The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Double header to start the carp fishing season

In contrast to the past few years, I stayed in Quebec all winter long. So, not having fished for carp since before first ice, I was ready to get out and wet my line hoping to catch my first carp of the season. As my typical go to carp fishing spot if still covered in ice, I fished a new spot with a couple friends.

After renewing our fishing licenses, we got set up at around 9:30 AM. With overnight temps below freezing, a thin layer of ice had formed, but was quickly melting away with the sun shining bright, warming temps, and a slight current. We weren't expecting much action until the water warmed up, and sure enough, it took over 5 hours for the short feeding window to open.

I decent paced run sent my ultra sensitive bite alarm screaming, and didn't take long to land the sort of lethargic carp. My first of the season, a bit over 16 lbs.

As we were unhooking the carp on my friend Julien's landing mat, my friend Phil's line went off. He had his first carp of the season in the bag shortly after, and we posed for our first double carp / double Phil shot.

Couldn't ask for a better start to our 2017 carp fishing season. Julien's line went off about 20 minutes later, he fought carp in to shore, but it got unhooked just before getting close enough to net it.

Carp fishing should get progressively better as the water warms up. Looking forward to catching some more cold water carp before between now and the start of my guiding season in May. For those of you interested in catching some of these big suckers, contact me by clicking: 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Guided ice fishing for trout this winter

New for winter 2016, I've decided to guide exclusively for trout, at a well stocked outfitter less than 150 KM from Montreal.

Trout are stocked on a weekly basis, making fishing relatively easy. Great outing for kids or people new to ice fishing, heated log cabins to stay warm on colder days, generous bag limits of 10 delicious trout per person.

Mike and Khaled took advantage of their Xmas vacations to come up with me today (Dec 22nd). The lake yet been stocked since late fall, and the other group on the lake was having a hard time catching trout in the shallower water their holes were drilled over by the outfitter.

Having brought along my own auger as well as my Humminbird flasher to locate and help catch the trout was key to our success. For the first time, most of our catches came from 15 to 20 feet deep, significantly deeper than normal. With would not hit on standard presentation, only method that worked was ligging micro lures tipped with some mealworms I brought along.

In no time, they were well on their way to catching our limits, while the others looked on in amazement.

Shortly after noon, the stocking truck showed up with some fresh brook trout to stock into the shallower holes, managed to shoot a short video clip.

As the brookies got acclimated to their new setting, we started catching some as well, but the rainbow trout were by far the more active species.

We ended up with our 30 fish bag limit in about 5 hours of fishing, roughly 20 rainbow trout and 10 brook / speckled trout for the day.

Nice way to get winter kicked off, and I know what both of their families had for dinner.

Returned a few days later for another outing. This time, Robert and Daniel came for a father son fishing trip. Though it wasn't their first time ice fishing, it was the first time trout fishing on ice.

Hundreds of trout had been taken from the lake over the long holiday weekend. We got a very late start due to icy conditions on the drive up, and when we got to the lake, the ice was still to thin for the outfitter to drive their truck on it. That meant, that all stocking had been done right at the entrance to the lake, and unfortunately for us, their was a group of people there with a good 40 to 50 lines in the water.

We made our way across the lake to where another 2 groups of people were already fishing, knowing that there was virtually no chance of any of the stocked speckled trout to make it across the lake in such short time. We'd have to content ourselves fishing for rainbow trout, as they don't school up under ice like the speckled trout do.

In contrast to the previous week, the rainbow trout fishing was extremely tough, as most that were left in the lake from fall were probably caught, and the outfitter had not stocked any so far this winter. After finally catching one rainbow trout in about 1 hour of fishing, I walked across the lake with Daniel, and drilled a bunch of holes in shallower water, not too far from where they are stocked.

Success was almost immediate, we pulled 2 speckled trout out, back to back. We called Daniel to come join us across the lake, and sure enough, they managed a total 15 trout over the next 2 hours or so, leaving with a total of 19 trout for the day, just 1 trout shy of the 20 trout bag limit.

After not having fished for stocked trout all of January, February resumed to business as usual. First outing had me taking my oldest son and 3 younger ones out for their first outing of 2017. Bite was moderately tough, but we still managed another couple limits (20 trout).

One week later, I headed back with Cory, for his first attempt at ice fishing for stocked trout. Bite was on fire, he managed 2 bag limits of 20 trout in a couple hours.

Mid March, and I headed out with Gino, visiting Canada from Australia. A first timer to ice fishing, I was a bit worried about the -20 forecast for our outing. Luckily, I brought along some spare gloves, and the lodge provided him with some heavy snow pants for the day. Drilled though 40+ inches of ice to be able to fish, the Jiffy comes in very handy this time of the year up North.

Fishing started of with a bang, Gino managed to land 15 trout in the first few hours. We paused to take some pics.

After which I proceed to fillet 6 fat trout for shore lunch.

After enjoying his first Canadian shore lunch on ice, Gino got to jigging. Just in time too, as the still fishing bite slowed down. The trout had moved slightly deeper and got aggressive, hitting jigging lures and micro spoons. Was long before we had 2 bag limits, I prepared a few more trout for Gino's second helping, before grabbing a beer together on our way out.

About 2 weeks left to my ice guiding season, as lodge closes at the end of March. Have about 5 or 6 days left available until then, ice is over 3 feet thick, and still lot's of hungry trout in the lake.

Last chance to book for 2017 winter season!

Contact me about your guided outing at:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our 2016 fishing season

With our first snow on the ground, and forecast for the next week hovering around the freezing point, there is a good chance that my open water fishing season has come to it's end. Unless another warm front comes in, chances are that my next outing won't be until first ice.

As usual, I like to review our fishing season's most interesting catches, and 2016 was another spectacular season for us. I like to switch up the format of my yearly review every now and then, so the breakdown will be done by season, instead of by species.

Winter 2016 was successful. I didn't get out as often as planned, but did manage to fish some new spots and waterways I'd been thinking about for a while. While some didn't produce the desired results, 2 of our catches exceeded my expectations.

First, I found a wintering area for mooneye, a species very rarely caught on ice. I had never caught any mooneye up to that point, and managed a couple outings to the spot before the mooneye bite died down. Managed to land a few decent ones.

Later on in January, I took Ari for his first attempt at landing some pike on ice. The waterway we fished doesn't have much pike in at at all, but I had heard of some nice sized pike being caught there over the years. Our plan to target trophy pike worked out well, Ari landed his biggest pike.

Moving on to February, I took Avi and Levi down to Dallas to visit their grandparents for a few days during their spring break. Needless to say, fishing was on the menu as well, open water on a boat was a welcome change from ice fishing. Both managed to land their biggest catfish at 34 and 38 lbs.

March 2016 was a lot warmer than normal, which cancelled my plans for targeting big pike before the spawn, due to lack of safe ice. On the flip side, early ice out was a welcome opportunity to try to land our first ever March carp in open water. Sure enough the plan worked out, Eli managed this mid size carp towards the end of March.

April brought some more good weather, and I had the chance of finally fulfilling one of my fishing dreams. I headed down to Florida's southwest coast in search of some big goliath grouper and sharks. While we weren't lucky enough to catch a shark, we did have a few steal some smaller fish we were catching for bait on light gear. The Goliath groupers did come to play, I managed to land a couple, with the biggest one estimated at roughly 150 lbs. By far, the largest fish I've ever caught, and most brutal fight on heavy rod spooled with 450 lb test cable.

Also managed to catch a couple other saltwater species, gag grouper and snook were fun on light gear.

May signalled another opportunity that I was happy to experience with my kids. Being the last season where the use of dead bait is permitted in open water in Quebec, we took advantage and headed to Le Domaine Shannon to target some big pike using euro style still fishing methods. Rods pods, bite alarms, and big frozen mackerels as bait all come together to help us land some trophy pike.

Big pike weren't the only trophies of the month. Eli managed to land his biggest carp ever, a nice 30.25 spring carp gave him bragging right over his brothers, who have yet to break the 30 lbs mark for carp.

Chaya landed her first and biggest channel catfish at 11 lbs, on the last day of May 2016.

And I managed to catch this colorful bowfin in pre spawn stage while wading across a flooded field to get to one of my pike fishing spots.

June was another productive month, starting off with Eli's first ever walleye outing. Out with my friend Mark Currie, Eli managed to land a whopping 18 walleye, and some pike as well. Ari and I landed some as well. Biggest was in the 5 lbs range, a few double headers, and even 2 triples.

We then spent the last week in June bass fishing up North at Mijocama outfitter. Levi landed the biggest bass of the 5 day fishing trip, at 4375 lbs, his biggest up to that point.

Chaya managed her biggest bass at 3.25 lbs.

Chaya also learned how to cast, and how to fish a topwater lure. With a magical fairytale ending, she landed this superb 2.75 lbs bass a few minutes before dark and the last evening of our trip.

Big bass weren't the only species targeted during our trip. We spent some time sight fishing for giant pumpkinseed sunfish during the heat of the day, with some very nice results.

After spending the first couple weeks for July fishing around town, we headed down to visit family in Southwest Colorado. Staying up at over 10,000 of elevation, only fish available were small trout. The scenery was breathtaking, weather was superb. Fishing less spectacular than I had hoped for.

Avi and I landed some rainbow trout fishing at various small alpine lakes in the region.

We took a guide at lower elevation for a half day, and managed to land a couple bag limits of kokanee salmon, as well as some trout.

Both July and August were good for number of decent sized carp. My kids, as well as a variety of customers caught a decent number of good fish. 

Some of the notable catches were:

Eli's 24 lb car that spawned all over his t-shirt when he picked it up for a picture.

And Levi's biggest carp at 25.5 lbs.

Eli also landed his first musky in August.

And Levi managed another very nice largemouth bass while away at summer camp in the Laurentians.

September was another great carping month, had more customers for guided carp outings than ever before. Notable catches were 9 year old Griffin, who landed the biggest carp ever caught by one of my customers at 35.5 lbs.

And Ray, who landed a rare mirror carp on his first try.

Night fishing was still productive, here's a good 56 inch sturgeon I caught on September 1st, Nice start to the month.

Early October marked a noticeable slow down in carp fishing, though all customers still managed to land some. Month ended with Levi and Eli going sturgeon fishing for the first time.

Both managed to catch their first few sturgeon, though Eli need some help landing the big one.

This one was a tag team effort by Eli and Levi, after hooked it and handed them the rod.

Also managed a few incidental catches of other species on that outing.

My first drum in about 10 years.

Eli's first redhorse sucker:

And a decent chanel cat to end the day:

Didn't get to fish much in November, but had a nice day out on the river with Mark for a mixed species day of bass, walleye and some small musky as well.

All in all, another great fishing season with many great memories that will hopefully last a lifetime for my kids, and customers. Thanks again to all my customers, blog followers, friends and family, for all the outings we did together, and for putting up with this fishing addict.

Hoping for another great one in 2017.