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 Post subject: TR Northern exploration
PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 6:15 pm 
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Joined: February 28th, 2017, 9:28 am
Posts: 9
Location: Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada
Hi,

I'm been following this forum for the last 2 years but this is my first post. Some of you may have read me before as I'm also a member on another Maine forum. I'm from Quebec city but I moved to a small town called Baie-Comeau 3 years ago. I did my first camping and fishing trip in Maine 5 years ago with some friends. We fished the east outlet and the roach river and we liked it so much that it became an annual fishing trip when mid may comes. This year we tried the west branch for the first time and we liked it a lot.

So for my first post I'll share with you a 2 weeks of fishing that I did on my vacation at the end of june and the start of july:



I'm back from two weeks of fishing, camping and living in the wood and it was great.

The first chapter of my vacation was a 4 days fishing trip with my brother, father and 2 friends to the manic-5 reservoir at the relais Gabriel outfitter located 200 miles north of Baie-Comeau, Quebec. The targeted species were the lake trout and the landlocked salmon with the occasional pike and whitefish. Here's the view of the manic-5 dam.

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unfortunately mother nature was against us and we hitted 4 days of strong wind and most of the time we couldn't even get on the water to fish because the waves were too dangerous. We managed to fish the reservoir for 8-9 hours spread over the 4 days. We caught lakers ranging from 2 to 4 pounds and LLS from 2-3,5 pounds. I was the only flyfisher of the group and I got skunked on the reservoir... I lost a 3 pounds LLS and a laker near the boat. Here's a view of the inland sea that is the Manic-5 reservoir.

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On the second day of the trip we went 40 miles north to fish 2 nice rivers emptying into the manic-5 reservoir. We got to the Hart-Jaune river early in the morning and while the others went for the obvious spot near the bridge I went downstream to see what I could find. A massive forest fire burned the whole area 6-7 years ago so it was easier to move along the river. The wind was still strong so casting was very hard. I found a nice spot where I caught a couples of 10-12 inches brookies and LLS but nothing big. I was very impressed by the Hart-Jaune river it's very big and fast flowing dark water. The banks are very steep, rocks are slippery and it make the river kinda dangerous.

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I fished only for 2 hours before the others wanted to go back to the cabin. I stayed behind and decided to go explore the Beaupin river 3-4 miles south of the Hart-Jaune. The Beaupin river is smaller than the Hart Jaune but it's a very nice place to fish. After 15 minutes of fishing I caught a 15 inches LLS and this beautiful 23 inches 3,5 pounds LLS on a blue smelt streamer!

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The next day I went back with my brother to the Beaupin river but got skunked with the LLS and caught some small 8-10 inches brookies.

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While we were on the river the others went fishing for brookies on ponds. They wanted to bring back their bag limit so they brought back 54 10-12 inches brookies and they talked about going back to catch the 6 brookies missing in the bag limit...I tried to talk them about catch and release but it was hopeless... At least my brother agreed with me.

For the second part of my vacation I was alone for 6 days so I packed my 10 feet zodiac and I went fishing for big brookies on the Toulnustouc river 70 miles north of Baie-Comeau.

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Despite the perfect fishing condition it was very slow and again I only caught small brookies... So I made a move and went fishing on a lake in the area for lake trout. The view was very nice but again the fishing was very slow and I caught nothing.

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The next morning I decided to make a move and go back to do some real exploration on the Hart Jaune and Beaupin rivers. I drove 1h20 back to Baie-Comeau, dropped the zodiac, did some groceries and went back north for a 4h15 drive to reach the Hart Jaune. When I'm alone in the woods I sleep in the back of my xterra and I like to be far away from the main roads. Up there there's not a lot of places to spend the night so I parked my Xterra in gravel pits and camped there.

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I did a lot of exploration over the next three days to reach spots where almost nobody goes. I bushwacked for 30 minutes on occasion with a compass and GPS to reach unfished portion of theses rivers.

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Long story short theses 3 days of exploration were a fail. I bushwacked a lot under the rain as there was a cold front the whole time and I only caught 4-5 10-12 inches brookies...Still I had a good time as I like to be in the wilderness but I feel like I would have deserved a couples of nice fishes for the effort I putted in. I'm sure there's nice fish in there and I will go back for sure.

