July 23-26, 2021: Gander River Camping/Fishing Trip (46 Photos)
Mark French and I had been tossing around the idea of converting his large enclosed trailer from simply an Argo hauler to a multipurpose/convertible hunting& fishing camping unit. We had some ideas and Marks carpenter buddy seen it through to fruition by installing three fold down bunks and a fold down table inside the 24' trailer.
The set up is nice and sturdy when in service and everything folds up completely out of the way for loading machines or equipment.
On July 23rd we put the outfit to the test as Mark, Terry and I loaded up our camping and fishing gear and headed out over the highway Friday evening. We were on our way to Jonathan's Pond Campground which would be our base of operations for a few days Salmon fishing on the Gander River.
We had lots of gear as light weight camping was not necessary with a 24' trailer, we were aiming for comfort and convenience. We arrived at the park approximately 10pm and set up camp.
With bunks ready, Terry's outdoor screen tent set up and gear stowed away we were ready for a late supper.
Mark's wife sent us on our way with a Cod Fish Curry and white rice. I set about heating it up on my Coleman Stove which was quick and easy. It was a first for me and absolutely not the last. It was outstanding.
That evening we had a few laughs & beverages under the screen tent while Terry tied up a few flies.
Saturday morning we headed to 1st Pond Bar on the Gander River fairly early. It was approximately a 20 minute drive down the Gander Bay Highway from the Campground followed by a 15 minute hike.
This area is frequented by a lot of fishermen but it's not hard to get a spot. While taking a break from fishing it was great to chat and share stories about a sport we all enjoy. This area was also very clean which was a very pleasant surprise give the number of people passing through.
Although no fish were landed this morning there were dozens and dozens jumping the whole time we were there and we all managed to hook a couple. Water levels are extremely low but fortunately cool enough for the river to remain open.
On the way back out Mark toppled over in the bog, unfortunately Terry and I were too nice to take a pic and instead helped him back to his feet. LoL
We got back to the campground early in the afternoon to grab lunch as we didn't really have breakfast this morning.
On the menu today were Costco burgers and a sidekick pasta dish. My Coleman stove did the indoor cooking this trip, while Mark's propane BBQ handled outside duties.
These fly screens from Canadian Tire did a great job keeping the bugs out. They were simple to install and worked great. When you walk through, magnets on each half automatically rejoin the screen. We had a small one on the man door and a large one on the rear ramp door.
After lunch the skies opened up and it poured, not letting up. That didn't stop Mark & Terry from heading back to 1st pond bar for another crack at the silver bullets. Tagged out for the season, I chose to stay behind to relax and do some meal prep for supper.
On the menu tonight were beautiful prime rib steaks from Halliday's seasoned with Halliday's own steak spice mix. This mix is absolutely amazing, I've been using it for a few years now and really enjoy it.
Steaks BBQ'd to perfection were served with rice and diced mushrooms & onions.
Sunday morning we had a late start but finally got on the road headed towards Glenwood. Along the way we stopped at the fish ladder on the Salmon River tributary for a look. Water levels were almost non existent, and so were the Salmon. Nothing was moving here today.
We continued on down the resource road headed to a spot Terry often fishes on the Gander when he's out this way.
The road was wickedly muddy and slippery but the trusty BFG KO2's on Mark's truck pulled through.
Once again we were skunked for landing fish but it was one of the most beautiful spots visited so far.
That evening we stopped at another popular section of the Gander near the sewage treatment plant in Glenwood. We fished until dark, there were quite a few fish jumping but very few flying.
At dark we headed back to the campground and fired up the BBQ for a quick supper of triple meat burgers and hash browns.
Monday morning was another late start as we got ready and headed west on the TCH to Grand Falls and the mighty Exploits River.
The section we fished was behind the old and now torn down papermill.
It was another beautiful location albeit quite polluted with a lot of garbage strewn about, which is disappointing and something we did not experience anywhere on the Gander River.
We could actually see lots of Salmon resting in the river but none took our flies, partially due to getting on the river at almost 11am under bright skies and warm temps.
That evening while Mark went to the campground to shower Terry and I hit up 1st pond bar for one last kick at the cat. The river was very busy with a lot of people and boats, which was ok as it gave us an opportunity and excuse to explore pools further down river. Once again there were all kinds of fish jumping but very few being hooked by anyone on the river tonight.
Tuesday morning we packed up camp, got all our gear secured and hit the highway for home. All in all it was a great trip. The camping worked out great, we had all the creature comforts we needed and then some. Earlier starts to the day would certainly help improve the odds fishing, as would better water levels which is something the river drastically needs. Already looking forward to the next adventure!
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith