Canada’s east coast encompasses some of the country’s greatest natural assets. An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, there is plenty to do in both the cold and warm weather months of the year. This is especially true for those looking to cast a line into one of the many rivers as part of an epic fishing trip. 

We realize that narrowing down a specific location can be difficult when dealing with abundant options. We’re here to help. In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, you’ll find some of the best salmon fishing in Canada, with nearly 200 salmon-filled rivers, accounting for more than 60% of North America’s wild Atlantic Salmon waterways. Not only will you have plenty of places to fish, but the waters here also provide an exhilarating challenge to even the most skilled anglers. Be prepared for big, strong, relentless, and even acrobatic salmon — some weighing nearly 30 pounds! 

Salmon fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador runs from June to September, while fall angling runs into October on three rivers including the Gander, Humber, and Exploits. If you’re ready for a fishing trip like no other, grab your rod and tackle box and head on out to the beautiful rushing waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Fish Salmon on the Island’s Longest River – The Exploits River

If you’re looking for one of the top Newfoundland salmon fishing experiences, look no further than the Exploits River. Located in the central part of the island, it stretches an incredible 246 kilometers, making it the longest river on the Rock. It is also abundant in fish thanks to a stocking program and manufactured passages meant to bypass two of the largest dams. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 fish pass through the Exploits each year, so anglers will enjoy good odds of hooking a big catch. 

If you’re interested in fishing the river for salmon, you’ll want to visit between late June and the end of August. There is also a fall season stretching from the start of September to the first week of October, though it’s important to remember that fishing is catch and release’ only during this time (be sure to check local government regulations for specific dates). The river’s length can be daunting, with a seemingly endless amount of space to cast your line. Consider heading to the lower section of the river below Bishop’s Falls, where you can fish off the bank or from a boat. When it’s time to pack up for the day, take in the surroundings, which offer the sights and scents of evergreen forests and the possibility of sighting large mammals like woodland caribou, moose, and even black bears.

Go Trophy Fishing at the Humber River

Flowing through Corner Brook and into the Bay of Islands, the Humber River is a top fishing spot if you’re looking for a big catch. The Lower Humber has produced more trophy fish than any other river on the east coast, though this comes as no surprise when you realize that many of the river’s underwater inhabitants are between 30 and 60 inches in length, with some salmon weighing up to 30 pounds! The cool, high-quality water creates ideal conditions for Atlantic Salmon to thrive, and the fish that pass through this river — all 2030,000 of them — have spent around two years at sea, arriving in good form. Although the Lower Humber is known for its heavyweight catches, there are also opportunities to score big fish in the Upper Humber, although you are more likely to catch grilse and small salmon here. If you’re looking to visit one of the best salmon rivers in Newfoundland, you’ll want to plan your trip between the start of June and the beginning of October. With that said, many anglers would agree that the best Lower Humber fishing conditions don’t begin until Mid-July.

The river itself is flat, with shallow spots, areas of faster flowing water, and pools. The riverbanks have beach areas, open grassy areas, and wooded banks, making them perfect for setting-up your gear or taking a break. 

Enjoy Easy Access to Outstanding Salmon Fishing at Portland Creek

Portland Creek is the first community you’ll encounter when heading north from Arches Provincial Park along the Viking Trail. It may be a small community but don’t mistaken its size for a lack of character. The town received its name from the nearby Portland Creek River, internationally renowned for its trout and salmon fishing. The mouth of the river is surrounded by beautiful, white-sand beaches, easily accessible from the highway. It’s believed that the Portland Creek River is the site at which the salmon fishing technique known as riffle hitch’ was born. This technique is a simple knot you can tie that allows most streamers and classic wet flies to drift along the surface of the water. 

If you’re looking for a serene yet abundant salmon fishing experience, add the Portland Creek River to your itinerary during July and August.

The Ideal Experience for New Anglers – Flowers River

For novice and elderly anglers, the Flowers River provides the opportunity to experience the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing scene without the challenges of more intense rivers like the Exploits or the Humber. The river is calm, and the water is clear, meaning that in many cases, you can spot your next catch by eye. This tactic, commonly known as sight-fishing,’ is rarely possible or recommended when fishing, making the experience that much more unique. With its high catch-per-rod ratio, the Flowers should have anglers walking away with an ear-to-ear grin after a successful day of catches.

Like other rivers in the province, the best time to visit the Flowers is mid-July through August. During this time, anglers can anticipate catching salmon in the eight to twelve-pound range.

Target Atlantic Salmon Nearby St. John’s Airport – Salmonier River

Are you coming from out of town and landing at one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s major airports? Consider fishing the Salmonier River. Traveling east, the river is a 3‑hour drive along the Trans-Canada Highway from Gander International Airport or roughly a 1‑hour drive west of St. John’s Airport. Although this river is well known for its resident species — brown and brook trout — there are also large runs of Atlantic Salmon during the last week of June into mid-July, especially in the lower sections of the river. 

The Salmonier River is long and winding at some points, making it difficult to identify fishing hotspots. Consider casting your line at the Pinsent’s Falls, the Flats, and Murphy’s Falls positions for best results.

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