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Wet Fly Swing Fly Fishing Podcast

Mar 27, 2024

Show Notes:

Presented By:  Waters West, Northern Rockies AdventuresTogens Fly Shop, FishHound Expeditions

Have you heard of the Gaspé Peninsula and thought maybe it was out of your reach for a trip? Are you worried that your spey game isn't at a high enough level to hook a salmon?

Today, we have David Bishop to share tips for success and three key takeaways that will ensure you not only can do this trip but have a chance at hooking an Atlantic Salmon.

Learn about fly speed, when to use dry flies versus wet flies, and uncover a fly pattern you may not have seen before. Discover how to recognize a take and why David recommends using 6lb and 8lb tippets.

Show Notes with David Bishop on Gaspe Peninsula Atlantic Salmon. 

01:38 - David Bishop delves into the unique challenge of fishing for Atlantic salmon and why it's often seen as an intimidating species:

Species Specificity: Atlantic salmon are highly dependent on water conditions and fish behavior, unlike other species that may feed more readily.

Success Rate: Internationally, the success rate for catching Atlantic salmon can be challenging, with an average of about one salmon per three days of effort.

Enigmatic Nature: The mystery surrounding why Atlantic salmon take flies adds to the allure and complexity of fishing for them.

Exploring the Diverse Rivers of Gaspe Peninsula

4:00 - Rivers in the Gaspé Peninsula vary in fish population and size, with some rivers known for smaller but abundant fish runs, while others like the Caspapedia River boast large, genetically healthy fish.

The Gaspé Peninsula is hailed as the most accessible salmon fishing destination globally, thanks to the democratic draw system implemented by the Quebec government.

9:00 - Gaspe Peninsula offers a plethora of rivers for salmon fishing, and anglers can also explore nearby areas like the St. Lawrence River and New Brunswick for additional fishing opportunities.

Compared to other international destinations, fishing in Gaspe is affordable, with daily ticket costs ranging from $60 to $180.

David Bishop's Fly Fishing Journey

14:17 - David Bishop shares his early memories of fly fishing, tracing back to childhood experiences with his father and grandfather behind Simsbury High School.

At the age of 10, David caught his first Atlantic salmon. Then at age 14, David worked at a fly shop and later ventured into guiding.

Access to Fishing in the Gaspe Peninsula

17:00 - David elaborates on the democratic access system in the Gaspe Peninsula. Unlike some regions with exclusive and elite fishing practices, Gaspe's model ensures public access while balancing private interests.

The lottery-based system ensures that a percentage of water remains open to the public each day, with clear guidelines on pricing.

Comparatively, regions like the UK and Norway maintain a more privatized approach, limiting access based on wealth and waiting lists.

24:00 - There are two main ways to access the rivers: purchasing a daily access permit for non-reserved waters or participating in the draws organized by the FQSA. Saumon Quebec provides information on river access, draws, and permits.

27:00 - David Bishop discusses various lodging options for anglers visiting the Gaspe Peninsula.

Choosing the Best Time for Atlantic Salmon Fishing in the Gaspe Peninsula

36:00 - For hardcore spey anglers, early June or late September are ideal for fishing gin-clear waters with fewer competitors. However, the prime time for dry fly fishing is from late June through August into early September when water temperatures are optimal.

Dry Flies vs Wet Flies 

45:00 - David explains the transition from wet fly to dry fly fishing based on water conditions and visibility. He distinguishes between rivers with clear visibility and those with stained waters.

Clear Rivers (e.g., Bonaventure, Petite Cascapedia): Optimal for site fishing and dry fly opportunities.
Stained Rivers (e.g., Cascapedia, Dartmouth): You can switch to dry flies if no action with wet flies is observed.

46:00 - When not fishing dry flies, David Bishop describes his typical setup and approach for different months and water conditions:

In June with higher water, he uses larger flies ranging from size 2 to 3.0 for swinging traditional salmon flies. Some favorite flies include John Olin Longwing, Picasse, and Paul Caron's Stonefly.

Fly Speed and Presentation

David stresses that fly presentation plays a massive role, comprising about 90% of the success in fly fishing. He also mentions that fly selection is only about 5% of the game, debunking the idea of a "best fly".

He explains that using floating lines allows him to manipulate fly speed effectively. By adjusting casting angles and mending downstream, he can control how fast the fly moves across the water, which is crucial for enticing strikes.

His strategy involves covering as much water as possible to find fish that are actively taking the fly. He prefers this approach over repeatedly casting in the same spot, focusing on quality fish rather than sheer numbers.

Spey Fishing Gear and Technique

59:00 - David recommends using a 12.5-foot rod ranging from 450 to 540 grain weights, with a preference for 480 or 450. He emphasizes using long leaders of 15 to 20 feet for better fly tracking and action. David also highlights the importance of tapered leaders for efficient casting and fly presentation.

Show Notes: