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Quebec - Fur, Fin and Feather

( Originally Published 1907 )


WHEN the area of Quebec's wilderness is stated at five hundred and fifteen thousand square miles, the mind fails to grasp the idea of a vastness merely stated in figures ; but were I to add that this enormous wild land of rivers, lakes, and forest is ten times larger than the great state of New York, some faint conception of its size is obtained. The gateways into this empire of fish and game are strung along the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers for twelve hundred miles, and to attempt, in the space of a chapter, to particularize the merits of each and every one of the hundreds of localities now accessible to the sportsman, would be absolutely impossible. I can only, in the briefest way, call attention to some of those districts lying upon the border land that afford the greatest measure of sport with the minimum effort to reach them.

Under the able direction of the Honorable Jean Prevost, Commissioner of Colonization, Mines and Fisheries for the Province of Quebec, a vast area of the public domain is now set aside for the exclusive benefit of the angler-sportsman. The formation of fish and game clubs has been encouraged by granting them leases of territory at a mere nominal figure. The individual has also been cared for by the issuing of licenses to non-residents, that entitle them to the privileges of hunting and fishing over all the unleased portion of the Crown lands, a very kingly territory in extent. And more than this has been done for him ; the Laurentide National Game Park has been established by the Government, and within this domain the American sportsman is provided with guides, canoes and camp outfits by the guardians in charge, and every effort made to insure his comfort and provide him good sport. In another chapter of this book will be found a description of the park and the laws governing it.

If leaseholds are desired by individuals or clubs for fishing or hunting privileges, the Department of Lands and Fisheries at Quebec is prepared to furnish all information.

QUEBEC DISTRICT,—By rail or by buckboard within a few hours from Quebec city, the foothills of the Laurentians are reached and the limit of settlement passed. Hundreds of lakes, all teeming with trout, everywhere abound, and several rivers, notable for the size of the brook trout which have been taken from their waters, are open to the visiting angler. Lake St. Charles, Lake Beauport, Lake St. Joseph, are among the best known and most accessible, but within the limits of the parishes of Valcartier and Stoneham are numbers of smaller lakes affording immense sport. The two rivers, the Jacques-Cartier and the Montmorenci, are famed in angling literature. The upper portion of the former river is within the Laurentide Park limits. Guides for any of these waters may be obtained by addressing H. Ross, Indian Lorette, Province of Quebec.

Within thirty miles from Quebec, the Quebec and Lake St. John Railway enters the wilderness, and for the next one hundred and sixty miles, or until Roberval, at Lake St. John, is reached, the stations are but the camps of sportsmen beside brawling rivers or forest-girt lakes. Lake Edward, one hundred miles from Quebec, is one of the most noted waters in the Province for large brook trout, specimens of four to six pounds are not uncommon. The lake is twenty miles long, and its islands are numberless. There is an excellent little hotel on the border of the lake, under the management of Mr. Robt. Rowley,who provides guides, boats and camp outfits to visiting anglers. Lakes Batiscan, Kiskisink, Bouchette, des Commissionaires,. are under lease to American fishing clubs, but the rivers Batiscan, Pierre, St. Anne, and numberless unnamed lakes along the line of the railway are open to the individual visiting sportsman. Caribou are abundant throughout this section.


Two hundred miles north of the city of Quebec, by the Quebec and Lake St. John Railway, lies the celebrated lake of this name, a great inland sea of fresh water, famed for its ouananiche fishing, both in the lake itself, the Grand Discharge, and the rivers emptying into the lake. Of these rivers some of them are of great length, and all lead into a wilderness abounding in game and fish, The Mistassini, Peribonca, Ashuapmouchouan, Ouiatchouan and Metabetchouan, have all been explored in recent years by visiting sportsmen accompanied by Indian guides from the Pointe-Bleue Reservation at Lake St. John. The steamer which plies the lake in connection with the Roberval Hotel will drop the sportsman, his guides and impedimenta at any point desired on the lake shore. Moose and Caribou are abundant through-out this section, and every stream and lake will yield famous trout fishing.

