Doug’s Christmas Shopping List

With the fishing season over and equipment taken care of, I’ll wrap up another year with my annual Christmas shopping suggestions for the angler.  I’ve checked with my friends in the tackle shops and have an estimated price range for many items mentioned.  This column is the “clip and paste” on the fridge with certain items highlighted, as a sort of a hint.

But first we must extend a BIG THANK YOU to our sponsors, organizations and donors who have support us in keeping this column going this year.

I must also THANK my weekly contacts who are the real ones who make this report possible, as well as those who have submitted stories, photos and comments via e-mail.  We also wish to THANK the many who made financial contributions to help keep the column going.

With more and more ladies getting “on the water”, this might help the gentleman angler solve his Christmas shopping as well.

New in the last couple of years is the digital water thermometer.  It clips on the vest, looks like a small pen, you point it at the water, click it and have the temperature instantly.  A lot easier and quicker than the older models.  I believe they run in the $30-$40 range.

For many of the following items, check with W.W. Doak and Sons (365-7828) in the Doaktown area, Curtis Miramichi River Outfitting (843-2481) in Blackville, Herb’s Fly Shop (843-6354) in Blackville, George’s Fly Shop in Renous (622-8226), Miramichi Hunting and Fishing (622-3071) in Miramichi,  and Trout Brook Fly Shop (622-0676) on the Northwest for more detailed prices.  A visit to Bryant Freeman’s Eskape Anglers (386-6269) on Wentworth Street in Riverview is always fun.  Drop into Doug White’s Tammarach Fly Shop in Juniper for a selection of flies and angling equipment (246-5232).

First the big items.  Maybe a new rod may be in order. These could run anywhere from $100 to $1000.  I like the Emery Streamside Rods.  They offer a very good product at a reasonable price range $125 to $200.  Streamside has a four-piece rod with its own case, which is ideal to carry on an ATV, walking a trail to a favourite pool, or packing to travel.  They also have a very nice Streamside Elite, my favourite rod, that is a 10-footer, priced under $200, and it throws a very nice line. A nice 9-foot Streamside is the SS909 graphite with a five-year warranty.  Eskape Anglers has a nice selection of Redington Rods, and if you want a rod especially made for you, contact Luc Gagne at his shop (L & G Fly & Rod) in the Edmundston, NB area at 111, Route 161, Clair (Caron-Brook) NB, E7A 1X8 (506) 992-3008 or

Next look at waders (George Routledge has some nice Emery Streamside Compac in hip, chest along with the breathable.  There are also the stocking-foot waders with the wading shoe, some with felt and studs, for both men and women, and neoprenes).  Syd Matchett carries a line of Snobees which are a good buy as well, and very light.

Then consider reels. (Emery Streamside puts out a nice affordable Classic Cast Deluxe at $50 to $100, along with the LA 3000 Legacy models.  I like the large arbor for quick reeling.  This series will cost from $250-$300).  Orvis also has a great line with a varying price range as does Redington.

Rain suits: ($100), rain jackets ($35), rod cases where the reel stays attacked ($35-60), vests ($30-$100) (Emery has a beautiful new vest with detachable sleeves and more pockets than you can count in its Streamside wear, as well as an adjustable Lady’s vest), landing nets ($20-$50) (Try to get one that will not scratch the eyes of the fish), Bug Jackets ($25-$40), and Inflatable fishing vests with a pull cord to inflate immediately in case the water gets too deep unexpectedly or slips in fast water ($150), and a new fly line.

Now for the “also” category.  A new hat ($5-$20), polarized sunglasses ($15 -$25), pliers for removing the hook from the fish quickly and efficiently, not to mention protecting your own hands on from the fall hook bills (($10-$15), a new set of braces for the waders ($15), a good knife ($6-$10), or a really good one $60-70), tape measure preferable attachable to the vest ($5), thermometer and depth gauge (for the lake angler) ($10-$20) Fly boxes (plastic $10, aluminum $15-25), and a box with a dozen flies ($30).

Then there are the stocking stuffers.  These include retractable clippers ($5), landing gloves ($8-$10), Gink and Xink for making the flies float or sink ($5), dry fly spray ($5), scents ($ 5-$10), glasses holders ($3), hook sharpeners ($3), leather man micro tools ($30-$75), and new felts for the waders.  I picked up polarized sun glasses that clip on to the brim of your hat and just flip up & down much like the pro baseball outfielders use.  I found them most convenient.  They were purchased from a Halifax seller at the 2012 Fly Fishing Forum in Moncton last spring.  I don’t know the company’s name, but Jacques Heroux might.