I went back to Baie-Comeau and I can tell you it was nice to sleep in my bed that night after 6 night in the back of the Xterra!

The next day I took it easy and prepared myself for the last portion of my vacation but not the least: the launch of my atlantic salmon fishing season! For the occasion I met with my usual fishing partner Francis and Alex in Les Escoumins, a small village located 1h45 drive west of Baie-Comeau. We had reservation to fish for 3 days in the sector 1B and 1 day in the sector 1A of the river. I got the 34th pick on the fall draw so I picked up july 7th when it was my turn.

The first day was in the sector 1B and we got there at 4:45 am. The river flow was perfect and we had nice weather. As usual on this river things are slower early in the morning and things pick up around 8:30- 9 am. I got my first confrontation with a nice 12-14 pounds salmon. The first time he rose to the fly and went back down into the darkness of the pool. The second time he went all the way to the fly and pushed it away with his cheek. 10-12 cast later he came to the surface again with his head really close to the bomber and suddenly he did a 180 deg rotation and hitted the fly with his tail to push it away!! About 6-7 minutes later he came right at the fly and took it right in front of me! He took me by surprise and instead of waiting 2 seconds while he goes back down into the pool I setted the hook too fast and pulled the bomber out of his mouth... It's hard to break the trout reflex to set the hook as soon as you get the strike... It got slower after that. We saw some salmon jumping and rolling in the evening but we got no strike.

The second day I had another confrontation with a 2 years at sea salmon (10-14 lbs) and again it rose a couple time and he also slapped his tail at the bomber! He finally took the fly and I managed to wait long enough before setting the hook so I got him! The salmon gave 4-5 headshake and he unhooked itself... About 2 hours later another salmon took my bomber but again I pulled the fly out of his mouth. Later that day Francis hooked a salmon but he also lost it after 5-6 seconds.

The third day Francis and I fished in the sector 1B wich is the best one early in the season and normally we are in the right time period for good numbers of fresh grilse (less than 25 inches salmon) entering the river. Here's a view of the sector 1A it's one pool and restricted to 4 anglers per day.

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I was doing a drop with a wet fly around 9:30 am when I got a strike! The fish pulled a good fight and jumped 2 times out of the water and did a couples of good run! We struggled a little bit to tail the fish as we didn't had a net but we finally managed to tail this nice grilse, unhooked and release him!

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Francis didn't hook a salmon and neither did the 2 others anglers fishing from the other side on the river.

The last day we were back in the sector 1B and the weather was perfect as it wasn't as hot than the last 3 days and there was a good cloud cover. We got to the river by 7:00 and we got some action rapidly. I crossed the river and fished a pool with Alex and the two of us had salmons rising to our bombers for 20 minutes. Then I casted and my bomber landed 3 feet from Alex's bomber. As soon as my bomber touched the water I saw a salmon rising to my fly without taking it. But I also saw to my right another salmon taking Alex's fly exactly at the same time!! He setted the hook and managed to land a nice 2 years at sea salmon after a 6-7 minutes fight with 4-5 jump! too bad we don't have a picture of this one because Alex unhooked it and it got away before the picture could be taken.

For a good part of the day we played with a big 18-20 pounds salmon wich was rolling from time to time near us. He rose a couple of time but it was hard to get him interested. For the last 2 hours the 4 others anglers left so we had all the place to ourselves for the golden hour. We splitted out and I went upstream with Francis. I setted myself at a nice spot at the head of a very good pool and passed one wet fly after another in the pool. As it was getting darker there was more and more movement in the pool. I could see salmon rising almost every minutes. As dark settle the salmons will concentrate on the edges and in the tail of the pool for the night so there's a lot of movement during the last hour. I finally decided that the next fly would be the last one of the day and of the trip, partly because it was getting too dark to tie another on and mainly because my right arm was so sore from casting non-stop for the last 9 days and the 3 blisters on my right hand...

