Nova Scotia offers some of the finest fresh and salt-water fishing in Atlantic Canada. Most of the species discussed on this page can be seen in photos or drawings on our Fish Gallery page.
Probably our most popular fresh-water species is the Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar). This challenging and very tasty sportfish can be caught from spring to fall at various locations in the Province. Salmon fishing is restricted to fly-fishing only.
Speckled Trout (actually a char) can be caught in just about every stream, river and lake. Sizes of these feisty fighters vary from six inches to six pounds! Light spinning tackle or fly rod are most effective to land these beauties. Live baits are most effective, flies matching local hatches or bait fish imitations can be productive as well.
Rainbow Trout are more restricted to certain locations. They can be fished at u-catch lakes or in various lakes and rivers. Methods are the same as for Speckled Trout.
Giant Striped Bass can be found in many estuaries and Grand Lake. The minimum legal size to keep one of these underwater bulldogs is twenty- eight inches!! you can get fish up to forty or fifty pounds!! Heavy spinning tackle (20 to 50 lb test) is required to land one of these puppies. They will take large plugs or whole mackerel and gaspereau six to twelve inches long.
Many inland lakes contain Smallmouth Bass and some Chain Pickerel. These fish will hit just about anything and can reach sizes up to six pounds.
Lake Trout exist in only a few lakes deep enough with the right forage. Only four lakes I know of. Lakers up to 15 lbs. have been caught using downriggers and plugs.
My personal favorite is the German Brown Trout. These relatives of the Atlantic Salmon are fairly widespread in some of the larger rivers. Average size is from two to five pounds. Some though can reach sizes of ten pounds or more (harder to catch these old experienced guys). Light tackle and live minnows get the best results in both the best sport and the largest fish. Late evening fly fishing with muddlers or mouse imitations can also result in heart stopping action.
Other common but seldom fished species include White Bass, Yellow Perch, American Eels, White Suckers, Landlocked Salmon and some anadromous species such as Shad and Gaspereau.
There are many charter fishing guides province wide who offer deap sea fishing. The most popular big-game fish is the Bluefin Tuna. These giant predators are abundant and reach sizes up to 1500 lbs. Most fish caught are in the 200 to 500 lb. range. Guides provide tackle and bait.
Atlantic Mackerel are particularly abundant species. They travel in schools numbering into the hundreds. They will attack any shiny lure or brightly colored fly. They can be fished from shore from late july to october. Earlier in summer they can be found in deeper waters further offshore.
Atlantic Cod is making a strong comeback having a recreational catch limit of 10 per person per day. They are found not far from shore in various locations around the province. They will hit shiny spoons and jigs as well as cut bait or clams.
Haddock also frequent the same waters as cod but later in the summer and into the fall. Hand lines or medium to heavy rod/reel combo's with baited hooks is the traditional method for recreational fisherman. Both these fish average around 2-3 lbs but can reach 15-20 lbs.
Atlantic Halibut are sometimes caught while fishing in inshore waters. These highly prized food fish are also well known for their no-surrender fighting capability. Heavy rod-reel with a good drag is recommended to bring these to the boat where they must be brought into submission with a harpoon, club or even shotgun! They range in size from 90 to 900 lbs. Fresh bait such as mackerel and squid on strong steel hooks and heavy line are used.
Flounder or Sole are common to shallower water close to shore as well as estuaries. They are one of the best tasting, easily caught fish and are a ball on light tackle. Worms, night crawlers and clams fished on the bottom are good bait on small hooks (they have a small mouth).
Pollock or Boston Blue Fish are very abundant around docks and harbor inlets. Mostly ignored by fisherman they will bite on spoons, spinners, flies, bait, jigs, bubblegum....just about anything they can get in their mouth. Small harbor Pollock are only 1-3 lbs. But you can catch their big brothers in deeper waters up to 35 lbs.
SHARKS!! Thats right. The warming trend of our ocean waters have brought an abundance of Blue Sharks, Mako Sharks, White tips as well as the rare Tiger or White Shark. Charter trips to fish sharks are Province wide.
Bluefish are making an appearance around the south shore and have been caught as far north as Lawrencetown. They have been reaching common sizes of 5-10 lbs. Some odd fish getting up to 30 lbs. There are some locations on the east coast and south shore where they can be caught from shore with spoons and plugs.
Maps are available! Plus links to information and fish recipes!!!!Fish Gallery page.
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