The À Mars River offers delectably fresh and swift waters to his majesty, the Atlantic salmon. Radiant as sunshine, this beautiful stream runs north over a tumultuous 66 miles obstacle course, extending from its headwaters in the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve to Ha Ha Bay in the magnificent Saguenay Fjord. Salmon fishing on this river has had a singular past. The Price Brothers Company operated a successful private lodge on its banks between 1894 and 1935, but salmon fishing just about disappeared thereafter as a result of human intervention. In 1930, a dam was built at the Chutes de la passe des murailles (barrier fish-pass falls) 8 miles upstream from the river mouth, which enabled log rafting for more than 30 years. It took years of infrastructure development (including a fish-pass at miles 1.67) and a determined stocking program to begin to restore the river to its former potential. A ZEC was created in 1986, but successful angling did not resume until 1992. Then, in 1996, disaster struck. Torrential rains hit the region in July of that year, destroying everything in their wake and completely transforming the riverbed. In 1998, local volunteers and authorities rebuilt everything, including a new fish-pass at miles 7.5. Since then, salmon have resumed their ancestral runs upstream, fulfilling the dreams of yearning anglers.
The Association des pêcheurs sportifs de la rivière à Mars, created in 1983, oversees the management of fishing rights on the first 10 kilometers of ZEC-controlled waters. The next 9 miles are under private ownership, followed by another section of ZEC-controlled waters spread out over the next 26 miles. Two sectors limit the number of rods, comprised of pool number 12 in sector 2 and pools 39 to 42 in sector 5. The other sectors provide unlimited access and are comprised of sector 1 (pools 1-11), sector 4 (pools 13-28) and the upstream reaches (pools 44 to 92). An observation area allows onlookers to observe the salmon ascending the river by way of the fish-pass.
Other than the Atlantic salmon, there are seven (7) main species of fish found in the À Mars River: brook charr, longnose dace, longnose sucker, white sucker, American eel, threespine stickleback, and pearl dace.