So I started casting my tiny #12 green machine with a white tail. I start short and cast 1 foot farther every cast or two to make sure I cover all the pool. On my 5-6 cast I felt the strongest pull I've never felt before, lifted my rod up and there I was connected with a nice salmon. The salmon made a big splash on the surface when he took the fly but after that he stayed at the bottom of the pool for 2-3 minutes shaking his head and swimming around until it jumped 3 feet out of the water! That's when I saw that I had a nice fish on the line! Shortly after that jump he made a mad rush towards the tail of the pool. I tried to stop him but my 7 wt and my 10 pounds leader weren't up to the task... The salmon went down the fast water and that's when things got out of control!!! As he was racing downstream I was still on my rock in the middle of the river, stunned by what was happening! I Looked at my reel and realized that my fly line was all out of the reel and so was 100 feet of backing! I started to run downstream after my fish wich was 200 feet away from me while recovering some of my line! The fish slowed down a little in a pocket of slower water and I got to him but he went down again until we reached the pool below. Surprisingly he was still full of energy and I had to fight him another 10 minutes before Francis managed to tail him, wich wasn't easy in the dark without a flashlight. We were so relieved when we finally got our hands on him. That fish gave me the best fight of my life so far he fought for 25 minutes in the fog and in the dark before I landed him 600 feet downstream from where I hooked him. That fight was epic!!! It's a beautiful 12-14 pounds buck salmon freshly entered in the river. The pics aren't too great as we only had a cell, it was dark and there was fog...

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I have a deep respect for these fish and I believe that catch and release is the least we can do to ensure that we'll be able to continue to pursue theses amazing wonder of the nature in the future.


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 7:14 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 4th, 2007, 12:00 am
Posts: 114
Welcome to the forum. I enjoyed reading your report. Everything north of the border is terra incognita for me, so it's great to get some sense of what's up there. Congrats on that final salmon--it's amazing when everything finally comes together like that. Beautiful fish. Wish we still had more of them in Maine...


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 7:25 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 29th, 2016, 6:46 am
Posts: 31
Location: Sebago ME, Errol NH
Great story and great vacation. Thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 8:27 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: October 13th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 3304
Location: Sidney, Me
I plan on driving through your fair town on a motorcycle trip in a few weeks. I can't believe I've spent over 60 years here without realizing we have a genuine fjord within a few hundred miles. I'm looking forward to riding around the Saguenay region and seeing what we can see.

Edited to add - Wrong town, Baie the way. :mrgreen: We'll be going through Baie-Saint-Paul but not Baie-Comeau - that's beyond our loop.


Last edited by Rory on July 25th, 2017, 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 24th, 2017, 9:36 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: May 15th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 33
Location: Bar Harbor
Great post... I have a planned trip starting at BC then to Manic-5 and then on to Lake Berte..... The end of August. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks Terry
tj99kelley@roadrunner dot com


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PostPosted: July 25th, 2017, 11:37 am 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5114
Location: Near the tying bench
Welcome to the forum. Very nice report. I'm heading to New Brunswick later next month to chase Atlantic salmon on some new-to-me water. Very much looking forward to it. The reports I'm hearing from the club I'll be staying at from this week are very encouraging. Hopefully water levels and cooler weather hold into August.

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PostPosted: July 25th, 2017, 9:45 pm 
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Joined: December 3rd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 2117
Location: N44.88305* W68.67206*
Very nice report, Seb - thank you for taking the time to share it - that is truly wondrous country up there! I've fished the Hart Jaune and the Beaupin many times, but I have never caught a LLS on either one, let alone one as nice as yours! One thing that has always impressed me is the size of the tails on the LLS up there - BTW, did you ever make it to Maine last May?

Rory, there is one fjord closer than the North Shore - it's Somes Sound in Acadia Natuional Park, the only one on the east coast of the USA, but...the Saguenay Fjord is WAYYYY more impressive! Be sure to bring your binoculars for whale watching and don't be bashful about parking your scooter and riding the ferry back and forth a few times - Beluga and Finback whales are common at Tadoussac - also there are some MASSIVE sand dunes along the river in Tadoussac that are worth checking out - also, just past Tadoussac there is a Marine Park where the whales come right up along shore - IMO, you're about to discover the best kept secret on the east side of this continent, and that's before you even do any fishing - enjoy!

