The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - Big Spring walleye fishing

Spring walleye fishing is usually the easiest time to fish for walleye. A variety of techniques will often land good numbers of walleye, and some of the bigger ones in a given waterway as well.

Most productive method for us over the years has been trolling. Nearly anything can work at given times, though my personal preference are slim bodied minnow type lures that run shallow to mid range when trolled.

Lac St Louis has been good to us over the years, many overlooked areas are home to some of the system's biggest walleye, which typically feed heavily in the spring. Covering lots of water by trolling is by far the most effective method this time of year, my kids land some nice walleye trolling every spring.




Trolling shallow can be productive as well, these big walleye were caught trolling worm harnesses right at the surface over 11 feet.


Casting for walleye is often overlooked. Walleye often hold near transitions from shallow to deeper water in spring, so casting shorelines from boat or while shore fishing with crankbait or jigs does the trick quite often.




Hope to get out for some walleye fishing soon, as I haven't targeted them since last summer.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - early spring pike fishing

Early of May is when pike fishing opens in most zones around Montreal. Though the date is preset every year, water conditions in in the first week of May vary widely from season to season. Both this season and last, we've had extremely high and muddy water, so pike fishing was, and is currently a bit tougher than normal. I prefer to wait until water clears up a bit, at which time the following techniques are sure to land good numbers of pike.

Trolling:

By far the simplest and probably most efficient technique. Shallow water less than 10 feet deep is a good place to start, typically near the shore, where you can follow a contour. Spoons and slender minnow type bait are quite efficient, as are spinnerbaits. Having quick release rod holder is an asset, and if you have enough people on the boat to put out more than 2 rods, you may want to use planer boards to get a good spread on your lines.


Casting:

Casting shallow with spoons or spinnerbaits is my recommended technique for early May pike fishing. I typically use a white or chartreuse spinnerbait with double blades. A trailer/stinger hook tipped with a plastic grub work well at times when they a short striking.


Casting jerk baits in such as the Rapala Husky Jerk , Countdown or Smithwick rogue, has been productive in the past as well. A twitch, twitch, pause retrieve seems to trigger most strikes, vary your speed and cadence until you figure out what produces most hookups on a given day. This fatty was caught casting a Rapala CD11 Countdown:


When it comes to casting, you will see many follows, especially in clear water. Keep the lures moving when you get a follow, you can rip it around in circles or figure eight at boatside, as one would do for muskies. Another technique is to follow up with a soft plastic worm or lure, pre-rigged on another rod. That method worked out quiet well for my friend Mike early one spring, when he followed up with a wacky rigged worm:


Using bait:

Lastly, live or dead bait will catch the biggest of pike. Unfortunately, the use of either is no longer permitted in Quebec during the open water season. However, it is still permitted in some parts of Ontario, and in New York state as well.

While live suckers in the 6 inch range are great under bobber, dead smelt of mackerels and be fished either under bobbers, or on bottom. A couple years back (in 2016), my kids and I took advantage of the last season when the use of dead bait was still permitted in Quebec. I used the biggest mackerels I could find, in order to avoid hooking smaller pike. The 12-13 inch mackerels worked wonders, we all landed double digits monster Northern pike on that trip.







Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - Early season trout South of the border

Spring was extremely slow arriving this year. In fact, most of the Quebec waterways that contain various species of trout (Lakers, rainbow, speckled and brown trout), haven't fully thawed yet, despite tomorrow's trout season opener in most of the regions of the province. During other years in the past, many of the lakes were already thawed a few weeks before the season opener.

Either way, when Quebec lakes or rivers are unfishable for trout due to ice conditions or closed seasons, most of us in the Southern part of the province have some amazing trout fishing just South of the border, in both the states of New York and Vermont.

Both states have extremely generous trout and landlocked salmon stocking programs, where hundreds of thousands of fish are stocked into the Northern Rivers of those states, most of which are tributaries of Lake Champlain.

Along with generous trout stocking, come generous bag limits, and the right to use 2 rods per person in Vermont, and 3 rods per person in most of New York state (with a few exceptions).

In the past, I have had some very successful outings, both trolling by boat in Lake Champlain, and wading some of the Rivers in the Adirondacks.

A few of my outings from years gone by come to mind:

My earliest outing to Lake Champlain in a season, was in March of 2012. Unseasonably warm, the lake was fully thawed before the end of that winter, and my son Avi came along for his first attempt at catching lake trout. My friend Mike was dialed in to the bite that day, we ended up landing 7 lake trout in a few hours of fishing, including some of the biggest ones we've ever caught on Lake Champlain.


