Margaree River Fishing | Cape Breton

hi folks and welcome to the new fly
Fisher I’m your host premium floored and today I’m with one of my very best
friends in the world and one of Nova Scotia’s top guides Robert chef so who
happens to be lucky enough to live here in Cape Breton Island next to this
beautiful Salmon River the Margaery so it’s late September Robert what can we
expect here in the burger eat well in late September we already have our
summer run fish that have been in the river for you know the last couple of
months and we’re actually starting to see the beginning of our fall run rule
that’s night which is always exciting yes it is so do you think we’ve got a
pretty good chance well we always have a chance at some fish ray okay why don’t
we go out and try lead on Macduff all right on today’s show the new fly Fisher crew
heads east to Canada’s Maritime Provinces and the beautiful island of
Cape Breton Nova Scotia Conde Nast readers have called Cape Breton one of
the most scenic islands in the world Travel and Leisure magazine awarded it
the number-one Island destination in North America and National Geographic
has called it one of the places of a lifetime I have to agree today we’re
headed to the majestic Cape Breton Highlands a land of old rugged Round Top
mountains stunning ocean vistas and impressive seaside cliffs inland the
island is covered with a canopy of beautiful hardwood forests featuring
several productive salmon rivers and the queen of the mall is the lovely Margaery
on today’s show we’re guests at the charming and historic normal way in
which is conveniently located in the heart of the Margaery River Valley and
close to all the top pools on the river the Margaery River is roughly 50 miles
long and flows in a distinct J shape from its birth in the upper mountains
just south of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to its conclusion in the
Gulf of st. Lawrence of Margaery Harbor the river has a long and storied history
and has been attracting anglers from far and wide for well over a hundred and
fifty years today the mercury is still considered
one of Canada’s finest Atlantic salmon rivers and is one of a handful of
national heritage rivers in part because of its healthy runs of salmon the lower
river meanders over a broad pastoral floodplain and is at its widest below
margaery forks where the main stem northeast mercury River meets the
smaller Southwest branch the upper 30 miles are rough-and-tumble wilderness
area designated as a sanctuary for the fish and off-limits to angling the lower
20 miles with some 40 classic Atlantic salmon pools and lots of pockets and
runs are free and open to anyone with a provincial salmon license and the time
to learn the river thanks to a long-standing act of legislation in Nova
Scotia all waters of the province are deemed to be public which means there’s
no privately owned water and no daily access fees or guide requirements
anglers are therefore free to fish where they wish when they wish the result is
without a doubt the best bargain in the world for quality Atlantic salmon
fishing so if you’re an angler on a budget who’s
always dreamed of fishing for Atlantic salmon but felt the cost and distances
kept that dream out of reach then Nova Scotia and the Margaery River
may well be the ideal place to give it a try it’s relatively close to all the
major cities in Central and Eastern North America is easily accessed by
Aaron Road and the cost is ridiculously low a 1-week non-residents license is
only $60 the riverbed is composed mainly of gravel making it easy to wade and the
pools are easily accessible from a good network of roads that run parallel to
the river on both sides it really is an outstanding place to come and learn the
sport of Atlantic salmon angling and with a ton of other nearby attractions
it’s also a great place to bring a non fishing spouse or the whole family for
an unforgettable vacation with a bit of angling on the side so Robert tell me
about the salmon season here on the Mara River the salmon season on the margaery
opens on the 1st of June and we fish right on through till the end of October
our summer fishing is June July in August where we’re fishing mostly with
smaller sparse or wet flies and dry flies and then in the fall we get a
distinct fall run of large fish that come in and at that time were we’re
normally fishing with larger flies and it’s interesting we’re here actually in
the transition zone we’re right at the end of summer at the beginning to fall
the fall colors are coming on here in the in the hardwood forests of Cape
Breton Island and so everything’s in play it could be dry fly it could be wet
fly it’s good to take the temperature to know where you’re at it could be very
interesting yes so folks we’re up here at Ward’s Rock pool it’s a beautiful
pool and it’s one of the highest on the river the short distance upriver is
sanctuary and it’s where the fish go to spawn beyond which we’re not allowed to
Aang so at this point we have literally
fished from the bottom of the river all the way up to the top and that’s not
something you can do everywhere is it Robert well what’s nice about Nova
Scotia salmon rivers is that they’re public we have no private water here so
anglers are able to fish anywhere they choose on the river we have a raise of
water and and certain sections are producing more than others anglers can
access those areas on the river I would recommend hiring a good guide like this
fella and some of the other boys here on the river because they know the river
