The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Monday, July 4, 2016

Largemouth bass fishing at Mijocama outfitter

For the 14th season in a row, I headed up to Mijocama outfitter for some early summer fishing for big largemouth bass. Giles lake is the main lake where the camp is located, and that is the lake we fished for 5 days. During that period, we landed over 50 largemouth bass between 2-4 lbs, as well as countless smaller ones, and hundreds of sunfish.

As I already have many blog posts regarding the largemouth bass fishing techniques and hot spots at Mijocama, I figured I'll make this post more about the pictures that are worth a thousand words.

15 year old Avi was captain of his own boat for the second season in a row, as Ari is out of the country and didn't come along. I partnered him with his 14 year old brother Levi for most of the trip. They fished hard, and hit my best hot spots on the lake many times, with some very good results.


Levi did well on Avi's boat, less numbers, but he caught the 2 biggest fish of the trip at 4.75 lbs, 3.9 lbs, in the mid 3.5 to 3.75 lbs range.



Eli and Chaya were on my boat for most of the trip, as we prospected for new hot spots on the lake, using our usual worm/bobber rigs. Results were good.


Not to be outdone, my 7 year old Chaya caught her share of big Largemouth bass with some help from dad, although she's getting a lot better at controlling the fish on her own.

We gave up the late evening bite on worms to try landing some on topwater lures. Possibly a bit selfish on my part, but there is nothing better than getting a nice topwater bite on a calm lake at sunset, and I was hoping to share the experience with my kids. Very few topwater lures have the slow / finesse presentation required for Giles lake, and over the year, the Rebel Pop R has outperformed every other lure we've tried. We landed one on the first night, nothing big, but way better than none.

The second and third nights of the trip didn't produce any topwater hits, but the bite turned on late the 4th night, and into the following day, with a few more smaller ones landed.

Finally, on the last evening of the trip they came on strong. Jst in time, as Chaya spent the afternoon practising her casting and retrieving technique for the Pop R.


With a perfect fairy tale ending, the last fish of the trip was a nice largemouth bass just under 3 lbs landed on the Pop R by Chaya. She was ecstatic, grinning from ear to ear and laughing out loud as the fish jumped and thrashed all the way back to the boat putting up a tremendous fight, with Chaya holding on for dear life. She did a surprisingly good job of muscling the big bass on my light topwater rod, and I landed it at boat side for her. As you can see, that bass was agressive, swallowed the entire lure with ease.

Aside from largemouth bass, we landed a few other species. Some small pike, all landed by Eli.


They also landed some giant pumpkinseed sunfish we caught sight fishing:

And last but not least, for the first time in 14 season at Mijocama, we caught a couple bullhead catfish, very rare to see them in Giles lake. They were circling in the shallows in front of our cabin on the last day of the trip, protecting their school of fry, and made for easy picking and lot's of fun on light tackle.


All in all, another great trip to Mijocama outfitter with my kids. There is good reason we look forward to returning every season.

Surprisingly, Mijocama has lot's of available space for both July and August this year, due to some cancellations. For more information on Mijocama or to contact them, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Pre-spawn carp fishing in Canada

The best time to consistently catch carp in good numbers of carp in Canada, are during the pre-spawn and post-spawn periods. After a long winter of remaining inactive with water at near freezing temperature, carp progressively feed on a more regular basis as the water warms. Ideal spawning temperature is in the 18 to 22 C range (65 to 70 F), and on most years, the water will hit that range somewhere near June 15th in the greater Montreal and surround regions.

During the spawn, carp have better things on their tiny brain's agenda than food, so they don't feed much. Accordingly, they need to feed well before and after, and timing that period can lead to some amazing results.

Carp spawn in shallow water, mainly warmer bays and shallow flats. During this period, one can see them swirling and splashing around the surface, especially near weed beds. Once these areas are identified, it becomes a simple game of following the water temperature until it nears the magic numbers, and fishing it at the right time.

During this period, fish are aggressive, and will hit a variety of bait. In areas with smaller concentrations of carp, feeding them a lot of chum will get them focused on your spot. In areas where they are staging in huge numbers, I prefer to skip the baiting process and just fire out a small mix of boilies once my bait is in place. Carp are extremely sensitive to their environments, and cue in to most presentations almost immediately. If the feed is on at that given moment, I'll usually get hit within 5 to 10 minutes of getting a line in the water, sometimes even quicker than that.

Knowing that our water temp was just about right, I decided to meet up with a fellow carp fisherman for a short few hour afternoon session at a new spot I had never tried. On the morning of the outing, I was ready to leave a lot sooner than originally planned, so I went ahead and hit one for my best pre/post spawn spots, which happened to be a few kilometers away from where I was going to meet my buddy.

Being that I'm almost always fishing with family or friends, I always have the luxury of using multiple rods, which greatly assists me in fishing the right range, and hone in on the proper bait to use on a given day. However, I was alone this time, which only allowed me to use 1 rod. Based on past experience, I had a good idea of where to cast this time of year, and was quite sure my sweet dream boilies would do the trick.

