The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fishing rainbow trout near Montreal

After spending most of July fishing for carp, I decided to change things up a bit and took the kids up to Coin Lavigne outfitter, one of my favorite places to fish for stocked trout with the kids.

Coin Lavigne is conveniently located in a pristine mountain setting less than 150 KM North East of Montreal, about as close to Montreal as you'll get for rainbow trout fishing in a natural setting.

As I've never fished for trout in the mid summer heat, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Trout are a coldwater / coolwater species, so they tend to get quite lethargic in warmer water. On the other hand, Coin Lavigne stocks a couple thousand trout into their lakes every week during the summer, so the fish are plentiful, and the food supply somewhat scarce.

Upon arriving, the owner did mention that many were having a tough time catching fish, despite seeing clouds of them on the sonar, and even surfacing throughout the day. We hoped for the best, and after a short ride in the all terrain vehicle, we set up our boat and started fishing shortly after 9:00 AM.

There were 2 other boats on the small lake, and they seemed to be trolling a very limited section of the lake, so we had the rest of the lake to ourselves. We tried trolling worms harnesses, lures and spinners, to no avail. Casting was no better, and nor was vertical jigging. We were marking tons of trout suspended all over the small lake, but they were completely shut down, due to the extremely elevated water temperature, which was probably in the 80 F range.

After about an hour or so, I hooked up an old line someone had lost, which had a sort of home made gang troll. A couple spoons tied together with some hooks further down, including a Lucky Strike "Silver lake" flasher spoon.

When we eventually got closer to the other boats that seemed to be having a bit of success, we noticed that they were all trolling live worms a few feet behind the exact spoon I had fished out of the lake. As they headed off the lake and back to the main camp for lunch, we took their spot and started using the same technique.

Sure enough, the move paid off quickly, and Chaya had her first trout ever:

Eli followed up with a very respectable rainbow trout, his biggest to date:

We landed another couple average sized rainbow trout, and lost another nice big one when it jumped a few feet out of the water and spit the hook. Turned out that the Lucky Strike spon I fished out of the lake was the only line that produced any fish all day.

The bite died down for a while, young kids tend to get bored rather quickly when that happens. The electric motor's battery was starting to run low as well, as we had been trolling for over 6 hours. We headed home shortly after, and enjoyed a delicious trout dinner.

I hope to head to Pourvoirie Coin Lavigne again with the kids sometime in the fall, when the water cools and the trout are more active again. If the bite is even close to what it normally is under ice, they should be in for a treat.

If you are interested in easy fishing for trout in the clean waters of a pristine mountain setting, pourvoirie Coin Lavigne is the place to go. 

Contact them by clicking: 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer time carp fishing around Montreal

Though summer officially started in the 3rd week of June, the real heat only hit a few weeks later. With a couple of my multispecies fishing buddies away of the start of the summer, I've been sticking to carp fishing more than any other species, since returning from a 5 day bass fishing trip up North at the end of June.

Carp have settled into their post spawn summer patterns. My better spots are quite predictable on most days, holding large numbers of mid sized fish. More often than not, people that come carp fishing with me will opt to fish those areas, as they are looking to catch as many carp as possible. For those new to carp fishing, numbers are everything. Size doesn't matter too much for people used to targeting trout, bass or walleye, as even a small carp will dwarf the largest of those multi species.

Aside from immediate family, here are some more happy faces new to carp fishing:

As for my family and myself, we've been spending some time prospecting some other spots. Some are sporadic, others overgrown with weed cover, and others a bit more productive after dark.

Every now and then, I'll go back to an old spot that I know isn't too productive, and once in a while, we do get lucky:

My wife enjoyed our wedding anniversary outing, she got more gold than she could ask for:

For those of us that enjoy still fishing, Montreal is located close to some of the best carp fishing in the country. Whether you prefer spending long days out in the sun, or getting out of the heat after dark, carp are ready to come and play at any hour.

I will be updating and adding pictures to this blog post through out the summer, and if you are interested in trying carp fishing, contact me by clicking here

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Great bass opener at Mijocama outfitter

Just got back from a spectacular 5 days trip to Mijocama outfitter with 4 of my my kids. This is the 13th season in a row that we've done at least 1 trip to Mijocama, and early summer is typically the best time to go with kids, both fishing and weatherwise. My 6 year old daughter came along for the first time, and my oldest son couldn't make it due to final exams at Concordia, so 14 year old Avi got to be captain of his own boat for the first time as well.