Early afternoon was warm enough for us to be wearing T-shirts in winter!


Another very memorable fishing trip to the Adirondacks in New York State, was in late April of 2015. My friend Jimmy and I decided to try a few spots along one of the well stocked rivers. First spot yielded my biggest brown trout to date, and nice 17.5 inch trout that weighed close to 3 lbs.


The next spot we hit, must have just been stocked within a day or so before we arrived to fish it. We landed over 50 brown and rainbow trout over the course of a short afternoon at that spot, they were hitting just about everything we threw at the from lures to worms to flies.

New York reduced their non resident fishing license fees a few years ago, down to 10 USD for a daily fishing license, and $50 USD for the yearly version. No need to go into tackle shops to get your fishing license, they are available online, as in Vermont.

So, whether winter lasts very late up here, or whether it ends way before the Quebec trout opener, some of the best trout fishing of the season can be had less than 2 hour's drive from Montreal, perfect for a day trip, and possibly some good cross border shopping at the same time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Lost another fishing spot

Success to shore fishing is highly dependant on being able to find, and access good fishing spots. These spots can often take many failed outings at non productive spots, in order to stumble onto a good shore fishing spot, so lots of hours are put in to finding and figuring out how best to fish each spot.

One of the downsides to urban shore fishing is new developments. I have lost many a good spot to privatization of previously public or undeveloped land, usually having access points cut off, or due to policy changes. At other times, parks that previously tolerated fishing, decide to ban or enforce no fishing rules.

As ice was thawing last week, I headed out on my bike to scout one of the early season spots where I practice sight fishing for carp. Unlike the euro methods I normally use in big waters, where I attract carp to my baited lines, sight fishing is a bit different as I visually spot schools of early season carp warming up and feeding in the shallow clear waters.

A stealthy approach is crucial, to avoid spooking the carp. Once I've spotted my targets, I present them a simple hook baited with a few corn kernels directly on the hook, with very little or no weight at all added to the line. Casting light braid on a small bass rod, the smaller carp at this given spot have given my some nice battles over the seasons.

This particular spot was Lac Des Cygnes in Parc Jean Drapeau. As small man made lake dating from Expo 67, it has a large number of small carp, mainly in the 4-6 lbs range, though I've caught them up to about 9-10 lbs in the past there. The lake was still partially covered in ice, but I noticed that the parc completely wiped out the marsh area and creeks running into the lake, as they have decided to build some sort of amphitheatre over the marsh. The creek was once filled with carp, bass, sunfish and rock bass, not to mention all sorts of birds and other wildlife. Sadly, this it what it now looks like.



Oh well, at least I still had the lake to fish in, or so I thought...

I arrived this morning, lake had no more ice on it. Spending a good 20 minutes scouting, I pinpointed 4 separate schools of carp that were on the feed. As most of them spook once you catch the first carp, may plan was to try landing one from each school, and then bike home for lunch.

Just as I took my first cast, a fox came into the adjacent clearing to nurse her pups.





As I was snapping pics of the fox, my line takes off, I start fighting a small carp, all while watching the fox's reaction. It seemed a bit startled at first, I doubt it's ever seen anyone fight a fish before, as I've never encountered anyone else fishing there, being that the lake is only accessible by bike or a 15-20 minute walk from closest parking lot.

Snapped a pic of the carp just before landing it.


Moved down a good 100 feet or so down the bank, and caught my second carp within less than 5 minutes.

Moved to my third spot, cat the line, and immediately saw a couple carp showing interest in my bait. Next thing I know, a security guard from Park Jean Drapeau pulls up, and tells me that fishing is forbidden on Lac Des Cygnes. Apparently, fishing there has never been allowed, and I've been getting away with it for years. OK, not the end of the world, I have plenty of other spots to fish, although I really did enjoy the workout of biking to St Helen's Island from my home to fish it for a couple hours at a time.

I suggested that they put signs up letting people know that fishing is forbidden there, to avoid this sort of thing in the future. What I got, was probably one of the stupidest answers I've heard, she tells me they don't want to put up signs to avoid "VISUAL POLLUTION".

Now that's where I drew the line. I pointed out the nice marsh that was recently destroyed with all the new construction.

I then pointed out debris that's been in the lake ever since I started fishing it many years ago.



I then proceeded to point out all the garbage along the shore, cans, bottles, cups, wrappers, eetc.


I then asked her, "what about all this VISUAL POLLUTION"?

