To learn more about fishing on the Margaree River
To the Mi’kmaq, “Weekuch” was both a source of food and a trade route. For the settlers and visitors who have come to Margaree in recent centuries, the river has maintained a critical importance.
Due to its immense value - both in nature and recreation - the Margaree-Lake Ainslie System was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 1998. The Margaree-Lake Ainslie System is 120km long and drains a watershed of about 1200 km², making it one of Nova Scotia’s largest watersheds.
The Southwest branch of the river originates at Lake Ainslie, the largest freshwater lake in Nova Scotia, and travels to Margaree Forks, where it joins the Northeast branch of the river, which has its origins in the Cape Breton highlands. Together, these branches travel to the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Margaree Harbour.
The cold, clear river is home to Atlantic salmon, gaspereau, and sea trout. From June to October, fly fishers from around the world come to Margaree in hopes of catching a large, adult salmon. Fishing is highly regulated today and is restricted to fly fishing with barbless hooks. Since its establishment in 1982, the Margaree Salmon Association
has acted as the voice for salmon conservation in Margaree.
The Margaree also supports several rare birds and mammals, including bald eagles, osprey and the Gaspé shrew. Plant life within the watershed is also diverse, with stands of maple-elm forest, an alkaline bog and old growth forests that shelter several rare plants. Land ownership within the watershed is both private and public.
Both residents and visitors enjoy the recreational opportunities that the river offers, including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, tubing, swimming and more. The annual Anything That Floats race is a local tradition that invites participants to float down the river on…anything!
The Margaree-Lake Ainslie Canadian Heritage River Partnership Strategy serves as the management document for the Margaree-Lake Ainslie Heritage River and is being implemented by the Margaree-Lake Ainslie Canadian Heritage River Society, in cooperation with the Nova Scotia Environment and Labour.