Day 1:

We left a bit later than usual, due to the thunderstorm warnings for the area the previous night. As usual, they forecast was completely wrong, and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. Got started fishing shortly after noon. First target species were sunfish, which are easy to sight fish for in mid day sun. Both Eli and chaya wasted no time in finding and catching some.

We eventually made it to dock, got settled into the chalet, and decided to do some dock / shore fishing, which turned out to be quite productive. First cast landed a nice 2 lbs largemouth bass, followed by my biggest bass on that lake at exactly 5 lbs:

Can't think of a better way to start off a 5 day bass fishing trip than catching the lunker on the first couple casts!

We headed out for the evening bite, a couple hours later, Avi beat his personal best with a nice 4 lbs bass as well. I was hoping for a good topwater bite, but the fish were a bit deeper than usual with the cooler water, only managed to hook 1 bass on a Pop R, but Chaya lost it at boatside. Eli did a bit better, landing a gargantuan pumpkinseed sunfish that weight 1 lbs, as well as a chunky pike we kept for the table:

Day 2:

I was up and ready to fish before 5 AM, just in time for the sunrise on Giles lake:

About 1/2 hour later, my buddy Jimmy showed up to pick me up for "work":

Again, not much of a topwater bite besides for some big sunfish and another missed bass.

Later that day, I took Eli and Chaya sight fishing for some of the huge sunfish that are tons of fun to catch while sight fishing. Patrolling nests in shallow clear water makes them and easy target for my kids, our weapon of choice being micro jigs tipped with live worms. We caught about 8 or 9 in a row, the bigger ones weighing in over 1 lbs. True giants for pumpkinseed sunfish, the biggest I've seen in any lake to date:

Chaya also learned how to drive a boat, and took my trolling 101 course as well:

Avi (aka captain hook) did a good job for the second day in a row, hitting some of my hotspots on that lake:

The move paid off nicely for Levi, who landed his personal best to date on that lake at 3.75 lbs:

Day 3:

We all slept in due to heavy rain overnight an into the early hours of the morning. Weather eventually cleared up, and it was off to get my boat onto some good bass fishing. The bass didn't disappoint, Chaya landed her first 2 lbs bass:

Eli caught some nice ones too:

Jimmy came out for a short hour with me while the kids were playing. A bit of a downgrade from his 20 foot bass boat to fish out of my 15 foot wooden chaloupe with a small 5 HP motor, reminded us of our earlier years fishing together:

Unfortunately, he injured his knee shortly after and had to leave early, so that bass turned out to be his last of the trip.

Day 4:

A cold front moved in and bass went deep for the morning bite. Chaya managed to land one and lose another, while Eli landed his biggest of the trip at 3 lbs:

We ended up landing 8 more over 2 lbs that day, while Avi tied his personal best at Mijoama he had set a few days earlier at 4 lbs:

An evening thunderstorm forced us to head in early, but we got a nice rainbow for a sunset:

Day 5:

The morning bite brought us a couple surprise fish. 2 back to back pike, including Chaya's first:

Not much else that morning, but the afternoon brought some more nice bass, we landed a total of 6 more over 2 lbs, including Chaya's biggest at 3 lbs, she had a very tough fight bringing it in, but still managed to do a fine job:

That toothless smile tells it all...

Levi ended up with his beating his personal best as well with this 4 lbs bass:

The trip ended with another gorgeous Mijocama sunset:

All in all, another great trip to Mijocama outfitter. The weather and accomodations were great, bonfires, fireworks, BBQ's, swimming, and enjoying the great outdoors in a pristine mountain setting.

The bass fishing was quite good too, we ended up with a total of 34 bass over 2 lbs, including 4 over 3 lbs, 2 at 4 lbs and my 5 lbs lunker. My brother joined us with his son for a couple days, they landed a 2 and 5 lbs bass as well, setting his new record for that lake. With 5 out of 6 of us breaking our lake records after a combined 20+ trips to Mijocama, I can safely say it was one of the best trips we've had there to date.

For more information on fishing at Mijocama or booking your dream bass fishing trip there, click:

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pre spawn carp fishing in Canada

Some of the carp best fishing periods of the year in Canada are directly before and after the carp spawn, which typically occurs in mid to late June in most parts of Canada. Due to our long winters and typically cool spring seasons, the carp often all spawn over a 5-7 day period, with a few odd fish that may spawn a bit later. In general, carp won't feed during their spawning period, so fishing for carp at that time is very difficult, and typically not too productive. As the carp feed heavily right before and after the spawn, these periods are typically very productive, producing large numbers of carp, and often some very fat ones that are carrying a good 5-10 lbs of roe at times, depending on the size of the fish.

