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Upper Merrimac Brood Salmon

2479 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Lefty
Although sad that they are brood hatchery fish and not the once mighty Merrimac native atlantics, the brood fishery is restoring some interest in salmon flyfishing for sportsmen and is contributing to the overall belief of the New England people that there really was such thing as a salmon here.

In fact, it's been the only place I can Spey cast with the hope of a salmonid flash, leaping torpedo profile, and the freestone currents rushing around my legs - without getting on a plane.

Last spring I landed a spunky 7 pounder with someone's green muddler in it's jaw. The other angler used a very light tippet and it had snapped. The hook was slightly tainted as if it would start to corrode from the jaw of the fish, so I removed it and brought it down to the fly shop as a memoir. The fish made a sharp tail slap as it rushed back into the deep rocky hole along the River Street stretch in Franklin.
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If you want good Atlantic Salmon action close to Mass try Nova Scotia. A high speed ferry ride out of Portland is all it'll take. Lodging's cheap, trout fishing is outstanding, and if the water is high, the Salmon fishing is good too. Fish the Medway and LeHave rivers. About 1 1/2 hrs from Yarmouth NS which is the ferry destination.
Sounds good Jim! You say it's only 1/2 hour from the ferry? I'm all over it.

In fact our friend Bob Boudreau is a licensed guide on the Margaree (a bit further north) and his brother Mike is a professional fly tyer in Montreal. Our active member Luis Nasim has fished for salmon there before, in fact this may be the makings of a CLAVE!!

Luis - is there still an annual salmon clave? Perhaps we need to revive that tradition. I remember helping to instigate such a clave a long time ago (remember?) and then being unable to attend. Fill us in freind!
Yes there is, as a matter of fact. Lots of interesting people. I was there in '96 and '97 but haven't been since. Bob took care of me during those two trips. What a guy. What memories! What rivers! Cape Breton is awesome. Shoot, why do I live in this cold-for-six-months foresaken place. Juro, you're driving me crazy!!!

Btw, got to try a slide scanner at work. Damned thing costs like two grand here. Scanned a couple of brookie shots from last year and some vistas. I need to get confortable with it, yet. One gorgeous scan of a big brookie and then trouble with the vistas. I think light is the key. You know anything about slide scanners?
I paid 50 bucks (USD) for a Mustek scanner at Costco last year, scanned all the pics in the <!--http--><a href="" target="_blank">Clave photo journals</a><!--url--> with it and it's going strong. Now that I have a digital camera, I took all the shots for "Artisans" with it and what a convenience to cut out the development process!

To answer... no.
An Atlantic salmon fishing clave in Nova Scotia - that does sound very interesting. I have been to Nova Scotia, specifically Cape Breton around 22X in my life, as my parents are from New Waterford.

The island is beautiful and I would highly recommend a summertime camping trip up there along the Cabot Trail. I went up there for a 10 day camping trip in 1994 (wow, 6 yrs already...) and hiked along some wonderful rivers. The area was in a bit of a drought in late August of that year, and the river was closed for fishing. The water was crystal clear and we were able to spot ATS parr swimming in pools and watch eels too. Lots of kingfisher activity as well, they are my favorite bird species, and a hoot to watch hunt.

If there are good water levels the place is easy enough to get to either by ferry or a rather lengthy car ride (~16hrs from central MA). Back then fishing licenses to fish in the parks were $2/day (CDN) and something like $10/week (CDN), and the camp sites were very, very reasonable. I'm sure the salmon regs are a little different though. And as a bonus the water on the western side of Cape Breton - Northumberland Straight - were as warm as the summer waters on the south side of Cape Cod - drastically different than the cold Maine coast.

<b>photo of a hatchery ATS smolt</b>
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Reading these in retrospect, I now realize I need to do BOTH! The Merrimac fishery should be heating up (April) as the water temps hit 40. John Greenwood (director of anadromous program NH) says there are plenty of salmon rolling in the Franklin stretch, but the temps were 34 back at the Wlimington Show (March 11). The great fishing doesn't last long as the water temps exceed comfort levels for salmon in May and June.

The Margaree is on the list for fall trips. I hope I can finally get up to swing a fly with Bob Boudreau this year. I'll be hitting you guys up for more information as the season approaches.

Brian - if you're still going there in mid-summer let me know.
Been to Mabou Cape Breton for some great Celtic fiddling. Flyfished the W. Mabou River, but it was drought years from Me to Labrador real bad. Still great trout fishing in the side streams! Anyway talk of the Portland ferry reminds me of how the powers that be are trying to connect Boston to Halifax by Amtrak type train going right through Reading, Ma. Also, Massport was talking of running a ferry from Boston to Halifax too. I hope these things come to pass, it's a long drive. As you drive across New Brunswick you'd sware you were in Ireland. God's country for sure. I will go back there someday.

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