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George Stephen

Studio portrait of Sir George Stephen by Russell & Son in 1897.

George Stephen

The lure of the salmon traverses centuries. Salmon fishing developed into a sport in the United Kingdom and came to Canada with the immigrants who made the country their home or their place of business. Travellers and tourists began to write about the salmon rivers of the province. This in turn attracted men and their fishing rods from Quebec City, Montreal, the United States and the United Kingdom to try their own luck.

The completion of the Intercolonial Railway from Montreal to Halifax in the 1870s made the rivers of eastern Quebec easily accessible. The train line followed the Matapedia River valley, one of the great salmon rivers in the world. Travellers could often see fishermen on the river from their railway carriage windows.

Silver print of Sir George Stephen’s Fishing Camp and the Matapedia river at Causapscal.

Sir George Stephen’s fishing camp, Causapscal, now called “Matamajaw”

George Stephen was among the first to fish the Matapedia for sport, probably at the invitation of his friend, Sandford Fleming, who was the engineer-in-chief for the Intercolonial Railway. Stephen purchased land and fishing rights on the Matapedia River and built a fishing camp at Causapscal. He baptised it Les Fourches (or The Forks), as the camp was perched above the fork where the Causapscal River flows into the Matapedia. The building, re-baptised Matamajaw, is today a National Historic Site.

The Geroge Stephen's Fishing Book lists the fish caught in the Matapedia and Metis River.

George Stephen’s fishing book