Aug. 12, 2019

Our 2019 fishing season has just wrapped up and I believe its safe to say, it was another success. Mind you, it was considerably different from the previous 50 seasons for a few reasons.

Our most experienced fishing guide – Alex Chant – retired at the end of the 2018 season – after 48 years of service. That’s quite the accomplishment for sure! So, our 2019 season was our first without Alex.  We still caught fish (more on that later) but Alex’s absence was felt by all.  Happy retirement Mr. Chant and thanks for all your hard work and dedication over those 48 years!

Transporting supplies from the Lower Camp (in North Bay) to the Upper Camp – over 3 miles of very rough terrain – has always been a challenge. Very few vehicles are built for that type of service – up and down over kettle-size rocks; through 18-24 inches of water during multiple river crossings and along a ‘trail’ often partially blocked by alder bushes and trees.  In the past we used farm tractors pulling trailers that hold the supplies.  We still have one of those in service. 

But 2019 was the first season for our new (to us) Polaris Ranger 6x6 ATV. It was quite the feat just getting our new ‘green machine’ to the river.  I hauled it by trailer from Bedford, Nova Scotia to the Marine Atlantic ferry terminal in North Sydney in early June.  In Newfoundland, the Ranger was taken off the trailer in Rose Blanche and hoisted aboard the Challenge One – the coastal ferry that travels between Rose Blanche and the out-port of LaPoile – for the trip to LaPoile.   Monford, Roland and Phil (Salmon Hole Lodge fishing guides extraordinaire) organized the last leg of the journey – where the Ranger sat atop a dory (temporarily equipped with a wooden platform) – which was towed the final 10 mile leg of the journey to it’s new home, North Bay. 

I’m happy to report the Ranger served us well in it’s first season – no problems with those big rocks or river crossings.

Our 2019 season was also the first for our new cook – Joan. Joan has worked in the past managing kitchens at work camps in Canada’s northwest.  There, she prepared meals for hundreds of workers so she made cooking for 10 folks at Salmon Hole Lodge look effortless!  Joan did a fine job and she was a welcomed addition this past season.

As for the fishing, we had a smaller group of customers in 2019 (16 in total) but, with an effort of 85 rod-days, they hooked a total of 102 salmon and grilse. Not bad, considering the salmon returns throughout eastern Canada were lower than in past years. 

From the customer feedback that I received, our guests enjoyed the fishing, food and accommodations. I wish I could control the fishing, but fly-fishing for Atlantic salmon has always been an unpredictable business.

If you are one of the 2019 guests from whom I have not received feedback, I would very much like to hear from you. And if you captured any photos or video showing ‘fish on’ action, I will gladly exchange some ‘killer’ LaPoile flies in return for you sharing your images.

Speaking of video, we were able to capture some great footage from 2 videographers (Shaun Lowe and Corey Purchase) who visited with their drones. The aerial footage is amazingly clear and provides us with bird’s eye views never before seen.  We’ll be featuring some of this awe-inspiring video here on this site in the near future – so stay tuned.  Thanks for reading, Scott Smith (Owner)