Over these last few weeks, after I sold my boat, I began to see where I could enjoy some shore fishing. I always hear the question asked, “Where can I take my kids fishing if I don’t have a boat?” There are many spots that offer excellent shore fishing in New Brunswick. Two good target species are the Striped Bass and Smallmouth Bass. All along the Saint John River, Smallmouth and Striped Bass are feeding up for winter while the wintering Striped Bass school up in the mouth of the Miramichi River. Here are a few locations you might want to try if you’re relegated to fishing from shore this fall.
Lower Saint John River | Ferry Tour
The Lower Saint John River offers some outstanding fishing opportunities and wonderful sightseeing opportunities. With the government supplying free ferry service and not requiring a fishing licence on tidal water (hook and release only for most species), this is one of the best opportunities for incredible and convenient shore fishing in New Brunswick.
This tour will take you across the Saint John River many times as you fish both sides of every ferry landing. These ferries are mostly located on the choke points along the river and offer feeding zones close to shore access.
- Gagetown Ferry
- Evandale Ferry
- Bellisle Ferry
- Westfield Ferry
- Cambridge Narrows Bridge
These locations are all joined in a big circle, making for a great day “running and gunning“ in your car. Riding the ferries and stopping for apples both make a great day travelling the Lower Saint John River. Fishing both sides of these chokepoints can produce some fantastic fishing results while the ferry rides are a free bonus.
Saint John Reversing Falls | Striped Bass
Fallsview Park offers excellent access to the famed Reversing Falls. The prevalence of Striped Bass on the incoming tide has been a long-standing secret among local fishermen. These Striped Bass can reach enormous sizes—one in a local tackle shop (mounted) is over 70 pounds! The fall migration into the river is an excellent opportunity to catch a fish of a lifetime.
Again, bottom jigs (be prepared to lose a few), swimbaits, and topwater lures all will produce.
Though he had the advantage of fishing from the deck of FNC1 Princecraft, Fish’n Canada co-host Pete Bowman made a stop by the Reversing Falls in this 2017 episode, “Tide Water Stripers.”
Upper Saint John River | Multi-Species
Many spots along the Upper Saint John River offer great Smallmouth Bass opportunities and other non-traditional species. Start by fishing either side of the flow-through pipes (depending on the current) at the Mactaquac Causeway; Smallmouth Bass (and some Largemouth Bass) stage here as a feeding zone.
Nackawic Marina and shoreline is a great spot to walk, explore, and catch some phenomenal action. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the “World’s Largest Axe.” Throwing topwater out to the edge of weed lines can produce some tremendous visual explosions. The real trick is to take your time as you will need to get the fish through those weed lines to shore.
Shogomoc Walking Bridge, off the old highway just above Nackawic, is a wonderful spot and offers many excellent places to fish. Along with the fishing, this area has many neat things to explore if the kids get bored, from old bridges to shallow streams.
Meduxnekeg River, Woodstock, specifically the downtown walking bridge, is a major feeding zone. However, in the spring, the fishing can be exceptionally good, as the Smallmouth Bass stage here before moving upriver to spawn. You can go shore fishing, grab a Timmies, and visit the local market, all within a two-minute walk.
The Hartland Covered Bridge is the world’s longest covered bridge. There also happens to be great Smallmouth Bass fishing right at the base of the bridge (both sides). Walking the nearby shoreline can be a great hike and result in even more outstanding fishing opportunities. Plus, you get to see and walk on the world’s longest covered bridge!
Angelo and Pete spent some time fishing for Smallmouth Bass near the base of the Hartland Covered Bridge in this 2016 Fish’n Canada episode, “Maritime Smallies.”
Miramichi River | Striped Bass
Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention Strawberry Marsh. This is a great shore fishing opportunity in Miramichi—but I would suggest spots closer to deep water during the fall run. Here are a number of local spots that you can try:
- Loggieville Wharf
- Douglastown Marina
- Middle island
- Nelson Wharf
- Parks Landing
- Napan Bridge
In fall, Striped Bass begin to move into wintering spots where they spend the winter under the ice. The Miramichi bass school is not as large as the spring spawning run, but the fishing can be excellent. Although they will move and feed throughout the tidal portion of the river, they will generally associate with deep water edges.
Lure fishing can be a challenge but certainly not out of the question. Single hooks (barbless) with a chunk of mackerel will produce great results. Try swimbaits, jerk shads, topwater, and Marabou jigs. During the fall season, you generally need to trigger a bite with lures—so make sure you change up your retrieve. Fast, slow, erratic—switch it up.
September and October can be excellent fall Striper fishing. And in most cases, you will be the only one there!
These are just a few spots where you can experience exceptional shore fishing in New Brunswick. There are many more spots ready for you to enjoy social distance fishing and explore with your Bubble Mates!
Get out and explore New Brunswick and bring the kids! Remember, though: Catching is more fun than fishing. So put them back for the kids.