ST MAURICE RIVER DISTRICT.—This important river emptying into the St. Lawrence at the town of Three Rivers, between Quebec and Montreal, is some four hundred miles in length, and receives as tributaries an immense number of rivers, all abounding in fish of the coarse kinds. The smaller streams and the lakes, however, all contain the brook trout, and excellent sport with rod and rifle is to be had. Caribou are very plentiful, and moose fairly so. For a long canoeing trip, the St. Maurice offers special advantages. Guides and canoes may be secured at Grand Piles, by ad-dressing Bazile Larivee, himself one of the famous guides in this section. The Shawenegan and Laurentian clubs are both situated in this district.

THE OTTAWA COUNTRY.--This region of vast rivers and great lakes, that lead into a wilderness whose area is greater than all the eastern and middle states combined, is a veritable sportsman's paradise. Here he may canoe for months always in new waters, and fish and hunt until satiated with the magnificent sport everywhere afforded. Moose, caribou and red deer roam the woods in countless thousands. The waters teem with wild-fowl, trout, black bass and every other known variety of fresh-water fishes. Exploration may be indulged in, and interesting discoveries made, for thousands of miles of this territory are virtually unexplored. The Gatineau River Valley Railway, which connects with the Canadian Pacific Railway at Ottawa, starting from Hull, directly opposite the city of Ottawa, carries the sportsman for two hundred and fifty miles into this territory. Any one of the stations on this road is a good starting point for a short or long trip into the wilderness. The officials of the road will put sportsmen in the way of obtaining guides, canoes and outfits, and lend their advice as to what routes are the best to follow for the spot desired. A considerable number of leases of lakes have been made in this district to clubs and individuals, and the Department of Lands, Forests and Fisheries is prepared to further extend the number upon very reasonable terms. In the "Sportsman's Companion," issued by the Department of Lands, Forests and Fisheries, a list is given of the various waters, along the line of this railway, open to the visiting angler.

COUNTY OF PONTIAC.—There is room enough, in this county, to make at least four of the eastern states. Upon its western border is the great Lake Temiscamingue, a hundred or more miles in length. Thousands of smaller lakes dot its surface, and many rivers serve as arteries into this wilderness. Trout or black bass are found in all the waters. Moose and red deer are exceedingly numerous in every section of this district. The Canadian Pacific Railway runs along the borders of the county, and the Pontiac Pacific Junction Railway skirts a small portion of it. At any of the stations on these two roads, in the vicinity of fishing waters, or the best hunting districts, good accommodation and guides may be obtained. Lakes Kippewa, des Quinze, Expanse, Great Victoria, Grand, Kekabonga, Allumette and Chichester are among the great waterways in this region, as is the Mattawa River, one of the important tributaries of the Ottawa, by following which to its source, the head waters of the rivers flowing into James Bay, within the Hudson Bay country, are reached.

LAKE MEGANTIC DISTRICT.—This section of the province bordering on the state of Maine is becoming widely known among the American sportsmen for the excellent hunting and fishing to be obtained. Moose and red deer are numerous, and in the many lakes and streams trout are abundant. At Megantic, D. Ball and at Garthby, A. Bouchard, are recommended as guides.

THE TEMISCOUATA COUNTRY.—This section is reached over the Temiscouata Railway from Riviere-du-Loup, or the Intercolonial Railway from Quebec. Lake Temiscouata is some twenty-eight miles long, and affords good lake trout fishing. In the smaller lakes adjacent, splendid brook trout fishing may be obtained. At Notre-Dame-du-Lac, there are two inns for sportsmen, kept by Mr. Cloutier and Mme Bartes, where guides and canoes are to be had. From this point, excursions may be made to the Touladi River and the Squatteck Lakes, where good moose hunting and trout fishing may be had.

THE GASPE PENINSULA.—Within this district are some of the most famous salmon rivers in the Dominion of Canada. The Restigouche, Grand River, Metapedia, Cascapedia and Bonaventure afford the finest salmon fishing in the world. The Barrachois is a free river, and is noted for its sea trout. In the interior are many fine lakes which are free to the public. Moose and caribou are fairly numerous. All this section of country is accessible by the Intercolonial and the Baie des Chaleurs railways.


