There are many theories to explain the allure of fly-fishing. We prefer to describe fly-fishing as an art form with many personal benefits.
As with any art, the level of enjoyment and personal satisfaction sought or achieved varies widely with each individual.
Irrespective of age and experience we do know that your St. Lewis River Lodge visit will deliver a wealth of memories in the art of hooking, playing and releasing Atlantic salmon amidst absolute luxurious surroundings.
The St. Lewis River system remains relatively unknown as an Atlantic salmon angling destination. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans had classified it as an Unscheduled Salmon River until 2000; likely due to the remoteness, low angling pressure and limited information about the salmon runs. In 2001, it was designated as a Scheduled Salmon River in conjunction with the opening of the southern section of the Trans Labrador Highway.
We have angled the “Falls” Pool since 1995, which is located approximately 10 kilometers from tide water and is the first major obstacle for Atlantic salmon.
During the period from 1995 – 2010 we had only ever fished the Falls Pool and downstream a few hundred meters. Given the spectacular angling in the immediate vicinity, there was little reason to fish elsewhere. During prime time from late June to late July, it is quite likely one of the most productive pools in the world for Atlantic salmon angling. With our new world-class Lodge now perched 30 meters from this pool, the 2012 preferred angling attire consisted of shorts, tee shirts, sandals and the occasional bathrobe seen heading for the pool at 04:45.
Much of the first 35 kilometers of the river consists of deep canyons and gorges, which tail out into boulder runs and rapids followed by long shallow steadies then more canyons. The river embankments are generally steep and continuous, 10-50 meter high tree covered or bare outcrop thus proving difficult to explore by helicopter and virtually impossible to systematically traverse by foot.
In 2011 and 2012 we began using sturdy self-bailing NRS angling rafts to further explore the river above and below the Falls Pool. The rafts prove an ideal way to explore the river and for locating additional holding pools. To date we have explored most of the down river section and continue to evaluate the ever changing holding pools as water levels fluctuate. We have also explored a 12-kilometer section immediately up river from the Lodge and it still remains undetermined as to actually how many pools exist, certainly dozens of prime holding areas. These rafts have proven to be stable and safe in high water conditions as well as perfect for finding additional prime pools. Releasing a salmon then onto the next set of rapids and spectacular scenery around each bend is an exhilarating journey through frontier territory, always to another pool.
Suffice to conclude that the St. Lewis River hosts a very healthy run of Atlantic salmon. We can certainly attest to the population being in the “thousands”. We will be pursuing scientific means of more accurate population counts in the future.
It is of particular interest to note that we are experiencing consistently bigger salmon on the St. Lewis River, which coincides with the closure of the commercial salmon fisheries. During the late 1990’s a large salmon on the St. Lewis River was approximately 12 pounds. In the past 12-14 years, we have witnessed a steady increase in the average weight. The runs are now consistently in the 14 – 18 pound range, followed by waves of 4 -8 pound grilse. The largest landed in a season continues to increase into the 20 plus pound range.
Fish Retention Policy - Lodge policy for 2013 will be to limit salmon retention to 2 male grilse per group during the visit that can be prepared as an evening meal.