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The Lure of the River
Sport Fishing in New Brunswick
Moses Perley - Early New Brunswick Sportsman
The Lure of the River: Sport Fishing in New Brunswick


Moses Perley pioneers the sporting life with his aboriginal companions.

Moses Perley (1804-1862), a Saint John lawyer, businessman, fisheries and immigration officer, commissioner of Indian affairs, writer, lecturer and naturalist, was a tireless worker for the development of New Brunswick; he was also a concerned observer and lobbyist for the wise use of the province's resources and a strong voice for the welfare of the aboriginal population.

Moses Perley - 
New Brunswick Museum

Photograph of Moses Perley late in life (detail),
probably from a carte de visite, photographer unknown
(New Brunswick Museum)

It was the latter cause which may have given him the most satisfaction. Perley's close ties with both the Maliseet and Mi'kmaq peoples resulted in a greater familiarity with New Brunswick's rivers, natural resources and fisheries than any other person of European descent in the province. His canoe trips with aboriginal companions in the 1830s and 1840s resulted in several published articles on the pursuits of the rod and gun and enhanced his reputation as a pioneer sportsman in New Brunswick.

Maliseet camp - 
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Photograph of Maliseet camp,
Tobique River about 1865 from an original carte de visite by George Taylor
(Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, P5/253)

The Amaranth - 
New Brunswick Museum

Five issues of The Amaranth, Robert Shives, publisher, Saint John
This monthly literary periodical appeared between 1841 and 1843. Each of these 1841 issues contain an article by Perley, all based on aboriginal tales in wilderness settings.
(New Brunswick Museum)

The flies we found it necessary to use in the bright waters of the Chemenspeek, were small and neat, and of quiet colours and our finest and most perfect casting lines were required to ensure success; while in the brown flood of the Obsache, we had used the largest and gaudiest flies with the coarsest tackle, and taken any number of fish we thought proper.

Moses Perley, "La Belle Tolotah",
The Amaranth, Vol. 1, No. 10, 1841, p. 291



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