GASPE PENINSULA – CAMP BONAVENTURE
The Bonaventure River - “Perhaps the clearest salmon river in the world”
Ideally located on the banks of the Bonaventure River Camp Bonaventure offers anglers fishing on some of the world’s clearest and most pristine rivers. Sight-fishing for salmon is an extraordinarily exciting experience, at odds with most salmon fishing and when combined with fish in the 10-40lb range it can be heart stopping.
Location & Environment
Camp Bonaventure is located on the lower section of the Bonaventure River close to the coast of the stunning shores of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, the heart of some of the world’s most productive salmon waters. This is real salmon country and all the three rivers fished by the lodge are equally seductive on account of their surroundings, pristine and typically crystal clear water, runs of salmon and in the case of the Petit and Grand Cascapedia, very significant size of their salmon.
The Rivers – Grand Cascapedia, Petite Cascapedia & Bonaventure
The fishing at Camp Bonaventure is focused on the Bonaventure but you should have the opportunity to fish both the Petite and Grand Cascapedia. The Bonaventure River is however the heart of the lodge and with some, if not the clearest water of any salmon river of comparable size, it is understandably a favourite amongst many anglers fishing the region. In total guests have the opportunity to fish 80 miles of three of the most legendary Atlantic salmon rivers in Canada. Although it is not possible to specify exactly where and which rivers you will fish on a typical week the variety of water and conditions are typically a huge asset in ensuring you will encounter good or exceptional fishing.
With one of the strongest runs of salmon of all the Gaspe rivers the Bonaventure is a magnificent salmon river in its own right. Where however it really stands alone is in its almost unparalleled water clarity. Running gin-clear all season it is possible to spot fish wherever you stop. The ability to see salmon in such clarity is exciting beyond measure, although it can also be emotionally exhausting as you pit your wits against a very obvious quarry. Access is by both wading and from canoe and it is renowned as the river for dry fly fishing. Of note the water temperature of the Bonaventure remains relatively cool throughout the summer.
The Petite Cascapedia is one of the most intimate rivers on the Gaspe, although despite its size itb has some huge salmon in the 30-40lb range, comparable with those of the Grand Cascapedia. Rods are limited to 8 per day on the restricted sections of the river. There is however very limited pressure on much of the public water that can only be accessed effectively by canoe. Much of the water for the Petite Cascapedia sources from underground springs from the interior of the Chic Choc Mountains and this ensures that the water temperature rarely rises above 60 degrees even on the hottest of summers. Although early starts may be required salmon continue to take aggressively throughout the season.
No other salmon river in North America conjures up the majesty of the Atlantic Salmon better than the Grand Cascapedia. By way of illustration the most comprehensive books to date, “The Grand Cascapedia River: A History” consists of two volumes and approx. 1,500 pages with more than enough references to mammoth salmon. The Cascapedia sources in the Chic-Choc mountain range and battles its way down river, in and around spruce and alder forests, to the Bay of Chaleurs, a distance of approx. 70 miles. The river is split into 7 sectors and Salmon Lodge has access to ‘A’ sector as well as the Lake and Salmon branches. Typically the Cascapedia carries a slight tea colour reflecting its drainage area and usually has a good volume of water with well-defined pools.
The Salmon Fishing – A note on access
Salmon fishing in Quebec is a mixture of private access, public access and lottery allocated places. Each river has a slightly different rulebook and although on the whole it runs at odds with European salmon rivers for the most the system allows part private or restricted access fishing. It does pay dividends to ensure that you have booked by 1st November to get first crack at the lottery when 50% of those rods on respective sectors are allocated.
Camp Bonaventure set the standards for many fishing lodges in North America. Orvis endorsed it offers anglers both tranquillity and comfort with every convenience to hand. It has few equals (at least prior to the renovation of Salmon Lodge. An open plan and spacious living and dining room allow guests to relax and entertain in comfort. There are four well-appointed guest rooms each with private bathroom and screened porch sleeping up to 8 guests. Alongside the main lodge there is also a private guesthouse, perfect for a team or family of 4. Great food, relaxed atmosphere and very high levels of service typify a stay at Camp Bonaventure.
Best Time To Go
The fishing starts form early June and runs through to the end of September. Salmon start to enter the rivers in late May and good numbers of fish will be in the river by early June when the lodge opens. Mid June-July are considered prime weeks although good water conditions will always dictate prospects and with the Bonaventure and Petit Cascapedia running colder than would be normal fishing can remain good throughout the season. July and August are the best months to fish with a dry fly. Given good water September can be very prolific.
Air Canada provides daily flight service between Montreal and Gaspé, Quebec or Bathurst, New Brunswick. There are two scheduled flights both to and from each location daily. Salmon Lodge is a three-hour drive from Gaspé, and two hours from Bathurst. You can either rent a car at the airport or transport to and from the airport can be arranged. For a more sedate journey you can take the overnight train from Montreal to Bonaventure, which should arrive first thing in the morning and is only 10 mins drive from the lodge (although it is not always punctual).
Availability and Pricing for the 2018 Season
If you would like to know more about the trip, please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:
Click on a photo to see full size picture gallery
Photo credits: Mark Wengler
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