Another idiotic reply from her, "that's the way it is."

No sense in arguing with her attitude, I packed up and left. 

I'll miss fishing there.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Ice out carp fishing

Spring was late in arriving this year, finally made it out for my first open water outing of the season, more than one month later than last year. Despite the warm weather we've had for a few days, many areas of the river still have large patches of melting slush in the surface.

As outlined in my previous tip of the week post, spicy baits and lot's of patience are in order this time of the year, besides for fishing the warmest days during peak hours of heat.

Landed my first carp of the season on one of my fireball boilies about 2 hours into the outing, my 6 year old son got his initiation as net man for the first time as well as being my photographer.


For most of the day, he kept busy catching a variety of other species and critters.

He managed to land some decent size perch. Though they open for year round harvest in the zone we fished, I don't eat fish from the St Lawrence river, so they were all returned to spawn in good condition.


To my surprise, he was able to catch a goby by hand, as it cam very shallow to warm up in the sun.


He tried the same with a crayfish, and quickly learned how not to grab once next time he tries. Ouch!


This baby bullhead catfish was floating near the surface almost dead, he got some more net practice.


And his first up close look at a big frog.


Now there's one 6 year old that's going to sleep well tonight.




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - baiting carp in cold water

Ice out around Montreal typically coincides with the April, during which time the season is closed for most species of game fish. Carp are one of the fes species that are open, though they can be extremely tricky to target when their metabolism is still very slow in near freezing waters.

Over the years, I've managed to land carp with melting ice or slush cover, nearly every April, and at times, even earlier in March. Sticking to a few general baiting tactics and prime areas to fish for carp, is the key to early season success.

1) Find areas that are shallow, and don't have much current. These will warm up faster on the first few warm, sunny days of the season, and attract lethargic carp like magnets.

2) Fish sunny, calm days if possible. The best bite will typically coincide with the warmest part of the day, usually mid afternoon.

3) Don't over bait! A carp's metabolism is extremely slow in water colder than 10 degrees C (55 F), even more so in water under 5-6 C (40 F). A few particles or boilies of what you are using should be enough to trigger a bite.

4) Spice it up. Cayenne, chilli pepper and paprika are excellent bait additives / carp attractants in very cold water. Noticed this pattern over the years, and after a while, one of my fellow carpers with a degree in biochemistry confirmed the reason; apparently, spicy pepper gives of the carp a "warm feeling" to receptors located all over the carp's body, so they will hover near the bait even when they aren't feeding.

As you see in this pic form April 1st in 2017, Both of us are on a sheet of thick ice, eafter my carp hit a floating chilli lime corn.


That would explain occasional catches being hooked outside the mouth, as well as their effectiveness as carp bait additives. These spices can be mixed into boilies, and other particle baits such as corn, chickpeas, or tiger nuts can be either soaked or boiled in spicy mixtures. The essential oils will disperse in the water, and hover near the bait on cal, windless days.

6) Patience is a virtue when carp fishing in very cold water. I'll often leave a line in for close to 2 hours at a time. Pay attention to the slightest change to you line or most sensitive bite on your alarm. Carp takes can be subtle in cold water. Windows of activity are short, make them count.

This one took  my extra hot Fireball boily in late March of 2016.



And another fat carp that took a popup version for my Fireball boilie, as you often need to popup your presentation over dead weed beds or debris that early in the season.





With the recent weather, I haven't been getting much fishing done, looking forward to my first outing of the season.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - Transition from ice to open water fishing

The 2017-2018 Quebec fishing season officially came to it's close a few days ago, on April 1st. As such, the winter allowance for the use of multiple lines as well as the use of dead bait fish, are no longer in effect until next December. Effectively, the ice fishing season is over for most of us, although a few die hards can still get out to chase open species like sunfish and crappie, as there is still safe ice to be found in many of the backwaters in the region, due to slightly colder than normal temperatures so far this spring.

The ice fishing season ended for me last week. I dried, cleaned and organized my ice fishing gear before storing it away until next year.


No fishing for me this week, I spent some time organizing my tackle, lubricating reels, and getting everything else ready for the upcoming open water fishing season.

I plan on scouting some of my early season spots starting next week, although I've been doing lots of research online in order to plan and implement some new techniques and tactics I've been considering for some new areas I plan to fish this season.

Carp will likely be my target species for most of the month of April, as most other game fish species are closed in Quebec. Carp fishing this time of the year is typically very slow but rewarding, as the sounds of my bite alarms go off for the first time since last year. Strangely enough, the pungent smell of that first carp is more satisfying than anything else.

Another potential target species this time of year are lake trout. Though closed to fishing in Quebec until the end of April, they are open on the New York and Vermont portions of Lake Champlain, which also allow the use of multiple lines per anglers that fish there. Hoping I get an invite from friends with a boat, as shallow water trolling is the best time to catch them in the near freezing waters immediately after ice out.

Hope to have some interesting outings and fishing tales to tell over the next few weeks, as well as some nice catches and fishing pics.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 2018 ice fishing report

I was hoping to have more to write about of my monthly fishing report. Despite multiple outings for pike, we didn't do very well this month. The pike just seems to be shut down in comparison to some other seasons, and it was only in the last few days that the bite finally turned on. My friends and I managed to land 6 or 7 pike yesterday, and lost a few more due to pulled hooks or false hits.



Didn't bother targeting any perch this month, as I still had plenty of fillets in my freezer. Stocked trout bite was good on the one outing I made with some customers, and hooked some more accidental lake trout in a new area I was prospecting with a jigging rod and flasher.

Hope to fish open water again in the next couple weeks.

As the Quebec fishing season ends on March 31st, I'd like to remind everyone to renew your provincial fishing licenses before heading out in April.

Ice fishing tip of the week - finding safe late season ice

As ice fishing season near its end, finding safe ice can vary from year to year. Unseasonably warm temperature and lots of rain and wind in March, will cause ice to honeycomb and break up quite quickly. Ice thaws from the top down, so it's crucial to ensure that you still have a good base level of solid (black) ice to stand on.

When March temperatures remain as cold as they did this year, safe ice will remain in most places in the province long after the season closes on April 1st. With only 4 days left to the season, there is still a good 16-18 inches of solid ice cover in most of the provinces Southern waterbodies, and a good 2 to 3 feet of solid ice once you go further North or ascend in altitude.

That being said, other factors and play into the complex equation or deteriorating ice conditions. Fishing the St Lawrence river, you need to factor in the varying strength of currents, back currents, as well as external factors such as ice breaking operations via giant hovercraft, ice breakers, and eventually, cargo ship traffic once the seaway is clear and re-opened to traffic.

Yesterday was a prime example. I was out on the ice with a few friends. Minimal snow cover allowed us to drive right out onto the river with our gear, and we were parked on solid ice about 20 inches thick.


Heading towards the ice's edge around mid morning, we noticed some deep cracks in the ice. a Good 100 feet or so of thinner ice and some broken up ice flows separated us from the open water.



Within an hour or so, the coast guard icebreaker was making it's rounds, probably last minute check to ensure the seaway was safe to re-open to commercial ship traffic.


Within minutes, the force of the current's undertow combined with 25+ KM winds separated some big sheets of solid ice we had been standing on, and we were now able to access the water's edge.


That was out cue to move our vehicles off the ice, as some new cracks were starting to form closer to where we were fishing.

Sure enough, the ice breaker made another round, and soon enough, the solid ice we were standing on started to separate and float downstream. Luckily, we had removed our lines and gear from the area a couple hours earlier. Though not as dangerous of a situation of honeycombed / deteriorating ice, last thing you need is to find your gear (or yourself) headed to Quebec city on a floating island.

As ice fishing season nears it's end, there is still some good fishing to be had in many areas. Just be safe and constantly aware of changing conditions.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ice fishing tip of the week - Shallow for late ice pike

Late winter and early spring is the best period of the year ice fishing for Northern pike around Montreal. You can usually find safe ice until the season closes on April 1st, although the surface often tends to have a thick layer of slush or even water on it due to warming temperature above freezing. A good pair of waterproof boots and snow pants are essential to keeping dry.

Pike spawn during or immediately after ice out, in extremely shallow, weedy bays. By the end of March, they have usually started the migration toward the spawning grounds, and can often be found congregated near those areas.

Despite the ice cover usually being about 2 feet thick that time of year, we routinely manage to catch them in 3.5 to 5 feet of water, which translates into a shallow 1-3 feet of space to present the bait. In that narrow range, the bait is presented right in front of cruising pike.



As Quebec no longer allows the use of live bait, we use a mix of store bought frozen smelt or mackerel, which in addition to being readily available, also diffuse a strong, oily scent trail under ice.
Fished under flag mechanism tip ups such as HT Big Game or Polar Thunder models. Once the lines are set it's just a matter of time until the hungry pre-spawn pike find your offerings.