I was fortunate enough to have some bookings for the pre spawn period this season. Both groups had multiple anglers, so I was able to set up a number of rods to better our chances for very successful outings.

My first group was a family visiting from the USA. Up to that point, they had never caught any carp, as they fish for mainly bass and channel catfish back home. They were all hoping to catch fish bigger than they ever had in the past, and with carp being the size they are, I knew they'd have a decent chance at achieving their goals. As most of people new to carp fishing, I brought them to a very productive spot that produces good numbers of mid sized carp.

We got set up shortly before 9:00 AM. Having 5 people including myself, I wondered if I'd be able to get all 5 lines in the water if the bite was on. Surely enough, it took less than 10 minutes to get the first hit. I knew I'd be in for a busy day...

Over the next 3 hours, I wasn't able to get a 5th line in the water, basically catching fish every 20 minutes or so. When we finally got a short lull shortly after noon, I got 5 lines in the water, only to catch 4 carp within the next few minutes including a double header, putting us back to 1 line. I managed to get 5 lines ion again about 2 hours later, again, only for about 3 or 4 minutes, just enough time to barely chomp down on my sandwich, getting another fish on as I took my last bite.

Needless to say, they had a blast, all members of the family landed many carp, a total of 22 of 26 were landed over a 7 hour outing. Mainly medium sized carp in the mid teens, with the largest going 20 lbs:

Another happy family to say the least, and I landed a bonus 2 carp myself while packing up the gear after they left.

A few days later, I took out another group, again for their first time fishing for carp. For various reasons, this group chose to stay closer to home. Having a decent spot in their area that I knew had some bigger fish, they knowingly traded off big numbers of mid sized fish, for a chance at landing some trophy sized monster carp.

We got set up shortly after 8:00 AM. After missing a run in the first 1/2 hour or so, the action was quite slow as expected. It took nearly 3 hours for our next hit, this time Gaetan got a good hookset on his first carp. The fight didn't take too long, as we were fishing at short range, and the big carp made the mistake of running directly at us. I got in the river and landed it in my oversized net. When I finally got it on the mat, I was amazed at the carp's thick girth. Though relatively short, it weighed in at a whopping 34 lbs:

By far the largest ever landed by any of my clients, and smashing Gaetan's previous largest fish which weighed a mere 7 lbs. I can honestly say that his reaction was one of the happiest I've ever seen on the bank. I took a shot fish the fish as well before releasing it:

When the excitement died down and we got out lines back in the water, things were quiet. Aside from a redhorse sucker in the 4 lbs range, no other carp hit for another 3 hours or so. This time, it was Charles' turn, landing his personal biggest fish with a nice 18 lbs carp that put up a solid battle before I was able to net it:

Know it was time for Karolanne to get her carp, having landed only the redhorse sucker earlier on. Sure enough, we got a run within less than an hour, and she landed a nice 25 lbs carp, again her biggest fish ever:

Now that they all had their carp, we the mood was very relaxed and happy as expected. We got set up again, hoping for one more big carp before calling it a day. Just as I started packing up, Charles got another run, landing another carp. When I saw it surface the first time, I knew it would smash his previous record set less than a couple hours earlier. Sure enough, he came very close to the biggest of the day with the splendid 33.5 lbs carp:

Aside from my clients being beyond happy, it was the first time I've ever had 2 30+ lbs carp landed on the same outing. With our top 3 fish combining for over 90 lbs, I'd say they definitely made the right choice going for size above numbers.

Most of the carp where caught using a combination of my boilies, sweet dream, black magic and fireball all produced, and tinkering with the set ups produced some very big carp.

Their timing was very good, as the full spawn is currently happening in many spots around Montreal and probably across much of Southern Canada. As such, I won't be doing much carp fishing until the end of June.

We've already started targeting other species. My 12 year old son landed his biggest channel cat a couple night ago with this nice 17 lbs catfish:

And with bass season now open, we're off to chase some largemouth bass while the carp finish doing their thing. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 5, 2015

Scouting new fishing spots on Lac St Louis in Montreal

Lac St Louis is the enlarged portion of the St Lawrence river that flows SouthWest of the Island of Montreal. It is made up of various types of structure, depth, and currents. It also has the highest number of fish species in the province in good numbers, and many super sized fish as well.