All the rivers below the Saguenay are reached by steamer from Quebec, leaving about once every ten days. There are a large number of salmon rivers which, however, are under lease, but there are others noted for their magnificent trout and ouananiche fishing which are free to visiting anglers.


This is one of the greatest forest and game preserves in the world. The Provincial Govern-ment has set aside over two thousand five hundred square miles of the public lands, for the propagation and perpetuation of the species of game indigenous to the country. The management of the park is under the direction of the Commissioner of Colonization, Mines and Fisheries, the Honor-able Jean Prevost.

The southerly boundary of the park reaches down to within twenty-five miles of the city of Quebec; that to the north is the Chicoutimi Grande Ligne; to the west, the River Batiscan and the Lake St. John Railway; to the east, the River Saguenay. The more precise boundary will be found in the' extracts from the act creating the park.

The more important rivers taking their source from lakes within the park, are the Jacques Cartier, St. Anne, Tourilli, Metabetchouan, Upikanba, Boisvert, Mars, Murray and the Montmorenci. The great divide, from which these waters flow to the four cardinal points of the compass, is literally peppered with lakes big and little, in chains of unknown length, where one may canoe for days at a stretch, and fish until the arm drops helpless. If the excursion is in autumn, when the forest-clad shores are flaming in gorgeous crimsons, the rifle will alternate with the rod, and a caribou or moose is likely to gladden the heart of him who seeks.

The southwest, west, northwest and north edges of the park have been leased to fish and game clubs as a greater measure of protection for the fish and game within the park. These organizations are all directly interested in the increase of fish and game. They are jealous guardians of their own leaseholds, and this means a cordon of keen watchfulness around the park, so that poaching or killing of game out of season is rendered almost impossible.

The whole of the unleased territory within the park, some fifteen hundred square miles, is open to the American or Canadian sportsman, subject only to such reasonable regulations as every true lover of sport is only too ready to subscribe to. The most readily accessible section of the park to the visiting sportsman, not a member of some game club, is that known as the Jacques-Cartier River portion. It is reached by wagon road from Quebec, and is distant twenty-five miles to Bayards, a capitally managed little hotel for visiting sportsmen. One of the park guardians, resides here, and one of his duties is to supply sports-men, who present themselves with the necessary permit from Mr. Caron, the park superintendent, with guides, canoes, tents and camp kits. The charges for guides and outfits are the most reasonable. Permits, and any other information, and arrangements for a fishing or hunting trip within the park may be had by addressing Mr. Caron, care Department of Colonization, Mines and Fisheries, Quebec, province of Quebec, Canada.

Lakes Jacques Cartier, which is likely to be the ultima Thule of a fishing or hunting excursion, is the source of the river of that name, and is famous for the size of the brook trout that inhabit its waters. John Burroughs, than whom no name is more familiar to American readers, thus records his impressions of Lake Jacques Cartier, in the pages of "The Century Magazine." :

"We made an excursion from Little Lake Jacques Cartier to the Great Lake, poling up from the lesser lake in the rude box boat, and presently saw the arms of the wilderness opened and the long deep blue expanse in their embrace. We rested and gladdened our eyes with the singularly beautiful prospect. It was like a section of the Hudson below the highlands, except that these waters were bluer, and these shores darker. We found such pleasure in simply gazing upon the scene, that our rods were quite neglected. We did some casting after a while, and the trout responded so freely that `disgust of trout' was soon upon us."

SALMON.—Every tributary of the St. Lawrence, both on the north and south shores below Quebec, and all the rivers emptying into the Bay of Chaleurs, unless impeded at or near their mouths by impassable falls, are resorted to by the salmon. Many of these rivers enjoy an international reputation for the magnificent sport they yield, and some noted clubs own or lease rivers in the province.

There are still some unleased rivers, and any in-formation regarding them will be furnished on application to Mr. Caron, the superintendent of Game and Fisheries, Quebec.

