Upper Restigouche River
The 55 km-long designated stretch of the Upper Restigouche River in New Brunswick flows mainly through Crown Land forest, and is home to osprey and Canada lynx. The river’s outstanding Atlantic salmon habitat has drawn anglers to the region for thousands of years, and today it remains one of North America’s premier fly-fishing destinations.
The Mi’kmaq peoples have always relied on the Restigouche for transportation and survival. The river was also an important transportation corridor for early Europeans travelling from the St. John River to the St. Lawrence River. In 1760, the English destroyed the French fleet in the pivotal Battle of the Restigouche, the last naval battle between France and Great Britain for possession of the North American continent. At the time, the hamlet of Restigouche was inhabited by a number of Acadian refugees and some 150 Mi’kmaq families.
Atlantic salmon has been an integral part of the Restigouche’s allure throughout history, and continues to draw anglers to the river to this day. Four fishing camps are located within the designated section, three of which are private. The fourth, at Larry’s Gulch, is owned by the Province of New Brunswick.
Concern over the future of the salmon resulted in the creation of one of North America’s first conservation laws, in 1824. In the face of further decline, the 1858 Fisheries Act paved the way for the current system of private fishing club leases and rights, limiting access to the fishery.
The Restigouche is a popular destination for canoeists and kayakers. Established campsites and ecotourism operators provide excellent service within the region for paddlers, hikers, and snowmobilers. Further information about recreation activities are available through the Restigouche River Watershed Management Council.
Who Manages the River?
The Restigouche River Watershed Management Council is responsible for management of the designated section of river.
Mi’kmaq legend contends the Restigouche was named by a distraught chief after learning of his son’s death at the hands of Mohawk who had been poaching on the river. The chief had opposed his son’s battle plan against the poachers, and so named the river “he who disobeys his father.”