Fishing Lac St Louis can be sort of overwhelming if you don't know the waterway at all. First place to start is having a proper boat and motor to be able to handle waves and current, as well as to have the ability to run long distances in short amounts of time when the need arises. Next, a sonar and GPS with Navionics map of the area is very important. It's crucial to be able to tell what depth you are fishing or trolling in, and to be conscious of the hundreds of shoals and trenches that exist in the river.

Best bet to successfully fish Lac St Louis around Montreal, is to have a guide that knows the river well take you for an outing or two. Besides for having all the necessary equipment, they know which sections are productive and conducive to successfully targeting the fish species you'll be fishing for. You'll also learn which of the spots are productive, not mention catching a lot more fish.

Despite having a very good knowledge of the river and many hotspots marked, fishing guides still need to scout their fishing spots before taking out clients to fish. Water levels and temperature fluctuate every season, which directly affects were a given species of fish may be holding.

I'm lucky enough to have some good friends that guide on the river around Montreal, so every know and then, I get invited to help them do some scouting. When scouting spots for the next day, whether a guided outing or a tournament, is is important not to sit on one or 2 spots and fish them out. Rather, once you catch a few good fish, mark the spot for the next day, and head out to find more productive fishing spots. This typically ensures excellent fishng condition when required, but a bit tougher on the ones doing the scouting. Either way, the challenge makes it more rewarding when it all comes together and you're putting fish on the deck.

This week, my friend Jimmy invited me out for an afternoon/evening outing, preceding a guided outing he had the following day. Northern pike were the target species. Our goal for the afternoon was to catch a couple dozen, but more importantly, to find some spots with good concentrations of pike.

We started strong, catching about 15 pike or so in our first couple spots, mainly on Spinnerbaits, and a few on jerkbaits as well.

Not wanting to overfish the hot spots, we headed off to some other areas. Unfortunately, we only managed another fish or two over the next 3 to 4 hours. The water was also littered with cotton like moss from the trees, which kept catching on our lines, making casting very difficult.

Finally, towards evening, my patience with casting started wearing thin, due to the conditions, and lack of any action from the fish. I suggested some trolling to change things up a bit. After seeing a big perch follow one of Jimmy's lures, I tied on a perch pattern Rapala Countdown, and we started trolling. Result wa almost immediate, I hooked and landed a nice walleye just under 4 lbs  within a couple minutes.

We trolled for another hour or so, landing another 7 or 8 pike before ti was time to call it a day. That evening troll definitely saved the day.

The following morning, I headed out with Mike to pre fish Lac St Louis for walleye, as Mike had an upcoming tournament in a couple days. I brought Avi along for the scouting, as an extra rod is always welcome when trolling, and I owed him a day off school to fish due some some very good marks on his report card.

We got set up shortly after 8 AM, and started catching fish almost immediately, mainly pike with a nice walleye as well.

After catching about a dozen pike, we headed off to scout another section of the river. this portion has very few pike, and typically more walleye. We didn't even have time to get all the rods out, Avi got a big hit on his line. Fish was pulling hard and straight down, telltale signs of a nice walleye. Sure enough, we saw it's big head and nice girth when it surfaced, Avi did a great job of keeping calm and steady pressure n the fish all the way to the landing net. I scooped up the big walleye, measured in over 26 inches, and probably over 6.5 lbs, Avi's biggest walleye by far.

A few minutes later, we hooked into a smaller one, probably in the 3 lbs or so range.

After catching another pike and a small bass, we left the spots for some more scouting. With a heat wave coming in, and the sun shining bright, the walleye seemed to shut down. No more hits in the next 2 spots, Mike called it a day around 1 PM.

On our way home, Our plan was to stop and scout 2 spots near Montreal for carp. Both spots are areas where I typically don't fish until late October and November, but I wanted to see how they fish and whether or not they'd be productive in spring. Both of my carp spots already have heavy weed growth, and the wing blew all sorts of debris in shallow where I was casting. First spot yielded a nice sized redhorse sucker, Avi's biggest ever at 3.5 lbs.

The hot sun beating down on us was getting intense, felt like 30 degrees with the heat factor. Avi started complaining about the heat, so we head off to my second spot to scout for carp, where I knew we could get under some trees for shade. The move paid off quickly, Avi landed his first carp of the season within 1/2 hour of getting our lines set up.

We headed home about an hour later.

All in all, 2 solid days of scouting fishing posts, Avi learned some valuable scouting lessons, and got onto some great fishing in addition to beating 2 of his personal records.

For guided fishing trips around Montreal with the best fishing guides in the Montreal area, refer to my recommended fishing guides page on my web site by clicking: