The Miramichi, which tumbles and glides through New Brunswick, Canada on its way to the sea, is one of the most fabled of Atlantic salmon rivers. Mention its name to a salmon fisher and he will likely tell you in reverent tones of its plenitude of salmon and of the illustrious sportsmen it has drawn for a hundred years and more. And, if he knows his river history well, he may tell you that Arthur Train found the germ of more than one Mr. Tutt story on the Miramichi and that many of H. T. Webster's timeless angling cartoons were born there. Without doubt, the salmon fisher will tell you of the bright 20-pound fish he fought for an hour there, hooked perhaps on a fly named Destroyer or Black Bear in a pool named Vickers or Wolf. And he will speak of his favorite camp; it may be Griffin's, Campbell's, Boyd's, Doctors Island or one of many others which are rich in the traditions of fishing the Atlantic salmon with a fly. Fly-angling on the Miramichi begins when the ice roars downstream in mid-April. For a month thereafter gaunt, spawned-out salmon which have wintered in the river and are called mended kelts, slinks or black salmon dash for the ocean. These are ravenous fish, and they rise to the fly with enthusiasm. Then, late in May, fresh-run salmon driven by the overwhelming urge to spawn enter the river. They are not feeding, and their whimsical approach to the fly challenges the angler. The run rises to a climax in September, and that is the sportsman's month for, of the 30,000 salmon killed each year with rod and fly on the Miramichi, more than half are taken during the final 30 days of the season. The limit is six fish a day, 21 a week, and it is rarely filled with ease even by the wise men of salmon fishing. But, no matter how many fish they hook and bring exhausted to canoe or bank, they release most of them so they may live and spawn and help keep the Miramichi among the greatest of Atlantic salmon rivers.
September morn finds Jim Deren (foreground) and fellow sportsmen casting over salmon lies in Vickers Pool. Lies are resting areas used by salmon year after year.
Lunch break by Wolf Pool is enjoyed by Elmer Rathbone of Lexington, N.Y. (left), Guide Byron Connors, John G. Boate of Flushing, N.Y. and Fred D. Fowler of Weston, Mass. Coffee tops off menu, which included steaks, chops, potatoes and pie.
Triumphant angler Jim Deren, owner of the Angler's Roost tackle store in New York City, hefts 24-pound salmon while Justine Colvin of San Francisco looks on.