and you don’t at first but once you’ve gone out a few times then you can start
picking your way up and down the river and it really is a pretty sweet deal you
can just follow your own salmon instincts in salmon fishing an important
factor in deciding whether we should fish a dry flower or a wet fly is water
temperature so I’m checking my thermometer and the water temperatures
52 degrees anytime the water is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit it’s suitable for dry
fly fishing once the water gets below 50 degrees normally we’re fishing wet flies
when you’re fishing for Atlantic salmon or any other species that is in a river
with flowing water the speed that the fly crosses through their window of
vision is very important in in fast water you may want to throw an upstream
end in order to slow the fly down as it goes through that fast current so the
fish has a time to see it and come up and grab it if it’s whipping by really
fast you won’t even see it at if he does he’ll miss it conversely if you’re in
slow water you may want to throw a downstream end so that it forms a belly
in the line and it drags or pulls your fly through that slower water giving it
an enticing speed and movement so folks we’re at the forks Poole and
Margaery River Robert is one of the top guides on the river tell us a little bit
about this place well right here behind us we have the
salt West branch that flows into the main North East branch of the Margaery
River there and there the pool we have behind us is called the fork spool every
major river has tributaries and normally where two rivers join there’s oftentimes
a fork spool and this is the Marguerite’s fork spool it’s one of the
the best fish producing pools on the river because the two rivers come
together here the pools below the fork seem to be a little larger than the
upper river pools no trip to the valley would be complete without a visit to the
Margaery Salmon Museum located in a former one-room schoolhouse in mercury
centre every River has a story and here is where Margaery is chronicled in
loving detail this award-winning museum features exhibits of vintage flies from
some of the world’s great tires as well as antique fishing tackle rods and reels
and stories of some of the colorful characters that have been part of the
rivers history people like John Kosovo the inventor of the famous cost of them
series of salmon flies and the legendary Lee wolf who began his lifelong
obsession when he hooked his first Atlantic salmon here in 1933 the valley
is equally famous for its hospitality and wonderfully friendly people combined
with its beautiful open waters and dirt-cheap angling fees it’s no wonder
folks keep coming here from around the corner and around the world I live in
Australia during the winter and come up here from June to the end of October for
there’s incredible fishing throughout the season and the reason I come back to
this river is the quality of the fishing but
there’s nothing like it you can find spots where you’re in the middle of
beautiful crystal-clear waters 1518 pounds silver fish coming up taking a
dry fly in the fall set tight on a on a but 12 pounder in the current high water
like it’s just beautiful water there’s nothing like it nothing like it anywhere
you never know who you’ll meet on the river but you’re always guaranteed to
make some new friends along the way in this case we ran into English angler
Nick laga Tola who was working his 15 foot spay rod in the classic British
style this is my first time here in Canada fishing for salmon and I’ve
thoroughly enjoyed it I think the place is extraordinarily
beautiful so paradise for salmon angler there’s salmon in the river as we speak
I caught two yesterday and the value is tremendous for 16 dollars you can have a
permit for a week to fish for salmon whereas in Scotland you’ll be spending
10 times that at least two fish per day and so we invited Nick to join us as we
headed downriver to fish some of the largest pools on the river like seal
pool where a fellow can really stretch out and use his double hander to full
advantage Nick also got to try his hand at dry fly fishing for the first time
something they don’t do much of back home in Britain and then we headed down
to one of our favourite pools tidal pool at the very bottom of the river when
you’re fishing Atlantic salmon or steelhead or any see running trout the
anatomist fishes that move from the ocean and into freshwater rivers there’s
a always going to be at least one tidal pool sometimes they’ll refer to it as
the head of tide or a tidal pool in this case we’re here at a tidal pool what
that means is is that when the tide is high in the ocean nearby it will push
water up the estuary and up into the tidal pool it will slow the current down
you’ll actually see a rise of water at high tide
and then it will start to fall fishing tidal pools for a Nadder miss fish can
be very productive or it can be a complete blank and sometimes that’s
frustrating for anglers to figure out and suddenly Nick is tight to a nice
Atlantic salmon fresh from the sea so good run I got my drag on it’s quite
tight – are you in the backing or running low no yes this is running line oh that’s our own fish good fish the
hook set is just perfect right in the scissors of the jaw welcome there you go there she goes Nick very Malaysian
suspect fabulous job well done nice to fish on the mercury is wonderful so
perfect place so now you were fishing the green machine have you ever fished
that fly before this is a local pattern I believe it’s not something we’ve been
