The Malbaie River located in Charlevoix region empties into the St Lawrence River at the scenic town of La Malbaie. La Malbaie River is one of Charlevoix’s great treasures. Its source is Malbaie Lake, high in the Laurentian Massif.
The river is over 161 kilometres long, winding its way through the deep and narrow defiles of a glaciated valley flowing past towering walls reaching up to 820 metres in height. It runs through the municipalities of Saint-Aime-des-Lacs and Clermont before joining the St-Lawrence River at the scenic town of La Malbaie.
The river flows through a steep valley known as Les Hautes Gorges (High Gorges). A forest of sugar maples and American elms which has remained largely undisturbed for hundreds of years is found in the gorge and the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park has been formed here.
The park is home to Eastern Canada's tallest rock-faced cliffs. Designated a national park of Québec in 2000, the 233-km² Hautes-Gorges is the centerpiece of the UNESCO Charlevoix biosphere reserve. On its’ route the river also flows through the Grands-Jardins Park. Up to 1985, the Malbaie River was used to transport logs downstream, thus log driving contributed to the decline of Salmon fishing, but today the river provides spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has initiated a project to protect this area. In fact, renowned for its stunning panoramic views, La Malbaie River was rediscovered as a salmon fishing river in the 1998. Today, more than twenty salmon pools have been identified between Clermont and La Malbaie. Five in particular have very strong fishing potential and are consequently controlled fishing zones.
Fishermen can enjoy fly fishing for Atlantic salmon from the Abitibi Bowater factory dam to a point 10 km downstream from the dam. Fishing pools can be accessed from Clermont and La Malbaie communities by walking trails, ford crossing or rowboat. There is another Malbaie River in Quebec, which flows in the Gaspe Peninsula and empties into Malbaie Bay on the Gulf of St Lawrence.
The salt marshes found there are home to the Yellow Rail and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow and it’s also a habitat of Atlantic salmon.
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