Sure enough, I got hit within a few minutes. Between the water level which had risen had recently risen, and me trying to play acrobatics with a 12 foot rod in one hand, and only 6 foot net in my other, my shorts arms didn't help in making the job landing the big carp any easier. It was already fighting furiously enough, and trying to get in into the net without getting in the water (I was fully dressed), it took a bit longer than usual. I eventually netted the fat carp, and got to test the autoshoot function on my new camera. Not the best, with only 10 seconds to get in focus and ready with a nice pose. Still, it got the job done.

I got my rod setup and re-cast, noticing how much time it was out of water in between hooking and recasting. Again, I'm not used to fishing solo, so I haven't really picked up on it much in the past, but I decided to rig my backup rod so I'll have one ready to fire after the next fish. The carp had other plans, though. They hit often enough, where I didn't even get a chance to fully rig my second rod and I had another nice carp on the line, though it turned out to weigh only 15 lbs.

After recasting, I got to work on rigging my backup rod, but again, I was interrupted by another screaming run. These time, it was a bigger fish, I had to get in the water in my clothes to land it. Good thing I was wearing an old pair of beat up sneakers. I also had another angler further down the shore snap my picture instead of going with the autoshoot function.

Again,lot's of time passing by without a line in water, but at this pace, I wasn't complaining... The next was a 20 lbs carp, that hit just as I was putting the finishing touches on my rig. Tried the autoshoot again, but picture was horrendous, so didn't bother uploading it.

After landing a smaller one in the 12 lbs range, I hooked into the biggest carp of the outing, and had my newfound friend down the shore snap my picture again,

Landed another smaller one, at which point the friend I was to meet up with showed up. I put a rod out for him as well, and within minutes, he had another nice one on the line, pic to follow when he sends it to me.

At that point, we decided to try his campground spot. Despite the hot bite at my spot, I was anxious to try my boilies at a new spot. Unfortunately, in the few hours I had, I managed to cast all my casts into sunken weedbeds which ended up fouling my presentation, and with heavy rain starting to come down, I headed home after 3 hours.

I was satisfied enough with my early success, landing 8 carp in less than 3 hour of fishing, using only 1 rod. The sizes were over average as well for that spot, I landed 5 of 8 in the 20 to 26 lbs range, when that spot is notorious for producing most fish in the mid teens.

With a cold front on the way, we may get lucky and have the spawn delayed until late next week, in which case I may head out for one more shot at some fat pre-spawn Canadian carp.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Walleye fishing with Advanced Bassin Plus charters

My friend Mark Currie who runs Advanced Bassin Plus, invited me out for some walleye fishing a couple weeks ago. As I was too busy to make it with my then upcoming trip up North the following week, we postponed the outing.

I finally got out with him yesterday, for some springtime walleye trolling. I brought along my older son Ari, as well as my 10 year old Eli, who had never caught a walleye.

We met up around 7:30 AM, Eli was very impressed with Mark's 21 foot Ranger boat, equipped with a 250 HP Mercury, kicker, bow mount electric trolling motor, all the latest electronics, and a nifty Bimini top for rain or extreme sun. A boat that size comes in very handy when the winds gusting out of the North East at 20 KM/H churn up the mighty St Lawrence River, as was the case when we launched.

Getting out to our first spot, Mark set up the rods on the quick release rod holders, and it didn't take long for the first rod to go. Eli had his first fish of the day, turned out to be the first of over 30 northern pike that day!

I decided not to take any of the rods unless necessary, leaving all the fun catching them to my sons. Sure enough, Eli and Ari were landing  good numbers of both pike and walleye in no time.

Here is a shot of Eli with his first walleye of the day:

He landed a few more as the weather warmed and the wind started dying down.

For some luck, Eli Eli happened to be landing most of the walleye, while all Ari was getting were small pike, despite taking turns on all the rods.

Either way, the action was just about non stop, with a couple double headers and even 1 triple header of pike.

As the weather warmed up, the bite slowed, but Mark worked extra hard to try and locate some bigger fish using his extensive knowledge of the river, with the help of his electronics. We also put up his Bimini top, which made trolling in the blazing sun a lot more enjoyable.

Sure enough, we got into some nice walleye over the slot size.

Eventually, Eli landed his biggest of the afternoon, a nice walleye just over 5 lbs.

Followed by another 4 lbs walleye.

By this time Eli, earned his bragging rights, trash talking Ari who had been stuck on small pike and a couple eating size walleye all day, while Eli had over a dozen walleye landed, including 3 bigger ones. We wanted to hit the 50 fish mark for the day, which ironically, is still a slow day by Mark's standards. I volunteered to catch the last fish, and as luck would have it, a decent walleye came to play.

Just as I started trash talking Ari about not getting any big walleye, another rod went off, Ari grabbed it, and landed one about 1/2 lb larger than mine to shut me up.

And thus ended another amazing walleye outing with Mark Currie of Advanced Bassin Plus charters. Eli who had hoped to get into a combined total of may 10-15 fish over the entire outing, ended up landing a dozen or so walleye, and an other 15 or so pike, just on his own. He got an idea of what it's like to go out with someone that know his target species better than anyone in the Montreal region.

Advanced Bassin Plus charters offers both half and full day guided fishing trips, including all gear, tackle, etc. Contact Mark by clicking: