It’s no secret that New Brunswick is an outdoor playground. With an abundance of waterways and shores, fishing in New Brunswick is a great way to explore the province and spend time connecting with nature.
Habitual anglers already have their favourite spots and know everything they need for a successful catch, but if you’re new to the sport, or want to try a new species, these points below cover the basics of sport fishing in New Brunswick.
Who can fish in New Brunswick?
Anyone! Residents and non-residents alike can fish in New Brunswick, as long as they have the proper license (when 16 years or older), and follow the laws and regulations around the body of water they want to fish. Salmon fishing is more tightly regulated and requires a guide for Non-Residents, however if you’re an NB resident all unclaimed waters in the crown reserve system draw can be booked without participating in a draw.
What’s the difference between New Brunswick’s many waterways, when it comes to fishing?
The province maintains a variety of stocked ponds and lakes, which are a great place to learn. There’s also a twice annual Fish NB Days where anyone can fish (with certain exemptions) across New Brunswick.
River fishing is all about water levels, so monitoring levels and rainfall is key to a good day. Water temperature and spawning dates also affect the species available and the action. It's a much more seasonal type of fishing, and is often species specific:
- The Saint John river system has Striped Bass, Musky, Smallmouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Sturgeon and Chain Pickerel, and a multitude of other species
- The Restigouche river system is primarily Trout and Salmon,
- The Miramichi river system has Salmon, Trout and Striped Bass,
- Other smaller tributaries and non-tidal waters are home to Smallmouth, Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout, White and Yellow Perch, and Shad, and lots of other fish to target.
When it comes to tidal waters, fishing is dependent on tides. Many anglers target the incoming tide as opposed to the outgoing tide. A guide or tackle shop will have information on tides and best places to do so, but we’ve got some tips here:
- The Miramichi river system in spring is great for Stripers and spring Salmon (kelt), and summer through fall for Bright Salmon.
- The Fredericton area (Saint John River) from June to November, is where you want to go for Musky and Stripers,
- The Kennebecasis in Spring is perfect for Brook Trout and Shad (to name a few).
Read up on why Miramichi is Atlantic Canada’s “great outdoors”
How many available varieties of fish are there in New Brunswick?
There are 30+ sport fish available, and which ones depend on when and where you are.
New Brunswick is known for World Class Stripers (Striped Bass) and the word is getting out about the massive Musky in the Saint John river. Of course, there are Atlantic salmon in the Restigouche and Miramichi systems, but Small Mouth Bass is exceptional all over the province.
Make sure to check the annual Fish Guide from the Department of Natural Resources for a full list of varieties, locations, seasonality, and other regulations.
How can I find easy-to-access places in my area?
Local tackle shops will have tons of information and be a great place to find a guide or outfitter. They fish the waters they’re near, so starting there is a great way to get the inside scoop and make local connections.
Are guides and outfitters only for non-residents of New Brunswick?
Not at all! Anyone can use a guide or outfitter when fishing in New Brunswick. In fact, they’re a treasure trove of local information, so if you’re looking to try a new species or location, your best bet is to start with them. Think of them like a hiking guide, you don’t head out onto a new trail without first asking an expert.
Many work in concert to offer accommodations, which makes the prospect of traveling around New Brunswick to fish, even more exciting.
How and where can I get a license for fishing?
The Department of Natural Resources issues a Fish & Wildlife license which can be acquired here, but some local retailers and bait shops offer them as well. Call beforehand to be sure.
What’s the best bait to start fishing with?
In the words of an expert: worms and spinners! You’ll get more specific once you feel comfortable and start trying different species.
Ready to cast a line? Check out the Department of Natural Resources FAQ page for specific information and regulations related to fishing in New Brunswick. Tight lines!