The season closes for most game fish species next weekend, and with warmer sunny conditions forecast for the next 7 days, I hope to get out again for one last shot at some ice fishing before the open water season begins.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ice Fishing tip of the week - Jigging worms for trout

Stocked trout were the first species I ever targeted on ice. Over the past 20 or so years, it's become a yearly outing with my family, as well with a slew of friends and customer new to ice fishing, or wanting to catch lot's of tasty trout, while enjoying to convenience of a wood heated cabin with dry toilet near our lines.

I still remember my first ice trout, which came on a worm tipped jig right on my first drop. Over the years, I've refined my set up, and it consistently out performed the standard "brimbale" style tip down lines tipped with the same bait with a 10 to 1 ratio. Best of all, is the sensation of hooking and fighting the trout with a fishing rod, as opposed to using a handline.

The outfitters general stocked both brook/speckled and rainbow trout into the various lakes I've fished. Rainbow trout tend to scatter under ice, while brookies seem to prefer schooling up in very slow moving schools. Find the school can be extremely productive to say the least.

Quebec allows the use of 3 baited hooks per line, but I just go with a 1/16 ounce lead jig head tipped with 1/2 a worm, and then a #6 to #4 baitholder or octopus hook tipped a the other half.

Rigged on medium light ice jigging fishing rods using 6-8 lb flourocarbon, we have been able to get easy 10 trout quotas on many occasions, and often opted to use second and even third quotas in 4-6 hour outings.

Simply let the line down to the bottom, bring it up a couple inches, and slow jig at intervals of 15 to 30 seconds. When bite is aggressive enough, double headers of trout can be expected.



Scattered rainbow trout seem to enjoy the ice jigging setup just as much. Note the setup my son used to land this fat rainbow trout.




Weather permitting, most outfitters open for ice fishing that stock trout in winter, do so from mid December through late March. I offer guiding services for stocked trout through the winter, fund day for the entire family, and hopefully a tasty catch for dinner.




Friday, March 9, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - ice fishing tip up markers

As I get a fair bit fishing related questions and inquiries, I've decided to write weekly "Fishing tip of the week: blog posts. I plan to have them relate to current fishing issues for a the given period of the year, and hopefully, I'll be able to keep cranking out a steady flow of short, but useful tips.

This week's tip relates to ice fishing with traditional flag style tip ups. Various models exist, most of the tip ups I use are HT big game "polar therm" models, pictured below.



While they are visible from afar when there isn't much snow cover on the ice's surface, as soon as you get a few inches of snow, you start to lose visibility of the tip up as long as the flag hasn't been tripped by a fish.

Why does this matter? Well, for a couple of good reasons.

1) As we are allowed the use of multiple lines in winter in many provinces and states, you can get a pretty good spread on the lines. Around Montreal, the use of 10 lines per person, spread at say 40 feet between each line, would result in a potential spread of 400 feet, assuming you were alone. At that distance, there is no way to know exactly where you tip up is set if the snow cover is more than 4 inches or so.

2) Just as you may not know where you row of lines begins or ends, others travelling the lake by truck, snowmobile, ATV or even windsurfing, may not be able to see you're lines until they've run them over.

To negate this issue, I like to mark off where my ice fishing tip up lines begin and end by using something larger, and more visible. In particular, I have bright yellow 5 gallon buckets that I use to store and transport my Big Game tip ups in. When the tip ups are deployed, these empty buckets serve the purposes quite well, as you can see in the zoomed in picture below:


Furthermore, I often decide to use a good numbers of lines away from where I'm actually fishing, in order to target multiple species. Thc classic example is setting up baited lines shallow for pike, and then moving a bit deeper to jig for perch, walleye or trout. By having a visual markers at the extreme ends of my pike lines, when I periodically shift my focus from jigging to looking for tripped flags, I don't have to start guessing or straining to figure out where to look, as my markers are clearly visible from a lot further than I venture away.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

February 2018 ice fishing report

February has been another successful month for some more exploratory ice fishing, just as December and January have been. Not having much clientele for ice fishing this season has allowed me to continuously explore new areas, which I'm enjoying more and more, regardless of whether or not I end up successful.

February 6th 2018.

Headed to the Easter townships to try a new area I had mapped using Google maps. After trekking about 1 KM through about 8-10 inches of snow covered ice, I reached my target area. Drilled some holes holes in shallower water for pike, and then some more deeper for perch and possibly rainbow or brown trout, maybe a lucky landlocked salmon.

