You can't go wrong with the Miramichi during the first two weeks of October. I do most of my salmon fishing on the Miramichi River system, and have been doing so for the past 40 years. Late September and early October fishing on the Main Southwest Miramichi, the Little Southwest Miramichi and the Cains is usually excellent and if you get lucky your trip will coincide with a run of fresh spawners. If I was given three weeks only to fish on this river system the last week of September and the first two weeks of October would be my choice. Even with high water conditions on the Main Southwest Miramichi one can usually find decent water on the Little Southwest or the Cains. For example, during my last two days of fishing in 2005 (afternoon of October 13 and morning of October 14) I managed to hook and release 7 salmon ranging from 8lbs to 16lbs: 3 on the Little Southwest, 2 on the Cains and 2 on the Main Southwest.
I have also fished on the Margaree in late September and early October. The river is absolutely beautiful but my impresion is that good timing and luck are required to have that happy convergence of a run of fresh fish and the right water conditions.
Ditto the Miramichi. I have fished the MSW and the Cains in October since about 1987 (missing a few years here and there) and have always had a fine time. My favorite is the first week in October for the Cains when the water is high enough. I fished the MSW and the Cains on Oct. 10th and 11th 2005. The water was higher than I ever saw it before at that time of year, but was still able to pick yp a grilse and a 10 lb. salmon in the Cains on the 10th.
If you are from the US you will need to hire a guide in NB, but not in NS.
Most guides do not have access to private water. However, access to private water in not as necessary when fishing in the autumn. The reason is that the water is often high which results in a good run of fish up the Cains River -- a great fall fishing tributary of the Main Southwest Miramichi which, for the most part, is open water -- and the fish are usually spread all over the MSM, not just in the privately-held "holding" pools that are so necessary to have access to in the summer.
When the water is low in the autumn, the fish do not enter the Cains, and the best fishing in the MSM is still on private water.
Consequently, keep on eye on the water level if you make a special trip to the Miramichi in the autumn and do not expect to have access to private water.
As far a guides go, send me a PM and I will give you some leads.
I agree with Smolt. Access to private water is not as necessary for fall fishing for Atlantic salmon on the Main Southwest Miramichi as it would be in summer low water conditions when fish tend to congregate in privately owned holding pools.
For information on guides you might try a Google search for "Miramichi Outfitters" where you will find reference to Wilson's Sporting Camps, Miramichi Inn, Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures, Tuckaway Cabins and others. I do not use a guide service or need overnight accomodations when I fish the Miramichi and I have no firsthand knowledge of the services offered by these outfitters but any comments that I have heard from friends who have used their services have been generally positive.
My personal preference for a staging area for fall fishing would be in the vicinity of Blackville, from where one has ready access to open (not privately held) water on the Little Southwest Miramichi and the Cains as well as the Renous and Northwest Miramichi Rivers. There are many open stretches of the Main Southwest Miramichi and a reputable guide should be able to offer you a good choice of productive waters to select from.
As Smolt says, the Cains in the right water conditions and moving fish can offer superb fishing in the fall of the year. In a typical day's fishing I manage to fish on two, sometimes three rivers and usually am able to locate some fish that will show an interest in my offerings.
I go to the Margaree River every year just after the Thanksgiving weekend for 5 to 7 days. I find this time of year you can pretty near guarantee that there will be lots of water and fish in the river. You do not need a guide if you don't want one and you can fish any pool in the river. People are usually very friendly and very good at giving great advice. Even in tough years I usually have been able to hook fish, 3 years ago I hooked 11 fish and landed 7, the biggest around 18 Lbs. 2 years ago I hooked one and lost it and last year I landed 2 and lost 1. I highly recomend the Margaree River, even the accommodations are very reasonable and decent to stay at.
The Miramichi River is a great river for Spey Fishing with a number of good lodges that welcome Spey Fishermen from arround the world each year .Country Haven Lodge on the Main Southwest Miramich . 15 % of all Guests who now fish at this lodge are using Spey Rods . In Oct 08 East Coast Spey from NJ will be holding a week long Clinic on Spey Casting at This Lodge eastcoastspey.com and in Sep 09 Brian Martin from the Devon Fly Fishing Club in the UK will be offering a week long Casting Clinic devonflyfishing.co.uk for more info on this lodge and fishing the Miramichi visit flyfishingatlanticsalmon.com
I fished the Margaree and stayed in the Margaree Lodge
I had not the luck to catch a salmon, but I fished the Margaree not in October, this is the best time. You will enjoy the Margaree. You can also drive the Cabot trail which has wonderfull views to the Atlantic Ocean and with a little luck you can see whales.
You need no guide for fishing, but is easier when a guide shows you the pools. Because the river is public many anglers are at the good pools, so sometimes you have to wait a while for fishing the pool. A 4WD like an Explorer will help you to reach the pools easier. You can drive from Halifax to Cap Breton. Because of the jet lag I stayed one night in a BB in Halifax.
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