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The river is very well known as an important Atlantic salmon sport fishery. This fishery is highly regulated and restricted to fly fishing only. A daily permit is required to be purchased in addition to the Quebec provincial fishing license. All rules are strictly enforced to ensure the conservation and protection of this special salmon resource. Salmon permits can be obtained through the ZEC office in Matane. The river runs through a very scenic valley with a covered bridge, small farms and quaint villages on a section of Route 132.
There are over 70 named salmon pools on the river, and it is very popular destination during the summer months. One of the most famous salmon wet flies invented here, and still used locally as well as throughout the Gaspe region, is the Tiger Ghost. The Matane Special, also originally tied by the legendary George Maul of the village of St. Rene du Matane, halfway up the river, is a popular dry fly fished here as well.
Much of the upper river and the headwaters are included in a well-protected provincial reserve. The Matane River provides an important spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon. There is a fish ladder at the Mathieu-D'Amours dam in city of Matane with an observation centre where migrating salmon can be viewed.
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