PETITE CASCAPEDIA RIVER
The Petite Cascapedia River - my church on the Gaspe Peninsula! What can I say about this lovely river where I grew up and learned about salmon and sea-run brook trout other than it is my alltime favorite spot to fish and canoe!
By far one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever fished and floated in the world, the Petite is an amazing crystal-clear river that can easily be fished with either a single handed rod or a smaller double handed rod (under 14-feet). Perhaps one the the most intimate rivers to fish in the Gaspe Peninsula, the cold waters of the Petite flow out of the interior of the Chic Choc mountains through a network of underground springs and mountain streams, making it the coldest river on the Peninsula throughout the season. This translates into a very productive fishery when other rivers on the Peninsula are too warm to fish. For some reason, probably because it is all spring fed, the Petite's fish are very aggressive throughout the mid-summer months versus other rivers that seem to shut down when water temps approach the 62-68 degree mark. You will rarely find water temps above 60-degrees on the Petite.
The structure of the river varies between gravel and free stone, to ledge type pools that are simply gorgeous. The nice even gravel bottom makes this river very wadable and easy to fish for almost any angler. While floating the river you will find fish holding in many different places including; swift runs, classic ledge pools and nice glade runs. Every once in a while you will find salmon as well as big sea-run brook trout tucked in close to log jams that dot the river on its relatively short trajectory to the Baie des Chaleurs.
Although the annual run is between 450 and 1000 fish at best, the fish that return each year have a reputation for being very aggresive and fly friendly! Not only are the fish aggressive, but they are also quite big for the relative size of the river. Yes, you can catch fish in the 30-40 pound range here!
The river is divided up into 4 sectors, B-C/F-D and E. Sector B is the reserved rod zone offering a maximum of 8 anglers a day a shot at fishing a multitude of different pools on the middle part of the river. Sector C/F is the upper main river part and is a non-reserved rod zone, meaning that any number of anglers may purchase an angling permit to fish there on a given day. Even though it is a public non-reserved rod zone, it is usually void of anglers as it is best fished by floating the entire 4-km stretch in a canoe.
Sectors D & E are the West and East branches and they are reserved rod zones with a maximum of 10 rods per zone per day. Again, you will NEVER find more than a couple of anglers on either stretch due to the fact that it is a hard place to figure out and it is pretty much a trout only area, you will not find many salmon in either branch. The fact that it is basically void of anglers throughout the year translates into a superb angling opportunity for those of you who want to have a wilderness experience for trout!