For the reader there are angling books such as Wayne Curtis’ new book OF EARTHLY and RIVER THINGS: An Angler’s Memoir  ($19.95  Goose Lane Editions), along with his previous  “Fly Fishing The Miramichi” and “River Guides of the Miramichi”, David Adams Richards’ “Lines On The Water”, George Frederick Clarke’s “Song of The Reel” and “Six Salmon Rivers and Another”, Lee Wulff’s many books especially on dry fly fishing, Michael Brislain’s “Bugging The Atlantic Salmon”, “The Main Southwest Miramichi River” book of coloured maps marking pools and open water ($25.00) to the coffee table books such as Gary Anderson’s “Atlantic Salmon: Fact and Fantasy” or “The Atlantic Salmon and The Fly Fisherman”, and Timothy Frew’s “Salmon: The Angler’s Guide”($30-$40), James (JIM) Mariner’s TIGHT LINES MEAN BRIGHT FISH: THE LARRY’S GULCH STORY.

There are “The St. Mary’s and Other Waters” by Charles Widgery ($13.95), “Recollections” by Clayton Stanley Stewart, “Stillwater Fly Fishing” as well as several others by Paul C. Marriner, including his latest (and updated) Modern Atlantic Salmon Flies, “A Little Thing I Tied Myself” by Don MacLean ($19.95),  and “Rivers of Yesterday” by Mike Parker.

I must add that I have a book titled SALMON COUNTRY: New Brunswick’s Great Angling Rivers which sells for $45.00

There are also angling videos ($20-$40), fly patches to hold flies ($4), and line cleaners ($3-5).  Don’t forget a measuring tape.

For the builder and tyer there are the rod building kits ($100-$150), salmon fly tying kit ($100-150), scissors, ($12-$30), bobbins (steel $6-$10, ceramic $15-$20), vices ($15-$200), and any number of fly tying materials from feathers, hackle, deer hair, capes, threads, yarns, head cement in a variety of colours, flash, from $2 to whatever, and boxes of 100 hooks ($6- $10, and doubles a bit more).

For the trout fishermen there are the lures ($2-$5), spinners ($1-$2), reels ($15-$20) and rods ($40-$100) and maybe a new creel ($10-$20).

Magazines: A subscription to, FlyFusion (based in Calgary) ($24.95 or “The Canadian Fly Fisher” ($18) (613) 966-8017 are excellent choices.

Now for the angler who has everything, try a salmon fly broach pin with a classic pattern.  These are good for hats, vests, or Jacket/shirt for both the male and female angler.

There are memberships in the Atlantic Salmon Federation which gives several glossy coloured magazines a year with excellent stories, not to mention that you are helping salmon conservation, memberships in one of the local salmon associations such as The Northumberland Salmon Protection Association, the Miramichi Salmon Association, The NB Guides Association,  the N.B. Wildlife Federation which has been in existence since 1924, the Moncton Fish & Game Club, the Dieppe Fly-Tyers or other clubs in your area.

The Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown has memberships ($25 or cheaper if one belongs to a local association) which includes visiting rights to the museum and its Hall of Fame as well as eight newsletters throughout the year which give the news and counts from the rivers. (See their adopt a parr program)

You might consider pampering yourself and your wife by booking a vacation on the river at a salmon club or lodge such as Ledges Inn (Doaktown), Wilson’s Fishing Camps, Upper Oxbow Outdoor Adventures, Red Rock Lodge, Metepenagiag Lodge, Country Haven Lodge, and any numbers of others.  A day to a week might be out of this world in your own back yard.  We book elsewhere, so why not at home!

Some of the fly tyers such as Dewey Gillespie, Jack Kitchen, Jacques Heroux or Marc Madore will make up beautifully framed and mounted classic salmon flies, which are very classy in any room or office.  As well, many of the angling shops mentioned above will put together Christmas Fly packages for you.  They make a nice gift.

PLANNING A Christmas party or an anglers’ meeting or dinner, contact Norm Betts in Doaktown for his “MIRAMICHI SMOKED SALMON”. You can still have a taste of the Miramichi! Click here to order.

For the person who has everything, Mark Hambrook of the MSA suggests sponsoring a transmitter for a kelt heading out to sea for $500.  The person to whom it is registered get updates about the fish every time it passes a code reader.  It would be nice to track your own fish. (506-633-1781)

I hope this makes your Christmas shopping a little easier.  I would like to thank all you have helped make this column the fun it has been.  Until next season, plan to be “on the water”, and don’t forget to attend the Annual Dieppe Fly Fishing Forum in Moncton (usually a Saturday and Sunday at the very end of March and/or start of April) 2013.  This year’s event will be held at the Moncton Colisium and is combined with the “Boat Show”.  Check out the program at (and then click on either the English or French “Welcome/Bienvenue)   It is a great way to get into the mood for getting back “on the water.”

AND a big THANK YOU to Terry Matchett of and his staff particularly Stacy Underhill and Les McLaughlin who make this possible. We had a very successful season with numbers of subscribers approaching 1,500.  The report on my website received 21, 500 unique visits and had 423,000 hits.  This is not counting those who do not have a computer and had arrangements for a friend or relative to print off the report each week for them. WE have subscribers from across Canada, the US, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand.  Thanks to all of you.  Tell your friends for next season.

