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There are more than 180 fishing pools along the Grand Cascapedia and each has its own unique history. Imagine, if you can, the numerous anglers who have fished in each of these picturesque locations as they pursued their great love for salmon fishing. Here are some of their stories:
This pool was renamed in honour of William Butts Mershon (1856-1943) who spent more than 50 years fishing on the Grand Cascapedia. Originally from Saginaw, Michigan, Mershon built Cascapedia Cottage (now known as Horse Island Camp) in 1894 in order to pursue his love of salmon fishing more comfortably. On June 23, 1919 Mershon caught a 46 pound salmon (the largest fish he would ever catch) in the same pool that bore his name. Mershon was so proud of this achievement that he wrote an article detailing his success for the August 1919 issue of The American Angler called “Record Salmon of the Cascapedia”.
This pool was named in honour of Chief Justice Horace Gray (1828-1902). This portion of the river was known for its abundance of salmon and when Gray visited the coast he was assigned this section of the river to fish because he had never caught an Atlantic salmon before. He was successful and caught a 28 pound salmon. As such, he named the pool for himself. Henry Nadeau (1888-1955), a local Cascapedia shop keeper, caught a giant salmon in this pool on June 5, 1920. The monster fish weighed 54 pounds and remains the largest Atlantic salmon ever caught by a Canadian to this day.
This scenic spot was named in honour of Princess Louise Alberta Caroline (1843-1939). The princess and her husband, the Marquis of Lorne, fished on the Cascapedia River many times and both were skilled anglers. Princess Louise proved her skill when she caught a 40 pound salmon in this pool. A wood-cut out, immortalizing this achievement, still hangs above the fireplace at Lorne Cottage to this day (to see this plaque visit our photo gallery). Princess Louise might also have caught a 50 pound salmon, which she reportedly sent back to England as a gift to her mother, Queen Victoria, who had it stuffed, but no concrete evidence of this fish still exists today. Princess Pool, however, has yielded numerous prize catches, including a 47 pound salmon caught by Dr. Samuel J. Mixter on June 18, 1888, a 48 pound salmon caught by Charles B. Barnes on June 17, 1893, and a second 48 pound salmon caught by Mrs. Louis Lapham in 1918.
Big Jack the Sailor
Not all pools have been named for the prize catches they have yielded. Big Jack the Sailor pool was named after a young lad who was the only survivor after a scow-load of lumbermen were wrecked there. This pool, situated along a rough patch of water, was home to a second tragedy when three other young men lost their lives there in 1906. Despite the rough water, however, some large catches have been caught here.
If you are interested in learning more about the history surrounding the Cascapedia River’s fishing holes, please refer to Jean MacWhirter Bujold’s book, entitled The Grand Cascapedia River Pools.