The Mitis River
The 48-kilometre-long Mitis River begins at an elevation of 305 metres in the Notre Dame Mountains, and flows into the St. Lawrence Estuary in the village of Métis-sur-Mer. The Mitis River was designated a salmon river in 1966, although it was not regularly fished for salmon until 1977. Members of the community took the first steps toward taking over management of fishing in the Mitis River in 1979, but it was not until 1993 that the river became a Salmon ZEC under the management of Corporation de Gestion de la Pêche Sportive de la Rivière Mitis (CGPSRM), a nonprofit organization for salmon enhancement and protection.
- 48 km
- Sectors and pools
- 33 pools in 2 limited-access sectors
- Type of fishing allowed
- mainly wade fishing
- Salmon fishing season
- June 15th to September 30th
- Daily salmon catch limit per angler
- 2 small salmon less than 63 centimeters
Salmon fishing on the Mitis River
The Mitis River flows from Mitis Lake, 305 metres up in the Notre Dame Mountains and winds tortuously for 48 kilometres to its confluence with the St. Lawrence Estuary just past the village of Sainte-Flavie, about 32 kilometres east of Rimouski. Its average flow rate is 35 m3/second and its main tributaries are the Neigette and Mistigougèche.
In 1886, George Stephen, Lord Mount Stephen and founding president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, built the first fishing camp there, which was later transformed by his niece Elsie Reford into the now-famous Reford Gardens. At that time salmon could only make it 4 kilometres up the river before encountering a 35-metre waterfall. Log driving, which ended in 1979, caused further problems, as did two hydroelectric dams, which were equipped with protective systems in 1964, opening up 40 more kilometres of the river as salmon habitat.
The Mitis was opened to salmon fishing in 1977 and in 1993 became a controlled harvest zone (ZEC) run by Corporation de gestion de la pêche sportive de la rivière Mitis (CGPSRM). There are three fishing sectors—one private and two open-access—and a total of 32 pools. Wade fishing is the preferred type. The water is clear, but takes on a slightly rusty colour after heavy rains due to the clayey bottom, which has relatively large rocks and little gravel.
The river’s appeal is enhanced by its accessibility (a road runs alongside it from end to end), its open-access fishing, and its picturesque setting.
- Annual statistics are provided by the Government of Quebec.