OUANANICHE. — This gamy and magnificent member of the salmon family is an inhabitant of Lake St. John, its tributary waters and the Grand Discharge.

From May until the fifteenth of September, it affords a sport that is only equalled by that of salmon fishing. Lake St. John, the Grand Discharge, and many of the tributary waters, are open waters for all corners. The Quebec and Lake St. John Railway will land the visiting anglers at Roberval, on the shore of the lake. From thence he has the choice of many waters within accessible distance by the steamer that plies on the lake.

BROOK TROUT.—There are but few rivers or lakes in the province that do not contain this beautiful fish, from the gamy little fellow of a pound or under to the monsters that are found in the larger lakes, ranging up to nine and ten pounds. It is no exaggeration to say that most of the rivers and lakes, but slightly removed from civilization, fairly teem with the brook trout.

LARGE GREY TROUT, LUNGE, TOULADI, LAND-LOCKED SALMON.—Ill the larger lake waters of the province, this fish is abundant, and in many lakes grows to an immense size. The writer has a stuffed specimen in his possession that weighed forty-five pounds when taken from the water. It rarely rises to a fly, but is taken with troll or live minnow.

BLACK BASS.—Of wide distribution in the province. Found in various lakes, and gives good sport there.

MASKINONGE, MASCALONGE.— This member of the pike family is an inhabitant of the rivers and lakes in the western portion of the Province, but it is also found in some of the large lakes in the eastern section.

PICKEREL (DORE) AND PIKE.—Both these fish are found in abundance in the large lakes and rivers in many sections of the province.

Moose.—In the region of the Upper Ottawa, they are very numerous, but they are pretty well distributed throughout the entire Province. Several have been killed within twenty miles of Quebec city, within the past year. In the Laurentide Park they are increasing in number with great rapidity. The short open season in which they may be shot, and the limitation as to the number that may be killed, are largely responsible for this.

CARIBOU.—This beautiful specimen of the Cervide roams the entire province, throughout the woodland districts, in immense numbers. It affords the most famous sport, and a caribou head with its beautiful antlers is a trophy of which any sportsman may well be proud.

RED DEER.—Very numerous in the Chaudiere River and Lake Megantic districts, also in all parts of the Ottawa country. Strange to say, it is finding its way across the St. Lawrence River and making its habitat among the mountains north of Quebec, and seems likely to become abundant in this section.

BEAVER.—The Government has wisely prohibited the killing or capture of the beaver for a period of years. It is in consequence increasing rapidly in many sections, notably within the limits of the Laurentide Park. The writer, on his angling trips, this past year or two, has found several families of these interesting animals domiciled in the lakes he has fished. They were an unfailing source of interest.

OTTER.—All the rivers in the province are more or less frequented by the otter, which is very destructive to the fish, but, as its fur is exceedingly valuable, its capture is prohibited during part of the year.

WOLVERINE.- Known to the Indians as the carcajou or Indian devil, is not unlike a small bear in appearance, with all the latter's instinct for destructiveness, hence its evil Indian name. More or less abundant throughout the Province.

LYNX.---Wherever the hare is abundant, the lynx is sure to be found, but in time of stress the lynx does not hesitate to attack a caribou. Springing upon the latter, it clings to the foreshoulders, and continues to gnaw away at the caribou's throat until the latter drops from loss of blood.

BEAR.—The black bear ranges the greater portion of the Province, and in many sections it is a positive nuisance to the settlers on the border-land of the wilderness. There are some restrictions as to how or when it may be destroyed, close season being from July 1st to August 20th.

MINK, MARTEN, MUSK-RAT.—FOUnd in all parts of the Province.

WOODCOCK AND ENGLISH SNIPE.—The beaches of the St. Lawrence River in some sections are noted as famous snipe ground. Chateau-Richer, below Quebec, is among them. The woodcock covers are on the uplands in the rear.

WILD-FOWL. --Every lake and river in the Province is the haunt and breeding ground of a great variety of wild-fowl. In the autumn, when the young birds are fully grown, capital sport is to be had.

