The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slow fishing in the Gatineau valley



Just got back from another 5 day trip to the upper Gatineau region of Quebec. My buddy and I went up to try to target some Northern pike, ended up doing OK, but not nearly as well as I'd hoped for. Weather wasn't too good either.

Here is a brief day by day rundown of the trip:

Day 1 (Sunday):
After leaving town later than expected due to the rental company not having the SUV I reserved on time, I arrived at about 12:30 PM. Took out a motor boat on Giles lake for some bass fishing, as my buddy wasn't due until evening. Caught about a dozen small bass all under 2 lbs using live worms on bobber rigs, some were caught trolling a Rapala CD-5. Hit some rain and wind that brought in a major cold front. My buddy arrived around 8:00 PM with a nasty cold. We went out for an hour, not much hitting.

That night, the temp went down to about 5 degrees celcius, a little colder and it would have snowed. You wouldn't believe we were in mid July! Had to heat the cabin using the fireplace.

Day 2:

We trekk up to Lac Croche bright and early. The lake is up a terrible road, which is why I rented the SUV. Last 300 meters or so are only accessible by foot. Only 2 boats on the lake, no oars or motors, so we had to haul the electric motor and batteries through the bush along with our rods, tackle, sonar, food, drink, etc. One boat has a leak, the other was missing the boat plug. We take the leaking boat, good thing I brought along a bilge pump and fully charged battery pack.

We hit the water at about 8:00 AM, plan is to troll endlessly as the lake doesn't have much of a fishing pattern. Casting is ineffective on that lake, so as much as trolling bores me, what choice was I left with?

We hit the first pike a bit after 9:00 AM, decent 4.5 lb that jumped 4 or 5 times, as if he were a musky. We keep trolling lures that troll down to 10-12 gfeet until about 12:30 with no more hits.
I suggest switching to deeper divers, my buddy gets an instant hit trolling down in the 20 foot range, another decent 5 lbs fish. Next pass, he hooks another, that tangles in my line. As we boat it and start handlining my line, we realize we actually hit a double header and mine is still on. We handline the nice 6.5 lb fish into the boat and now were in heaven thinking we have it made.

We couldn't have been more wrong. We trolled for the next 7 hours, not one hit. We hit a major thunderstorm, and had to hide out in the woods as the lake has no shelters. We had our rainsuits and 4 layers under them, was still pretty cold. We call it a day at about 7:30 PM, I head back, clean the fish and freeze the fillets.

Day 3:

We get out on Lac Croche again, troll uselessly for another 4 hours. Then we switch to casting. I hook into a fish after about an hour, but it goes straight into the sunken tree I was fishing near, end up losing it. We troll and cast for the rest of the day, no more hits. My frustration with the lake and trolling in general has hit it's peak. 12 hours of trolling and no fish is not what I had in mind. The cold weather didn't help either. 4 layers of clothing plus a rainsuit to stay warm. We head back early.

The guy that runs the place suggests another lake that I never tried before. To get there, we cross Giles lake by boat and land it near a small river that connects to 2 smaller lakes, both containing pike and largemouth bass. After trekking through the woods for about 7 minutes, we get to the small row boats and paddle down the stream to hit tiny Lac Chat. Lake probably measures 300 meters in diameter and is round. Half the lake has shoreline structure, other half is kind of shallow shoals with the middle going down to 45 feet.

It's about 8:00 PM, I manage 3 largemouth bass on a few casts, all about 2 lbs. Time to row back, I decide to return to Lac Chat instead of Lac Croche the following day.

Day 4:

We hit Lac Chat in the morning. My buddy hooks up some small largemouth bass on Senkos, I catch a small 3 lb pike on a red and white spoon. Fishing completely shuts down around 11:00 AM, we head back thorugh the woods and cross Giles to our cabins for some time off at 2:00 PM , as the sun is shining bright and warm, I take advantage to have lunch and go for a swim. First time I'm in shorts and t shirt all trip.

We head back out around 5 PM, not much going on until around 7:00 PM, when I catch my first bass on a Senko. Biggest bass of the trip, it weighs in just over 2.5 lbs. Although Senkos are an amazing bait for bass, I hate using them, still not quite sure why. I saw this fish following my lure without hitting, so I switched to the Senko and got an immediate hit.

Anyway, as topwaters are the most exciting bait for me, I switch to the good old Pop R again after that bass. I catch 3 more bass and a small pike on the Pop R that evening, but my buddy had enough of Lac Chat that is more like a small paddleboat pond you see in a parc than a fishing lake.


We get back that evening and the debate between hitting Giles of another lake that's full of small pike starts. I would have prefered to check it out for a day, just to see If I should bother returning next year with the kids, as I'm told that we should be able to get 25-30 pike per person even in the worst conditions. Not that I'm thrilled with "hammer handle" pike, but my kids will be when I take them there.

Anyway, my buddy is dead set against it, so we decide to hit Giles for bass the next day.

Day 5:

After getting up late and hung over, we hit the water late at about 11:00 AM. Great weather, dismal fishing. We hit less than a dozen bass between both of us, none over 1.5 lbs. Pity the propane fride was too cold, my worms froze solid. That's that for the trip, I pack up and head out the next morning.

Overall, the time away was good, the beer stayed cold, but the fishing was slow and my buddy had a cold through the whole week. Anyway, I'll be taking a short break from fishing as I have some work to catch up on, possibly head out for soem few hours of night fishing for channel cats agains over the next couple weeks.

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