July. Although July is an excellent time of year to fish here in Quebec, the last two weeks can be a bit more crowded as it is the time of the summer where many civil servants and the construction industry workers take their vacation time. So, if you do not have reserved water, it can be harder to find a spot to fish without other anglers around.
August is probably the most underated time of year to fish many of the Gaspe Rivers. Find one like the Petite, or another COLD water river and you will have a great experience! Over the past 5-years we have had good to huge shots of rain during the first two weeks of August that have provided anglers with EXCELLENT to SUBERB fishing. These two weeks, statistically speaking, have been our best for the last 4-years. I can tell you that it is a tough sell for most, as many people are convinced that the salmon are a bit dull at this time of the year, and this can be true if you fish during the day when the water is low. But, if when the rains come, or, if you fish in the morning and especially just before dark (with small dark flies) the action is hot! I can imagine that some rivers that get a bit warmer do not fare quite as well, so I am only speaking for rivers like the Cascapedia, Petite, and Bonnie, that are generally colder rivers.
September is also a great time of the year to fish and is becoming more and more popular with non-residents, especially. Why? Simple... this is Catch & Release season and the number of anglers on the river drops. Lots of water to fish, TONS of fish around, old and fresh, plus we usually start to get a noticable change in temperature lowering the water temps, resulting in the fish getting a second wind!
So WHENEVER YOU CAN COME, is basically a good time! It all depends on what sort of experience you are looking for. So, whether you are going to be fishing with your favorite guide, booking agent, outfitter, or simply on your own, come based on when YOU can come. Might be a good idea to try out all seasons over the course of a few years as NOTHING is guaranteed in salmon fishing!
Best to you all,
Independent Salmon & Trout guide