The first catch of the day was a decent size lake trout measuring 26 inches, put up a very nice fight on my perch rod. As season is closed for lake trout in Quebec, I didn't bother with any pictures, releasing it immediately in good condition as per the regulations.

I move a bit shallower, and stumbled onto a large school of jumbo perch. Perch tend to school up by size under ice, so after catching a few big ones and seeing many more on the flasher, I knew I'd be busy at the fillet table once I got home, as perch are one of the tastiest fish caught in winter.



Took a couple hours or so, and I had a couple dozen perch ranging from 9 to 12 inches on ice, all hit a Swedish Pimple jigging spoon. You can notice how big they are in relation to the 8 inch ice hole.


Managed another accidental lake trout in the 25 inch range at the end of the day near one of my perch holes, again on my perch rod. No pike on the dead bait lines.

February 13 2018.

Headed South of the Border to the upper Adirondacks in New York state, to try my luck on a new lake. The state of New York stocks the lake with landlocked salmon and lake trout, which are both open to fishing year round. As well, there are some big Northern pike in the lake as well, which were going to be my target species for the day.

New York is very particular about the use of bait fish, which must be purchased from local state certified dealers. The frozen store bought smelt and mackerels I normally use for pike are forbidden as bait, so I was at the mercy of the local bait shop's supply. Despite having called them the previous to be sure they had the large shiners I was looking for, when I arrived, they only had small minnows, which still sell for an outrageous $10 USD per dozen.  Not being left with any other options, I picked up a dozen, and set up some lines for pike in shallower water, while jigging for perch with the help of my flasher.

As the lake gets lots of fishing pressure in the winter, the perch weren't to big as expected, ended up with a couple keepers by early afternoon. With no pike hits, and some pesky perch messing with the small minnows and tripping my flags, I decided to trek a good mile or so further out, where I ended up on a large flat about 30 feet deep. One of the locals mentioned it being a decent area for smallmouth bass under ice, a species that I've never caught in winter. Drilled another dozen or so holes over the course of the afternoon, hooked into something big down near bottom while jigging a Swedish Pimple, but lost it before I could get it close enough to the ice hole to see what it was. My guess would be a big bass or small lake trout, I'll never know...

February 15 2018.

Headed back to my new spot in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, in search for some more jumbo perch, and possibly some Northern Pike. The trek out to my spot was easier, as there was less snow cover. Having noted that all the Jumbo perch from my previous outing to that area came from 12-14 feet of depth, I drilled a longer lines of holes at that depth in order to determine whether my spot was wider than I originally thought.

Started off by catching a small 18 inch lake trout, and then some small perch. Fishing all the outer holes around my hot spot, I wasn't able to catch any perch bigger than 7 inches, but did get a surprise rainbow smelt, as I was fishing mainly with a tiny version of the Swedish Pimple jigging spoon

When I eventually fished my hot spot, the jumbo perch were waiting for me as I had hoped. I managed to land 2 of my biggest perch ice at 12.5 and 13 inches, and both were bursting with roe, which made them a bit heavier. The 13 incher is my new all time personal best for perch, weighed in over 1 lb at 485 grams.


Ended up leaving with another dozen keepers, my youngest son and I  had a perch feast next morning for breakfast.

February 19 2018.

Decided to ice fish the Montreal area for the first time in 2 years. Though I normally prefer to travel to ice fish areas and waterbodies where I don't have summer access, I only had a few hours to fish, and a local friend with a waterfront property invited me to come over and fish the area behing his home for pike.

We set up the lines at a variety of depths ranging from 3.5 to 9 feet of depth, and baited them with thawed out mackerel and smelt. Waiting for the pike bite, we tried jigging for perch a bit deeper, where I showed him how to use a flasher. Unfortunately, we weren't able to catch anything jigging, and the pike weren't playing along with our plans either. My host went back inside to grab some lunch, leaving me on the ice with his nephews and my son. Sure enough, the flag on the tip up closest to me went off. I ran to the line. carefully moved the tip up out of the way, giving my self a bit of line to play with, as I was fishing the shallowest hole, in 3.5 feet of depth.

I quick tug set the hook, and the fight was one. The pike made a few good runs before I was able to ease it's snout up the ice hole, and I was surprised to see that it's was much bigger than I originally thought. While most of the pike I've caught in that area over the years range from 3 to 5 lbs, this one weighed in at 9 lbs, measuring 33 inches. Definitely my biggest ice pike caught in this zone.


That made to outing with back to back personal best for ice fishing. Not too shabby for some February ice fishing.