I am intrigued by New Brunswick fishing. I have never fished there but know this beautiful province has so much fishing to offer anglers. Salmon, Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Striped Bass, and Chain Pickerel highlight the fishing offered in this Province. I had a chance to talk to Steve Ramier. Steve broke down some of his favorite fisheries in New Brunswick. I love that Steve spends a lot of time fishing with kids and he shared some of his strategies for doing so with us. He also let us in on some secrets for catching Pickerel. Oh yeah, we talk a little rum too. So keep reading to learn more…
I noticed you catch some Smallmouth on the Nashwaak River. What do you like about fishing this river?
The Nashwaak River is a great little river that flows into the large Saint John River in Fredericton, the city I live in. I can have my boat in the water 5 minutes after leaving my house and be fishing shortly after that. The Nashwaak is a beautiful river, you feel like you are in the middle of the wilderness when on the river, but you are inside the city limits. What I love the most about this river is that there is the great microbrewery at the boat launch, Picaroons…a great place to get a beer after fishing.
What are your favorite Smallmouth techniques while fishing the river?
The Nashwaak does not have a strong current in the area I fish. We have the most success fishing large submerged boulders with plastic worms, whacky rig seems to work best. I find you have to be very patient as they typically hit as the worm falls just prior to hitting bottom. I also love to fly fish the shoreline with a small poppers. Although not as productive, fly fishing is great fun for Smallmouth as you can target the exact area that you think the fish is at and you get to see a surface hit which is always fun!
I noticed you catch a lot of chain pickerel. What waters are you fishing for the Pickerel?
We love fishing Chain Pickerel. I am not sure what it’s like in other parts of North America, but in New Brunswick if you choose the right lake its non-stop action. Our favorite lake is called Modsley, it’s a shallow lake with lots of rocks and deadheads near the USA border. Best way to fish it is with a canoe as there is no boat launch and the rocks and deadheads make it treacherous in a boat. Chain Pickerel seem to love shallow areas with lots of cover like reeds and grass. There a some great lakes in the south western part of New Brunswick that fit this description and have tons of pickerel.
What baits are you using to catch the chain pickerel, especially when fishing with kids?
I mainly use just 2 or 3 different plastic lures for pickerel. When you have a kid in the front of the boat you need to minimize the chances of getting stuck on bottom and you want them to have fun. Surface lures are best for both. Our two go-to lures are a white tube with a double yellow or pink twisty tail stuck up its butt. A guy told me to try this and swore me to secrecy, hopefully he doesn’t read this. You use a large hook to go through both the tube and twisty tail; you don’t want much weight as you want to jerk this through the shallow water near the shore line either at the surface or just below the surface.
And the other favorite is a pink bubble gum swim bait. My fishing buddy Peter always says Pink is for Pickerel. The kids love to see the big splash when a pickerel hammers the bait on the surface. Crankbaits work well also, but not as much fun.
I also noticed that you have fished the world famous Miramichi. What are some pieces of advice for anyone going there for the first time?
Yes, the Miramichi is one of the best salmon rivers in the world for fly fishing. It is also one of the best bodies of water for Striped Bass as well. The middle to end of May is terrific for Striper fishing. I would recommend fishing around the city of Miramichi for Stripers. The Miramichi river system is huge and stretches across the entire province of New Brunswick.
You need a boat, a small 14-16’ aluminum would do just fine, and some local knowledge. No guide necessary for Stripers; but you will need one for Salmon. The salmon fishing industry on the Miramichi is huge. If you are coming from out of province you need to go through one of the many outfitters.
I would recommend the northwest branch of the Miramichi; it’s a smaller river and in my opinion very beautiful compared to the more popular southwest branch of the Miramichi. Feel free to get in touch with me via Instagram if anyone wants help getting organized for a trip.
What other New Brunswick waters are your favorite?
My favorite fishing in New Brunswick is the Crown Reserve. You can fish some of the best fly fishing stretches in the province by entering your party of four people in the annual draw. If your group is one of those selected, your odds are around 50%, you get 3 to 5 kilometers stretch of river all to your selves for 3 days. There are usually 8 to 10 salmon pools on each stretch. The Crown Reserve waters are in the middle of no-where, so it’s great to get in the woods on a beautiful river, hours from civilization for a few days…and the awesome fishing is a bonus!
I also love fishing in the Shediac area where my brother-in-law and friend have a camp. We are on the ocean in the Northumberland Straight; beautiful beaches and warm water; yes its true warm ocean water in Canada. We have a small 14’ aluminum boat setup for Striper fishing, we fish the inlets around our camp. What makes this place special is that we take the whole family for 2 weeks every summer, the kids love fishing so we hope we have passed on the love of fishing to the next generation.
You seem to always fishing with a bunch of kids with you. What are the keys for you to fishing with kids?
I always fish with my brother-in-law and friend…between us we have 9 kids, 4 are mine. So from a young age we tried to get them involved in all types of fishing. My keys to success for fishing with kids are 1) go at a time and to a place that you know there will be fish; they don’t care how big or what species…they want to catch fish 2) don’t go on a cold/rainy day, only those of us who love to fish enjoy that 3) setup 4-5 rods in advance with lures that will be easy to manage for the kids; if they screw up the line or get snagged…just hand them another rod 4) bring some tasty snacks and beverages…that one’s for you Katie cakes.
When did you start fishing? Who were your biggest influences early in your fishing?
I didn’t fish that much as kid; I was into other things, mainly sports. It’s just in the past 8 years that I have gotten into it. I rarely go fishing alone, I think one of the things I love about fishing is hanging out with friends or my kids while fishing. So I think my biggest influences are my fishing buddies who make fishing fun even if we aren’t catching anything…did I mention we usually bring rum just in case there is no action.
What are your favorite rum brands?
When I was young kid living in Miramichi my dad went to the neighborhood liqueur store looking for a bottle of Chianti. The guy behind the counter said “Son, I don’t know what Chianti is; this is Rum country”. So true, we love our dark rum around here. So we had a rum tasting evening to see if we could figure out which ones we liked the best, blind tasting. In my opinion the best rum is Eldorado 12 yr old; and the best bang for your buck is Lemon Hart.
I now want to go fishing in New Brunswick! I wouldn’t mind a drink or two of rum also while I am up there. Thank you Steve for giving us a glimpse of the fishing the Province holds. And more importantly, thank you for investing the time in fishing with your children and creating these lifetime memories for them.
Follow Steve on Instagram to learn even more about New Brunswick fishing.