New Brunswick Fishing, More than just Salmon and Trout

Oct 18, 2020

I grew up fishing in Southern Ontario’s cottage country and Lake Ontario in Port Hope, Ontario. My first job was at a bait and tackle shop on Rice Lake in Bewdley. So when I moved to Fredericton 20 years ago and tried fishing here, it was disheartening at best. Without a boat, I quickly found accessing the waters here was not easy. Much of it, at the time and without knowledge of the area, was inaccessible or non-productive from the banks. When I did locate places to bank fish in the Fredericton area, I was often met with comments from people passing by,

"What are you fishing for in there? There's nothing in there!".
"There's no salmon in there bud!"
"Are you catching dinner from there??"

This occurred every single time I went out, so much I started to wonder if I was doing something illegal. Rarely did I even see anyone else fishing, it only solidified this sense that New Brunswick was salmon and trout fishing only. Canadian Tire had a single shelf section containing fishing supplies, which consisted of some trout and salmon gear. There was one gun shop that sold salmon and trout gear. I spoke with the designer of the provincial fishing poster at the time and when I mentioned I fished largemouth back home, he told me I was nuts, they only exist in Florida – I was mistaken!!

I fished for Chinook and Coho in the Ganaraske River in Port Hope for the years I lived there, but the elitist atmosphere here around salmon and only fishing for food just ruined it. I was so discouraged by it all that after fishing for nearly my entire life, I gave it up entirely.

But the last several years I have noticed a large shift towards building a vibrant sports fishing here and incorporating tourism, something the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources did in the ’80s. Now there are more options for acquiring gear and many more people out fishing – but to fully enjoy the waters here, you’ll need a boat of some kind.

Getting on the Water

If you’ve recently moved here or just getting into fishing and have zero knowledge about it, I would suggest first figuring out what you can get yourself floating on first. If you don’t have the room or money to invest in a powerboat, a canoe or kayak is an excellent way to access the fantastic fishing locations we have here.

Unlike years before, today the resources you have available to you make fishing New Brunswick’s waters a great deal easier. Facebook has many local fishing groups where people will help you out. Fishing apps like Fishbrain help you find popular local spots and Google Maps becomes indispensable to find places to launch your boat or kayak. The best resource I’ve found to date is a place you can go to see what baits and techniques are being used locally. Where you can find sought after lures close to home and get tips and help.

My oldest son getting instruction on how to rig his purchases by the helpful owners at the Minnow Tackle Shop

Learning Resources

An amazing resource for learning the variety of species here available to catch for fun (catch and release) or to keep is the recently published Inland Fishes of New Brunswick. I had been using UNB’s website for my own research and to create a poster for my boys to teach them the species here, but this book takes that information and fills it out with so much more.

If you’re familiar with the Audubon Society Field Guides, this book will feel at home to you as it has a similar style and just slightly larger in dimension. The pages are packed full of information based on current research in the province. While salmon and trout still get the most pages, the mentions of the rapidly growing panfish, chain pickerel, bass and muskie sport fisheries, is a welcome sight!

With over 275 pictures, identification keys and distribution maps contained in the book, it’s a must-have reference for anyone fishing in New Brunswick! Check it out, as well as other great books at the Minnow Tackle Shop located in Fredericton.

About Blair

Living in Fredericton for the past 20+ years, he’s recently rediscovered his love of fishing, picking up where he left off before moving to New Brunswick. He shares his passion with his oldest son who recently discovered the multispecies Hook & Paddle tournaments. The slow exploration of New Brunswick waters via canoe and kayak fishing is more his style and enjoys the process of learning. Catch and release and conservation are important to him, along with promoting multi-species sport fishing for all ages – Fishing is for everyone! When not on the water or making new inline spinners, Blair is a web developer and hosting provider for small businesses.