Fisheries and Land Resources

Activities - Bay du Nord River

The Bay du Nord Heritage River is an excellent place for outdoor recreational activities including the following:


There are no developed hiking trails along the Bay du Nord, but old fishing trails along the river provide access to a number of the canoe routes.

As well, the areas around Smokey Falls and the abandoned community of Bay du Nord can both be explored on foot.

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For expert canoeists and kayakers, the Bay du Nord Heritage River offers a diverse and challenging experience.

The most popular tour is a 100-km, five- to seven-day trip, beginning at Kepenkeck Lake. This tour takes you in a southward direction through several types of riverscapes, and ends at Pool's Cove in Fortune Bay, on Newfoundland's south coast.

The divisions of the trip include:

  • Kepenkeck Lake to the inflow of Kaegudeck Lake - about 26 km, passing through a chain of relatively small lakes
  • Kaegudeck Lake to Medonnegonix Lake - about 20 km through a group of large lakes, with several portages
  • Medonnegonix to Smokey Falls - 30 km of broken channel with numerous rapids and waterfalls-this stretch and the next one are the most challenging sections of the river
  • Smokey Falls to Bay du Nord village - about 17 km, a deeply incised channel with lengthy rapids and turbulent waters
  • Bay du Nord to the sea - from this abandoned village the channel opens out to the magnificent vistas of Fortune Bay

Throughout the system, portages are generally short. When water levels are high (early spring), the lower Bay du Nord offers some Class IV or greater rapid sequences, and good kayaking opportunities.

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Wilderness Camping

Potential wilderness campsites are spread throughout the river system--there are more than a dozen between Smokey Falls and the mouth of the river, for example.

In the wilderness reserve, camping in one location is restricted to no more than 10 days and an entry permit is required.

Please do not litter, and pack out everything you bring in, including cans, glass, and other refuse. In some seasons, open fires are not permitted. Contact your local office of the Department of Natural Resources to determine if open fires are permitted during your visit.

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Bird and Wildlife Watching

Binoculars are an excellent addition to the pack when travelling in the Bay du Nord Heritage River Corridor.

Species of birds you may see include Canada goose, common loon, northern harrier, belted kingfisher, common snipe, and rough-legged hawk. You'll also find willow ptarmigan.

The forested areas are home to northern waterthrush and pine grosbeak. Elsewhere, keep an eye out for osprey, common terns, blue jays, owls, and songbirds.

In addition to the large mammals--caribou, moose, and black bear--wildlife includes all the animals common to the Island: lynx, fox, snowshoe hare, beaver, muskrat, otter, mink, weasel, red squirrel, shrew, meadow vole, and brown bat.

At about 15,000 animals, the Middle Ridge caribou herd is the largest woodland caribou herd on the Island of Newfoundland. Woodland caribou inhabit the barrens and coniferous forests.

In the summer, the majority of the herd can be found more to the south-they seek the cool breezes of the coast.

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Hunting and Trapping

It is possible to hunt large and small game in the Bay du Nord Heritage River Corridor--commonly hunted species include caribou, moose, snowshoe hare, and ptarmigan (known locally as partridge).

Residents and non-residents of the province can participate in this activity if, in addition to holding an entry permit for the reserve, they hold a valid hunting licence--both of which are carried while in the Corridor--abide by provincial and federal legislation, and only hunt species for which an open season has been declared. Note that the use of ATVs for game retrieval is not allowed in the wilderness reserve.

Licensed trappers can trap mammals in the Corridor, including beaver, lynx, mink, muskrat, otter, red squirrel, fox, and weasel.

Snowmobiling is not permitted in the caribou winter range from December 15 to March 15. See the Bay du Nord Wilderness Reserve User's Guide for a map of the winter range of the caribou herd.

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The Bay du Nord River is a scheduled Atlantic salmon river. Smokey Falls marks the limit of freshwater habitat for the sea salmon; above the falls, landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing is good.

In addition to an entry permit (not required in the Lower River Zone), residents must have a valid salmon licence, available at many local sport shops and convenience stores.

In addition to an entry permit, non-residents of the province require a licence to fish in any inland waters; they also must be accompanied by a licensed guide when fishing for salmon in the reserve. For a list of licensed guides, visit the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador Hunting and Fishing site. opens new window

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