RUFFED GROUSE OR PARTRIDGE, AND SPRUCE PARTRIDGE. -Both of these fine game birds are found in all the wooded sections of the Province, and in many localities are very abundant. In various parts of the northern sections of the Province, the Lake St. John country, the ptarmigan becomes abundant in winter.


Settle in advance when you purpose going, and have your guides engaged, and such other preparations made as are necessary for the trip you con-template. Leave nothing to the chance of arranging upon your arrival at the new point of departure. Remember that in the backwoods mistakes and omissions are not easily repaired, and bitter is the disappointment of the man who finds, when too late to repair the mischief, that some important thing is wanting to make his outing a success.

If the trip decided upon is to include much river work, or portaging from lake to lake, two guides and a canoe to each member of the party are necessary. Canoes are usually furnished by the guide, but it is as well to make sure of this in advance. The wages of guides, in the province of Quebec, are from one dollar and twenty-five cents, to one dollar and a half per diem, and found in provisions. An extra charge of fifty cents a day for the use of a canoe is usually made. If you do not speak French, make sure that your guides speak some English, This is important if you would consult your comfort.


CLOTHING.-TWO suits of light woolen underwear, two woolen outer shirts or sweaters, two woolen suits, four pairs woolen socks, two pairs stout waterproof shoes, one pair moose moccasins for sleeping in, two wool caps, one rubber coat, one dozen handkerchiefs, one linen head helmet for flies and mosquitoes, one pair linen gauntlets, one small Palmer mosquito canopy, one pair coarse blankets, one rubber blanket, one heavy canvas kit bag to hold all the above articles.

OTHER NECESSARIES.—Two fly rods at least, two reels, fly-book, four dozen trout flies (buy these flies in Canada to be sure you are right), one dozen snelled hooks, half a dozen gut leaders, two common linen fish lines for the men, one landing net (unmounted), fish scales, one good cotton rope at least thirty feet long, jack-knife, cork-screw, one pound of mixed wire nails, small bush axe, leather belt, one flat file, one strong pair of tweezers, can opener, needles, thread, buttons, pins, brush and comb, small looking-glass, fly oil, Carter's Little Liver Pills, sticking plaster, band-ages, cholera mixture, pipes, pocket compass, two towels, castile soap, small scissors, note-book and pencil, match box, copper wire, piece of shoe-maker's wax, revolver, cartridges, small whet-stone, vaseline, a cheap silver watch, a map.

TENTS AND EQUIPMENTS.—Tent size to be determined by number of the party. The guides will provide their own shelter if there are four or more of them. In summer, an open fire near tent door is quite sufficient for heat. All cotton tents should be steeped in a solution of sugar of lead and alum before using, to prevent the possibility of their taking fire. A camp kit, as it is called, is necessary. The size of this must be determined also by size of party. It contains every-thing necessary in pots, pans, plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc. Three crash kitchen towels.

ESTIMATE OF PROVISIONS AND OTHER SUPPLIES FOR ONE MAN FOR ONE WEEK.-Three pounds salt pork, three pounds ham, six pounds bread, two pounds flour, one-half pound salt, one-half pound black tea, two pounds sugar, one-quarter pound Reindeer Prepared Coffee, one pound and a half butter, one eighth pound Royal Baking Powder, one-eighth pound soap, two boxes matches, two paraffine candles.

ADDITIONAL.—Canned meats, potatoes, onions, beans, marmalade, prunes, lemons, whiskey— in quantities to suit. To transport these provisions properly, one dozen cotton drill bags of sizes varying from eight by twelve to eighteen by twenty-four inches, are necessary, and a strong canvas bag to hold them all.

NOTES.—If the trip is to be an autumn one, in addition to the foregoing articles enumerated will be a shot gun for partridges and ducks, a rifle for caribou and moose, a heavy pea-jacket and warm gloves.

Small bills and loose silver necessary at all times.

There are excellent sportsmen's outfitting establishments in Montreal, and in Quebec there is J. P. Bertrand, where every article needed can be supplied.

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