Mingan River; St. John, Romaine, and Wat-sheeshoo Rivers.-These rivers are within the Mingan Seigniory, and are all reported as being in as good condition as they ever were, notwithstanding considerable netting in the estuaries. The last-named river is reported as being abundantly supplied with fish.
This is a large river, abundantly supplied with salmon, and enormous catches are made, although the estuary and adjoining coast have always been netted.
This river is reported as being in fine condition.
This river has afforded anglers good sport for the past few years, and has improved under guardianship.
" Department of Marine and Fisheries, Deputy Minister's Office, Ottawa, Canada, 20th January 1906.
" Dear Sir Wilfrid,-In continuation of my letter of the 12th instant, conveying information, asked for by Mr. Earl Hodgson, touching the comparative condition of the salmon rivers of Eastern Canada from the angler's standpoint, I may say that up to the time of writing information covering Nova Scotia was not available, and an answer to Mr. Hodgson was being pressed for.
" I am now pleased to say, however, that the Officer in charge of the fish hatchery on the Margaree River -the principal salmon stream in Nova Scotia- reports as follows :-
"' Since twenty years salmon have not been as plentiful in the Margaree salmon pools as during the past summer. From the opening until the close of the season there seldom was a day but the expert angler could land several fish. Generally they were not large, averaging from 8 to 10 lbs., smaller and different in general appearance from the usual run of Margaree salmon. The remark could be freely heard, " These fish are certainly the product of the hatchery."" I have no doubt but they are. Thus is the benefit resulting from the hatchery already palpable.'
"It may be interesting to remark, that the fry placed in this river by the Department's fish-breeding operations are the product of parent fish taken from the St. John River in New Brunswick.
In order to continue our survey of the Empire, I asked Sir Bryan Leighton, an expert and far-travelled sportsman, to give an account of the rivers in Newfoundland and of those in British Columbia. His answer is very interesting:-
" Union Club, Westward Ho, R.S.O., North Devon, 31st December 1905.
" My dear Hoddy, ... In Newfoundland we find exactly the same salmo solar that frequents our own British rivers. He is alike in every particular except that he runs smaller. I have caught the grilse as small as 2½ lbs. A small fly is used; the favourite sizes are 5, 6, and 7. The salmon takes the fly freely on all the rivers I have visited with one exception. That is in the case of the Humber, the largest river in the island. There the fish take the fly on one pool only. It is a big pool, 500 yards in length, below some falls about 15 feet high, and about 20 miles from the estuary. During the run in summer it is wonderful to see the salmon leaping the falls. Why they rise only in that pool I cannot tell. To look at, the lower reaches of the Humber, and one pool in particular, about 6 miles from the mouth, called the Grand Rapids, which I saw to hold many large salmon, are such as should afford perfect fishing. I camped there for ten days this year. The natives told me that the large fish never go above this pool, but remain all the summer there and spawn. I tried every lure I could think of, but never raised a fish, although the conditions were all that could be wished. A friend who was camped here in 1903 did get three fish. That is the only known instance of the salmon there taking a fly. The pool is an ideal spawning ground.
"As regards size I would compare the Humber with the Tweed; but it runs through a huge lake, 12 miles long and 3 miles broad, beginning 8 miles from the mouth. The exceptional pool, where the fish do take, is in an upper reach above this lake.
" The rivers in which the fly is freely taken are very many. Among the better-known ones are the Grand River or Codroy, the Little River, Robinson's, Fischers, Crabbs', Torrent, Serpentine, River of Ponds, and Harry's Brook. These are annually visited by Canadians and Americans-all fishing is free in Newfoundland-and it is the merest chance if you are left in undisturbed possession of the pool on which you are camped. I found the following, in the order named, the most killing flies : Silver Doctor, Dusty Miller, Silver Grey, Jock Scott, Wilkinson, Black Dose, Butcher, Lemon Grey. The conditions of wind and water under which each would be used are the same as those which govern the use of these flies in the British Isles.
"One curious fact struck me. The fish do not ascend the rivers when they are flooded. Invariably they wait for the water to drop to normal level before moving up. This remark applies only to fish waiting in the salt water. Most of the rivers I visited become so small and shallow 10 miles from the coast that the fish can move in a flood only.
" In almost every instance there is a large lake- or, as the Newfoundlanders call it, 'a pond'-at the head of the river, in which the fish spawn.
" There is no doubt that the salmon are increasing in size and in numbers in the rivers best looked after; but in the more remote ones poaching is still the order of the day.
" The salmon arrives off the coast along with the capling, a fish about the size of our sprat. The fishermen tell me they have often found capling in the stomach of the salmon caught in the nets. The capling, I may mention, is the bait all the Newfoundland cod fishermen use. The arrival of the capling and ipso facto of the salmon is governed by the earliness or the lateness of spring. The spring of 1905 was one of the latest on record, and I find on referring to my Diary, that although we were catching odd fresh fish in the Codroy from June 7, and many mended kelts-salmon that have spawned late and been in salt water only six weeks or so-the main run of fish did not begin until June 20. In 1904 the fish ran in the same river the first week in June; in 1903 they arrived on June 10. The Codroy is looked on as the earliest river in Newfoundland.