July 18, 2017 - It's true, the numbers of Atlantic salmon returning to Canada's east coast rivers this year are down compared to this time last year.  The LaPoile River is no exception.  Thankfully, for a true Atlantic salmon angler, the success of the fishing trip is not measured solely by the number of fish hooked.  Sure - it IS important to catch a few fish - but angling for Atlantic salmon is not a numbers game.  To date, all of our 2017 guests have caught (and happily released) Atlantic salmon and, equally important to me, they have thoroughly enjoyed 'their' week at Salmon Hole Lodge.  Fishing in a remote river with clean, clear water; not having to wait in line to fish; enjoying the unspoiled scenery; watching Woodland Caribou and Moose while you are casting for salmon - these are just a few of perks that combine to create the Salmon Hole Lodge 'experience' !!  Pictured here is our guest, John from Vermont, releasing a fine example of a bright, fresh-from-the-sea LaPoile River salmon! - Scott Smith

July 10, 2017 - If you check the River Notes section of the Atlantic Salmon Federation's website (www.asf.ca), the 2017 river reports are not very encouraging. Throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of returning spawners appears to be down sharply from this time last year.  Unfortunately, this is the continuation of a downward trend over the past decade or two. The reasons are many: 

- acid rain has made many Nova Scotia rivers too acidic to support Atlantic salmon populations

- the exploding seal population in the North Atlantic combined with their voracious appetite for Atlantic salmon

- the commercial Atlantic salmon fishery in Greenland

- Canada's aboriginal salmon fishery

- the detrimental effects of Atlantic salmon aquaculture sites (ocean-based feedlots) on wild Atlantic salmon populations

- and the list goes on.

All this to say it is more important than ever to release all Atlantic salmon that are caught in our recreational fishery (with flyrod and fly). For many years, guests at Salmon Hole Lodge have voluntarily been practising catch and release.  Many hundreds, if not thousands, of Atlantic salmon have been safely released - to continue on their spawning journey.  To these fine sportsmen and women, and to ALL salmon anglers who practise catch and release, I offer my heartfelt appreciation.  Let's keep up the good work, so our grandchildren can experience the thrill of playing a feisty Atlantic salmon at the end of their flyline!  - Scott Smith  -

July 3, 2017 - A few weeks ago, I was making my way down river (from the Upper Camp) to fish one of the LaPoile River's better-known pools. It was around 7 pm and the skies were blue.  Just as I approached the first river crossing (at Old Camp Pool), the skies 'opened up' and, man, did it rain!  And the skies were still blue.  I guess its called a sun shower - a new experience for this old dog.  Anyway, the strange weather produced a very nice rainbow (see photo).  I thought maybe this is a good omen.  So, I continued on my journey - another 20-minute walk to said pool, stopping only to photo a small group of curious Woodland Caribou.  It was still pouring rain when I arrived and made my first few casts.  As the showers let up, I was about half way through the pool and, bingo, this nice grilse (see photo) grabbed my Green Machine and we're off to the races!  A very exciting few minutes as he or she raced from one end of the pool to the other and back again; in and out of the water trying to toss that fly.  Following the rules of catch and release, I brought the fish in fairly quickly (while trying to take some pictures - not easy!) and removed the fly without touching the fish. Not even a split second of hesitation - Mr. Salmo wasted zero time in returning to the depths of that pool!  Probably wondering "What the hell just happened?".  So, I didn't find a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow - but I did find a beautiful Silver Leaper!   Scott Smith

June 26, 2017 - Observations from a valued guest during his first June visit to the LaPoile River...

Dear Scott and Luke - We weren’t in a Provincial Park or a National Park but given the beautiful surroundings and abundance of wildlife, we could be forgiven for thinking we were. For me, it was truly an incredible week, this June trip being a new experience for me. Starting with our inbound journey on Capt. Perry’s boat, from Rose Blanche to the tiny out-port we lovingly know as LaPoile, the numerous porpoises, at arm’s length distance, playfully traveling along with our boat. Then, the sightings of twenty-six Woodland Caribou on our travels up the LaPoile River from North Bay to Salmon Hole Lodge plus eight moose and an almost newly born moose calf, Eagles, Osprey, the Camp “Kingfisher” and, of course our “old” dear Friend ... ‘Hector’ the Seagull, patiently waiting for a free meal. This season’s salmon run, a “fresh from the Sea” grilse jumping between our guide and myself, us on opposite shores of a pool, and challenging our casting skills. And finally as we were leaving, a farewell gift from Nature, the appearance of a whale in North Bay, joining us momentarily for our departure.   Thank you for the privilege of sharing this week with you.




June 23, 2017 - It was a great week for wildlife sightings - starting with our trip along the southwest coast in Capt. Perry's boat. We saw a few whales and were entertained by several pods of black dolphins or porpoises following (or racing with?) our boat.  We were moving along at a decent rate (about 10 knots) and those dolphins had no problem keeping pace!  As soon as we started our trip up the LaPoile River (on a tractor and Polaris Ranger 4x4), we saw Woodland Caribou every 5 or 10 minutes.  Being careful not to count the same caribou more than once, we counted 30 individuals.  And 1 moose!  The caribou are curious but cautious (as seen in this photo) whereas the moose are downright shy and elusive.  There were still several large patches of snow on the mountain sides - which normally means large amounts of snow remaining on the elevated plateau (back country).  This bodes well as the melting snow helps to keep the river water nice and cool - just what Salmo salar likes!

June 20, 2017 - Just returned from the LaPoile River, after spending the week removing fallen trees, cleaning buildings, windows, toilets and repairing all the things that didn't survive the winter in one piece.  Many thanks to Luke Smith, Matt Romkey and Steph Mitro for all their help.  Both camps are now open and our first group of guests is busy casting for those sneaky LaPoile salmon!  Judging by the number and size of trees across our trails and paths, this past winter was a harsh one.  Water levels and temperatures are perfect right now - and the salmon have started to arrive.  We didn't have much time to fish but we were rewarded with a couple of grilse (released) and a larger fish (likely 15-18 pounds) that 'released itself' after becoming airborne 3 times and racing from one end of the pool to the other.  It looks to me like the spawning run on the LaPoile is starting about a week later than usual. Scott  (to be continued)

June 2, 2017 - We are looking forward to starting our 2017 season very soon.  I will be heading to the Lapoile River with son, Luke, and long-time fishing buddy, Dr. Jim, on June 11.  During this 'open camp' week, we will be getting both camps ready for business - making sure things are working properly and spic 'n' span clean.  Of course, fishing will be a priority too - especially for Luke and Jim.  Helping us with camp preparations will be our long-time guide (and mechanic, tractor driver, carpenter, you name it, he does it) Mr. Alex Chant, as well as professional fishing & hunting guide, Mr. Matt Romkey. I feel very fortunate that Matt joined our staff a few years ago - he has made a world of difference!   

It's hard to believe that it was 50 years ago (in 1967) that my father, Dr. Duncan Smith, purchased the old house and land in North Bay (where our Lower Camp is now located) as well as the old log cabin next to the Camp Pool (where our main lodge is now located).  We will definitely be hoisting a drink to honour Dunc on this special year!   I'll let you know about the fishing when I return!  Scott

It’s here at last – the Salmon Hole Lodge’s news and blog section. Navigate to the Fishing Journal page for the latest images, updates, and stories from the lodge, the La Poile, and the Newfoundland landscape.

We’ll be updating the page regularly, and look forward to building something memorable, informative, and fly fishing-centric.