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PostPosted: July 25th, 2017, 10:02 pm 
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FFIM Addict

Joined: October 13th, 2002, 12:00 am
Posts: 3304
Location: Sidney, Me
Brian, I almost mentioned Somes, but I tire of typing. Believe it or not, I checked that out for the first time last summer,and, as big a Maine fanboy as I am, I have to say it left me underwhelmed - but it is an awful nice ride along the shore. In fact, ala Pluto, they are now calling Somes a fjard rather than a fjord, and the literature on Saguenay describes it as the southernmost fjord in eastern North America. When I hear the word "fjord" the image in my mind is based on pictures from Norway and Alaska, and I realize even Saguenay isn't quite on that scale, but it seems way worth checking out, especially when a rider on a Vermont sportbike forum referred to route 381 up there as "the twistiest road in the Northeast" (my original entry point of exploration).

Enough thread hijacking; awesome post, I am equally impressed at the country you explored in Quebec and at the fact that someone from up your way would think what we have here is worth the drive.

Welcome.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2017, 4:51 pm 
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FFIMer

Joined: February 28th, 2017, 9:28 am
Posts: 9
Location: Baie-Comeau, Quebec, Canada
Thank you all for the welcome I appreciate it!

Terry Kelley wrote:
Great post... I have a planned trip starting at BC then to Manic-5 and then on to Lake Berte..... The end of August. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks Terry
tj99kelley@roadrunner dot com


Hi Terry,

When I go north on the 389 road I don't fish along the way I go all the way up to Manic-5 and I fish the reservoir. You'll find brookies on every ponds and rivers between Baie-Comeau and Manic-5. You can try your luck on the Vallant river for pike in the micoua area located 100 km north of Baie-Comeau. Lake Berte can only be reach by float plane and there's a outfitter with exclusive fishing rights so fishing must be good!


Hi Rory,

The Saguenay fjord is very impressive you'll like it. There's a lot of hiking trails along the fjord. There's also 4 rivers where you can fish for atlantic salmon in the area. Like Brian said the confluence between the saguenay and the St-Lawrence river is a hot spot for whale watching. Last sunday on my way back from Quebec city I got stuck there for 40 minutes waiting for the fery and I saw a lot of beluga from the road.

brian foley wrote:
Very nice report, Seb - thank you for taking the time to share it - that is truly wondrous country up there! I've fished the Hart Jaune and the Beaupin many times, but I have never caught a LLS on either one, let alone one as nice as yours! One thing that has always impressed me is the size of the tails on the LLS up there - BTW, did you ever make it to Maine last May?

Rory, there is one fjord closer than the North Shore - it's Somes Sound in Acadia Natuional Park, the only one on the east coast of the USA, but...the Saguenay Fjord is WAYYYY more impressive! Be sure to bring your binoculars for whale watching and don't be bashful about parking your scooter and riding the ferry back and forth a few times - Beluga and Finback whales are common at Tadoussac - also there are some MASSIVE sand dunes along the river in Tadoussac that are worth checking out - also, just past Tadoussac there is a Marine Park where the whales come right up along shore - IMO, you're about to discover the best kept secret on the east side of this continent, and that's before you even do any fishing - enjoy!


Hi Brian,

Nice to catch up with you! Have you done your annual fishing trip to Labrador this summer? Yes I made it to Maine last may but instead of fishing the EO and the Roach we tried the West Branch for the first time and we had a good time! We stayed at the big eddy campground and fished the WB for 3 days.

About the Beaupin and the Hart-Jaune I still don't know what's the deal with theses rivers... The obvious spot near the bridges get some fishing pressure but the places I tried are almost never fished and still the fishes were'nt biting...I blame it on the cold front but I can't wait to get back up there to try again but it will have to wait until next year because all my free time from now on until mid october will be dedicated to atlantic salmon and sea run brookies fishing. I can't wait for the week to end so I can go try the Trinité river for the first time of the season. Again this year I'll take a 20 day atlantic salmon fishing package so I'll fish it a lot!

Take care!


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PostPosted: July 30th, 2017, 6:07 pm 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 6:49 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Rangeley Plantation, mooselookmeguntic
Great post!!! Thank you for sharing the pictures and the story. Really enjoyed it.


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PostPosted: July 31st, 2017, 3:51 pm 
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Joined: May 22nd, 2016, 4:47 pm
Posts: 64
Thank you for a great post. Those rivers that frustrated you surely looked "fishy", but they also looked like they'd be hard to fish. Not readily wade-able, and care certainly was needed. It was great looking at your pics and comments too.


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