I was in Maine last week and hoped to get up to the Gaspe' for a couple of days. Ann Smith was very helpful, but my son was late arriving and I didn't leave time to make the trip -- which required a 12-hour drive up and a 12-hour drive back.
I did, however, find time to drive up to New Brunswick -- only 6.5 hours -- for one day of fishing at Big Hole on the Miramichi. I didn't wait for my son, but because I was able to get up, fish, and back in a day-and-a-half, I was able to get one day of fishing under my belt.
It has been two season since I have fished for salmon and I was really rusty. I took the fly away from a grilse that chased the fly on my second cast, but that got my adrenaline pumping.
On about my tenth cast, a bright, approximately 12 pound salmon hit the fly like the proverbial freight train. I set the hook hard and the fish immediately started taking line with a vengenence. As I was trying to get some modicum of control of the situation, the fish jumped. I didn't give it any slack, and it spit the hook like it had never even been set.
All this happened at about 8:15am. I had no more action for the rest of the morning. The other two people fishing the pool, however, did hook two fish. One grilse was landed. Not bad for salmon fishing.
That action came on my single-handed rod. I have been attempting to teach myself how to cast a two-hander, and changed rods at about 10am -- BIG mistake. At this point, I know just enough about casting the two-hander to be dangerous, but I am stubborn. I spent the next two hours -- from 10am to noon -- trying to use the two-hander in real fishing conditions. I have alot more practicing to do. In that two-hour period, I think I made 3 fishable casts, but beautiful casts they were. I won't tell you about the other umteen casts that landed around my neck, tangled the line, fell in heaps on the water -- you all know what I am talking about.
The evening fishing started at about 7pm. I raised three different fish to bombers, but did not hook any. Only one fish was raised by the other two people fishing the pool.
Big Hole is a very large, cold water pool. It is fed directly by a very cold stream on one side of the main river, and there is a very long run on the other side of the river that also gets a large amount of cold water from an upriver stream. When I say "long run", I mean a stretch of water that can be fished comfortably at one time by eight people on rotation. The fish were visible and did alot of jumping and rolling. The weather had been very hot, but the fish were there for the catching, if you could get them to take.
Fishing was slow on the rest of the river, except in cold water pools. The area has had some rain and the weather has cooled off a bit since I was there (July 8th), so my guess is that if you can get on the water now, you stand a good chance of picking up a fish or two.
I hope to give the river a chance again in the Fall.