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Lifelines: Canada's East Coast Fisheries

The Lure of the River
Sport Fishing in New Brunswick
A Sporting Aristocracy
The Lure of the River: Sport Fishing in New Brunswick


Wealthy anglers from Britain and, increasingly, the United States become established along the salmon rivers of northern New Brunswick.

British military, government and vice-regal officials had long known of New Brunswick's excellent salmon fishing and, following Confederation, those of means returned to the province as time permitted. Their numbers were small, however, since the Atlantic Ocean acted as a barrier and the fishing in Scotland remained attractive.

A sportsman and two Mi'kmaq guides - 
Camp Harmony Angling Club

A sportsman and two Mi'kmaq guides on the Restigouche River (detail), 1880s
(Camp Harmony Angling Club)

It was different for the Americans. Their salmon rivers on the east coast were in decline, victims of pollution and river dams. Beckoned by tourist writers in the United States and, later, Canada, they took advantage of an improved rail network to leave the crowded northeast in greater numbers in the 1870s and 80s. The wealthiest formed exclusive sporting clubs, especially on both sides of the Restigouche River, noted for its large salmon and easy access by horse-drawn scows and houseboats.

Intercolonial Railway Parlour Car - 
New Brunswick Museum

Interior of Intercolonial Railway Parlour Car (detail), about 1895
(New Brunswick Museum)



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