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Deirdre Green introducing a new generation to the wonders of wild Atlantic salmon. Photo Mitchell Roberts. ASF

Canadian’s all in with vaccination passport. COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine, and borders

August 9, 2021: Border changes:

Fully vaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed to enter Canada for discretionary travel on the following dates if they meet specific criteria:

August 9: American citizens and permanent residents of the United States, currently residing in and arriving from the United States, and who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

September 7 (intended start date): All other foreign nationals who qualify for the fully vaccinated traveller exemption

NOTE: Travellers are no longer required to book a 3-night hotel stopover when entering Canada.

Open Borders For Salmon Rivers

Brad Burns was one of the first Mainers to cross into New Brunswick and head for the Miramichi when the Canada/U.S. border was opened to fully vaccinated Americans. Brad Burns is well known as both a writer and as a Miramichi Atlantic salmon angler and camp owner, living in Falmouth, ME. After nearly 1 1/2 years, the international border, was opened at midnight Monday, EST. And he was right there at the Houlton/Woodstock crossing at the end of I-95.

By Brad Burns / Compiled by Tom Moffatt -Atlantic Salmon Federation / August 9, 2021

We didn’t know what the lineup might be like, so we were there a couple of hours early, but then had to wait. We had no idea what to expect.

We had downloaded and filled out the ARRIVECAN app, and I must say it was pretty slick. You can fill it out either on a computer or a phone, but in many ways using the phone was better. It does things like get you to take and place a scan of your passport – and the phone version guides you to exactly the right size to fit in the correct space in the template.

Besides having to be fully vaccinated for at least two weeks, the requirements include your having a negative Covid-19 test within the previous 72 hours. Down in the Portland, ME area the local hospital is impossible for that, but fortunately there is a clinic, one of a chain called “Convenient MD”. They allow both appointments or walk-in. For $175 they give you an approved Covid-19 test, and guarantee the results within 48 hours. In my case they came back 24 hours after the test.

As the time for the border crossing approached, we were somewhere around the eighth vehicle from the front, so that wasn’t too bad. 

The border agent was friendly, and the whole process took about 12 minutes at this border crossing. I find Woodstock/Houlton is always the most efficient. One reason the system was so fast is that all the information was already in the officer’s computer, thanks to the ArriveCan app.

He did remark that it would have been nice on this first re-opening to have a second lane open, but still, it all went very smoothly.

After the border, it was clear driving over to the TransCanada Highway, down through Fredericton and up towards Blackville, and back into salmon country.

NOTE: Brad Burns also noted there were a few fish, but not great numbers at the moment. He points out it is normal in this summer heat for them to go from cold water area to cold water area, and do it pretty quietly.

Editorial Comment:

We have not heard of any issues with the system of ArriveCan and border entry. It has been noted that the St. Stephen entry points have been slower. One friend crossing into Canada to visit their lakeside home for the first time in 16 months said they crossed at the “third bridge”, because if they were randomly pulled over for a crossing point Covid-19 test, it would easily be done on site.

Certainly it is a system too cumbersome for most day-trippers, with the requirement for a negative Covid-19 test in the 72 hours prior to entry. In the case of Brad Burns it was $175, and we would certainly like to know what the experience, and cost, for others has been.

Adult Atlantic Salmon [Salmo salar] by Thom Glace, award winning watercolorist, dedicated fly fisher, and conservationist.

While Delta Variant cases have been increasing in both the U.S. and Canada, so far that increase in Atlantic Canada has been low

For salmon anglers there is one other “bump” on the horizon for those travelling into Quebec. The QC government is instituting a Covid Passport system that will go into effect on 1 Sept. But no one has wrapped their mind around how it would impact U.S. or other foreign visitors. The QC Covid Passport is meant to control the access to restaurants and such. How this might affect fishing lodges is anyone’s guess. While details are still fuzzy, it appears at this point the use of it is somewhat discretionary, and it doesn’t apply to buying groceries or wine. The passport is being beta-tested right now in Montreal and Quebec City.

Join the Atlantic Salmon Federation and enjoy being in the know about the most famous game fish in all of angling . . .


Author Skip

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