Thought for the Winter: “In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen.”  Grover Cleveland

From the ASF
Dear ASF Member: Looking for a great gift for the fisherman/woman in your family? Check out the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s Anglers Cache.  On this page you will find old favourites like our signed and numbered prints as well as new and unique items like the ASF Toque or Hip Flask! Each item you purchase supports the conservation programs of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.  Your Friends in Conservation
The Atlantic Salmon Federation

From Nola Chiasson – Miramichi Salmon Association
Hi All

I would like to invite everyone to check us out on Facebook – our page is now up! Just go to I have uploaded lots of pictures of our activities and events into the albums. Remember to add us as a friend to keep up with all of our postings and Like us for a chance to win an MSA ball cap, t-shirt and the Dieppe Fly Tying Club book – Atlantic Salmon Flies. Please send us any comments, ideas, suggestions or complaints…

There were a few stories of interest in the last couple of weeks:
Warm summer was ‘poor’ for salmon season

All Rivers Having Problems

‘Superman’ of visual arts remembered

And finally, a note from our President…

Another season has wrapped up with the optimism of the 2011 season replaced with the dismal results of the 2012 season. Based on the DFO traps, the Northwest Miramichi grilse run was only 22% of last year and the large salmon numbers were 48% of last year resulting in spawning requirements not likely to be achieved, since spawning targets were just barely met last year. The Southwest Miramichi grilse run was only 25% of last year and the large salmon numbers were 79% of last year – that should have spawning requirements close to being achieved.

What happened to the grilse? This is the question everyone is looking for the answer to and many scenarios are being put forward from sea lice infestations from aquaculture being transported to salmon smolt congregating areas, heavy predation from seals, birds and striped bass to a lack of prey species for the salmon to feed on. As we wait for the DFO analysis to come in, it appears that the grilse that did return to the river this year were generally smaller than normal with many anglers reporting that they were catching a lot of 2 lb grilse. We saw more small grilse in our brood stock seining operations this year as well. This may be an indication of a lack of food at some time during the year from the smolt to the grilse stage that might have caused some to die and the survivors to be smaller. What is apparent is the mortality issue is one that is occurring in the sea, since grilse runs are generally down all over and not related to smolt production in fresh water.

As a river organization, we can do much to help the salmon during the fresh water portion of its life, but we must realize that what happens hundreds of kilometres away can affect our salmon populations and there isn’t much yet that we can do about it. Juvenile salmon numbers are very high in the Miramichi this year from the good returns of 2011 and we can hope for a good survival of salmon eggs this winter and hopefully the poor grilse returns of 2012 will be replaced with stronger returns in 2013.

Mark Hambrook

From Chris Gaston
Just wanted to drop you and your readers a short note reminding them the web site. We have grown a lot since our launch back in Dec. There is a well-rounded group of members from all over the Maritimes, Ontario, and the USA. It has been a great places to share fish stories, trip reports, pictures and of course meet new friends. Some members have even met up for some fishing trips and share their knowledge with each other. We have done a few fly swaps where participants tie a particular pattern and mail them to a common person and then the flies are divided up and mailed back out. This gives you a various assortment of favorite patterns of fellow members. One swap even turned out as a fundraiser for MSA. The group decided to donate the swap flies and some extras to MSA’s Salmon Classic Auction. We ended up supplying approx 80 salmon flies of all types to MSA which auctioned them off for $350 at their dinner. We are very pleased to help MSA out and are looking forward to doing more in the future.
So as you can see this is a great place for people to continue their passion for salmon fishing year round and we invite others to join and contribute.


Chris Gaston

Atlantic Salmon Federation News
Friday, October 26, 2012

Explore Presentations of ASF Land-based Aquaculture Conference
On Oct. 10 & 11 ASF hosted 78 scientists, conservationists, aquaculturists and others from Canada, the U.S. and five European countries. Now the presentations are available online as pdfs. Presentations from the Oct. 13 Halifax Workshop are also available.
This is one of the best resources on the web for land-based aquaculture:

Alexandra Morton on Aquaculture & Politics
In mid-October Dr. Alexandra Morton spoke at ASF, and subsequently delivered the Ransom Myers Lecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax. You can listen to her fascinating presentation here:

Sea Lice Cause Sobeys to Pull Whole Salmon from Shelves
During her time in the Maritimes, Dr. Alexandra Morton purchased and examined aquaculture salmon, discovering large numbers of sea lice. ASF has created a page with links to several articles on this, but Is Truth a Tactic? is of particular interest. It gives a perspective on the presence of the sea lice.

One Wild Salmon Returns to Magaguadavic
In the Bay of Fundy, many rivers experienced historic low returns of wild Atlantic salmon. This article provides details, including numbers for the Saint John River.
Opening Day is only 165 days away.  Start the count-down!

Merry Christmas
Tight Lines Always


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