used in Europe that’s all it’s extremely popular in eastern Canada well
congratulations the Margaery River has been kind to you and you think as having
a very good trip back at our cabin at the normally in that evening Robert and
I decided to tie up some fresh flies for the morning there’s something special
about a night before a fly maybe it’s because you know the places
and conditions you’ll be fishing in the next day and you tie your flies to suit
them or maybe it’s just because those are the flies you’re most likely to use
one way or another there’s always a bit of magic that makes them work very well
after dinner we walk down the lane to the red burn for an old-fashioned Cape
Breton Cayley or party featuring live local gaelic and Acadian musicians as
good as you’ll hear anywhere these cultures and their music are alive and
well on Cape Breton Island the hills fairly echo with the sound of fiddles a
perfect end to another perfect day in the Margaery Valley on today’s show we’re using 9 to 10 foot
single-handed rods and 12 to 15-foot double handed rods matched with standard
and large rubber reels loaded with 8 and 9 weight floating lines leaders are 9 to
12 feet long tapered down to 8 pound test
Tippett’s recommended flies for the margaery includes standard hair wing wet
flies like the Casa boom and Ross special to Canadian classics invented
and popularized on this river also spun deer hair bomber style dry flies like
the carters bug and buck bug style wet flies like the very popular green
machine as well as soft hackle marabou streamers
such as the green slime muddler and the canary hi Dave McDonald standing in
front of the normal way in which has been standing here since 1928 greeting
salmon anglers as they drive in our beautiful driveway and we hope you’ll
consider doing the same once you get here we have rooms in the end to choose
from we’ve also got some cabins we built in the 1940s cosy little places and then
more from later years with jacuzzis wood stove fireplaces front porches and they
offer a great measure of privacy for the angler who wants to have his own zone
escape and then we also have a building with some beautiful Suites both one and
two-bedroom very close to our music barn and that’s the place to be on Wednesday
nights in July and August and Fridays in September October and late June so we
hope you’ll come out here and enjoy some fabulous food in our dining room we
serve breakfast dinner pack lunches for the river so lots of great reason to
come here and we sure hope you will one of the nice things about fishing in Nova
Scotia is that you can move around out will for a change of pace we decided to
take a road trip to visit the lovely Middle River a short 20 minutes away the
middle like it’s nearby twin the Baddeck hosts a nice run of Atlantic salmon in
the fall these are only two of several smaller salmon rivers that ringed the
cabot trail and each has its own unique charms and is well worth a visit try as
we might we couldn’t seem to entice a fish to our flies it seemed we were
still up bit early for the fall run so we decided to head over to the nearby
glenora distillery North America’s only single malt whisky distillery located in
the mabu Highlands near Lake Ainsley we toured the distillery with manager Angus
Hubbard getting a first-hand look at how they produce their award-winning single
malt whiskies using water from the spring Fred Bronk
that flows down from the mountains and through the Glenora property then we
stopped in to their pub for a bit of that famous Cape Breton fiddle music and
a wee dram of their special Glen Breton rare single malt delicious
but then all too soon it was time for us to take our leave so we gone down the faster water at the
head of the run with a wet fly and now I think it’s time to change as the water
gets softer onto a dry fly one of my favorites is the carters bug it’s it’s a
standard bomber pattern with a few variations it’s quite drab great high
floating fly and the fish just seemed to love it it’s it’s become my favorite dry
fly for Atlantic salmon so I think we’ll we’ll give that a try Margaery salmon are educated fish in the
same way as the trout of the henries fork are educated by seeing a lot of
flies so when it all comes together and you hook up with one it’s all the more
sweet especially on a dry oh what a nice dry fly take that was Robert my good man
would you be so kind as to come and tail this fish I suspect there is more fight
in this fish but okay Robert can you wait out there he is good job Robert oh nice it’s about a 10 pound male I would
say got it out okay fly is away why don’t we show them to the camera here
for a quick second there you go and there he goes well it’s been an awesome
trip here to the margaery we’ve had a real ball I want to thank you Robert for
your great guiding and and for fishing with us has been a pleasure well my
pleasure ray it’s always a great time when we fish together indeed and I want
to thank the folks at the normal way in who have been wonderful and all the
people that we’ve met along the way one of the friendliest rivers I’ve ever
fished and and that continues to be the case folks if you want to learn more
about this show or others in our series visit us on the web at

8 thoughts on “Margaree River Fishing | Cape Breton

  1. Good film!!! Fly fishing❤️❤️❤️👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍💪💪💪💪💪💪

  2. All salmon rivers in NL are completely public also. (better fishing too,, just sayin ;p)

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