Margaree in June: Salmon Fishing in Nova Scotia

I’ve been dreaming of a trip to the Margaree for years. And now, finally, I’m planning one.

Of the salmon rivers in Canada — the Grand, the Resitgouche, the Miramichi, the Bonnie — the Margaree is often not mentioned in the same breath. It comes second, but when discussed has always, to my ears, had a mystical ring to it. This is, I think, simply a factor of distance: from Boston, it’s a 12.5 hour drive, not including traffic, border crossings, refueling, stops at Walmart, the need to examine every river you cross for signs of fish, or the need to regularly stop and gape at the beautiful scenery. Who could drive through Bangor, or Houlton, and not marvel at the wonders of New England?

Let it simply be said: It’s far away. It’s not on many people’s “must fish” list. And that may be for the best. (Hardly anyone reads this blog anyway, so I’m not giving a damn thing away!)

The photos of it’s pools boast beautiful characteristics that speak to classic salmon water, especially in fall when the fishing is apparently at its best.

The Margaree valley, flowing out of Cape Breton’s Highlands, in fall.

I’m looking forward to the trip, even though it may be a short one. And even though it may be far too early in the season. I plan on a day or two in early to mid-June. One person on the Speypages forum described catching a fish there in early June like “winning the lottery.” But then, to judge from the fish he caught, it was worth playing the game.

See you at Gillis Island. No? Lower Tompkins. No? That’s fine by me.

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4 thoughts on “Margaree in June: Salmon Fishing in Nova Scotia

  1. Pingback: Margaree in June: Salmon Fishing in Nova Scotia | larrymatthews

  2. Mr. Carmichael.
    I typed down “fishing the Margaree in June” and Google took me to your blog. Besides the fact that the Margaree is said to be the best river in Nova-Scotia for salmon fishing, I don’t know much about it. One thing I know is that fishing salmon early in June can be very disapointing… or rewarding if you were going to fish the York, the Causapscal or the upper Patapedia in Quebec, which all have early runs of large salmon. But for the Maragree, well, I didn’t have a cue until I read that blog (nice pic by the way) where talking about the Margaree in June you say “[…] it may be far too early in the season” .
    I will be in Nova-Scotia for my work during the first week of June. I thought I would stay an extra 2 days (June 7 and 8) to wet my flies in the Margaree waters. Would you go that early? If so, any tips to share? Like for a place to stay, a guide to hire? a fly you couldn’t go without?
    Thanks in advance for your advices.
    Have a nice fishing season.

    François Grimard
    Quebec City

  3. Good afternoon,

    We may be heading up to NS for our anniversary in late Sept/early Oct and my husband has always wanted to fly fish for all the years we’ve been married.

    I thought if we had 5 days in NS, we could stay on one end of the area for 2 nights – two nights near either Prince Edward Island or Cape Breton and the last in Halifax.

    Do you know of someone that could set us up with equip and license for 2 days near Margaree? We’re looking to bike a bit, ATV a bit – kayak and fly fish.

    Many thanks,

    • Dear Gail,
      I when fishing the Margaree early in June, too early in fact. I’ve been told September and October were the best months for salmon fishing. I stayed at the Duck Cove Inn (902-235-2658). Gordon, the owner is a gentleman. I don’t know where you can rent the equipment though but I met two people from Europe on the river and they have gotten all their gears from their guide, including flies. Gordon from the Duck Cove Inn will surely be able to refer you to the right person. Or you could also ask Werner Buchhofer from the Margaree Riverview Inn (902-248-2948). His motel was closed when I was there but he’s been of a good help when I did plan my trip. As for the fishing license I got mine from the Department of Natural Ressources in Halifax, but I think you can get one at LeBlanc’s Store located right at Margaree Forks. But you should check with them before you get there (902-248-2632), just in case …

      Have a good trip,
      François Grimard
      Quebec City

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