Anglers all over the world know that if you want to experience some of the best Atlantic salmon fishing available anywhere, New Brunswick is the place to go. The province has been attracting high-profile fishers for more than a 100 years, from the Duke of Windsor to Bing Crosby. And although it is famous for its salmon, New Brunswick’s lakes, rivers and ocean are host to dozens of other species of fish and shellfish. To give you a better idea of what draws anglers to New Brunswick, here is a list of our favourite fishing hotspots in the province:
Stretching for 250 km (155 mi) across New Brunswick, the Miramichi River is world-famous for its Atlantic salmon. In fact, the Miramichi is home to more Atlantic salmon than any other river in North America. In Doaktown, you will even find an Atlantic salmon museum. These fish are best targeted in July, when they are aggressively feeding in preparation for spawning season. Heading out in a small boat or canoe is a good way to find the deep pools where your chances of success are highest.
This 113 km (70 mi) long tributary to the Miramichi is also known for its Atlantic salmon, but it is the sea-run brook trout which make it special. The Cains is home to some of the biggest brookies in Eastern Canada, with some fish weighing up to 4.5 kg (10 lb). Like in the Miramichi, paddling in search of a deep pool is your best bet, particularly in the River’s upper reaches as much of the lower river is private property. The Copper Killer is a popular fly pattern for the Cains’ darker waters.
Flowing across the northwestern part of New Brunswick and into Quebec, the Restigouche welcomes around 15,000-20,000 salmon each year, attracting anglers from all over the world. Restigouche salmon are known for their aggressive character, putting up quite a fight once hooked. Reeling in a 9-14 kg (20-30 lb) salmon is common, and the river’s clear water and tranquil atmosphere make the entire fishing experience unforgettable, regardless of your success rate.
Saint John River
The Saint John River is home to many species of fish, but it is the striped bass that sets this river apart, with some claiming this to be the best place in Canada to target these sea-run fish. Each year, more 9 kg + (20 lb +) bass are caught within Saint John’s city limits alone than in the rest of Atlantic Canada combined. In 1979, the unofficial Canadian record bass was pulled from this river, weighing over 28 kg (62 lb), while more recently a 22 kg (48 lb) specimen was pulled out in 2008. The Saint John is also home to a unique Atlantic sturgeon fishery, along with the smaller shortnose sturgeon.
This tributary of the Kennebecasis River is yet another fantastic Atlantic salmon river, although it is also known for its brook trout. The Hammond River Angling Association is very active in preserving this rich fish habitat, and they offer summer camps and educational programs as well.
Bay of Fundy
Known for having the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy is also a sport fisher’s paradise. Popular species include cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, mackerel and Pollack, while larger fish such as Porbeagle sharks are also targeted. Averaging 2.5 m (88 ft) in length and weighing around 135 kg (300 lb), your chances of reeling in one of these beasts are much better with the help of a fishing charter, such as the St. Andrews Sport Fishing Co. The Bay of Fundy is also home to an active lobster and scallop fishery, as well as a thriving population of whales, porpoises, seals and other marine animals.
Boasting one of Atlantic Canada’s richest shellfish harvests, the cool waters of Chaleur Bay offer bar clams, soft-shell clams, razor clams, quahogs, mussels and scallops, and fishing can also be productive for cod, eel, gaspereau, herring, tomcod, smelt and shad. Mackerel fishing is especially productive in the bay, and in the wintertime this is one of New Brunswick’s favourite ice fishing destinations.
Located just north of Gagetown, this appropriately named lake is over 20 km (12 mi) long and has a variety of access points, boat launches and campgrounds to choose from. Lake trout, burbot and whitefish can all be fished here, along with a large population of stocked landlocked salmon – just watch out for the wind!
Found in eastern Charlotte County, this lake is known for its brook trout, smallmouth bass and yellow perch fishing. The lake connects to the Magaguadavic River via a deep natural canal and is also home to a stocked population of landlocked Atlantic salmon. While fishing on Lake Utopia, keep your eyes out for Old Ned, the local lake monster.
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You can find way to these and many other New Brunswick fishing hotspots with the help of our New Brunswick Backroad Mapbook and GPS Maps! Our products contain hundreds of detailed write-ups for the best places to fish in New Brunswick, complete with directions, species, stocking information, restrictions and more.