I'm lucky enough to fish the Montreal area with these guides quite often. There is nothing quite like targeting a given species of fish with fishing guides that are at the top of their game. Besides for having the best chances at landing trophy fish or simply huge numbers of fish, fishing with a guide is the best way to learn proper techniques and tactics related to targeting, catching and properly releasing big fish.
It isn't too often that I get the chance to challenge myself to a fishing marathon. This week, my schedule ended up lending itself to a gruelling challenge. On Monday evening, I headed out with my friend Patrick. He is by far the best sturgeon guide in the province of Quebec. I've caught some sturgeon over 50 lbs with him in the past, and no one I know consistently catches 50+ lbs fish on nearly every outing.
Avi came along for the outing, hoping to catch his first sturgeon. We got set up around 7:00 PM, a bit over an hour before sunset. Sturgeon typically tend to bite after dark in the summer, especially during the type of heat wave we've been having.
Though the outing was a bit on the slow side, we managed to land 5 sturgeon, up to 58 inches (about 55-60 lbs), between 9:30 PM and 2:30 AM. Avi landed his first sturgeon ever, a mid sized one at 42 inches.
After heading home and sleeping only 2 hours, I headed out bright and early for a guided carp fishing outing I was doing the next morning, with John, and his grandson Tameem. Both were new to carp fishing, as are most of my clients. As I always do, I started off by giving them a rough idea on how to hook and fight big carp, then explained and demonstrated my set up in detail.
Didn't take long to get our first hit, John landed this nice carp, another fatty:
A few minutes later, he caught another one, then his grandson Tameem finally got some as well:
Amazingly, the fishing stayed on all through the day. John and Tameem ended up landing 18 carp of 22 runs, with 2 of the lost ones due to line cuts. Probably one of the highest landing percentages I've ever guided. They broke another record, landing 3 double headers during the outing, just missing a 4th one do to a line cut, and missing a triple header by about 30-60 seconds. Truly amazing when you consider that we were only allowed to use 3 rods!
Needless to say, I was exhausted by days end, after running around in the sun all day on only 2 hours of sleep. That being said, I couldn't have been happier with the fishing results, and slept real well that night.
After catching up on some sleep and a backlog of work at the office, I headed out again, this time with my childhood friend Jimmy, who also happens to be one of the top bass / pike guides in the Montreal and Southern Quebec region. Plan was to fish the Lac St Louis portion of the St Lawrence River bordering Montreal. The high winds made it impossible to finesse for for smallmouth bass, so we changed plans and decided to drift fish for pike, casting spinnerbaits and burning them over the tops of weed clumps in shallow water. The fishing tactic worked like a charm, I hooked a nice pike on my third cast. The bite stayed on, although a bit sporadic, until we marked a couple waypoints into the GPs to get a better idea of where we needed to be drift fishing. It was then that we started hooking into pike on almost every drift. No huge ones, most being in the 3.5 to 5 lbs range.
The 30 km/h+ wind gusts eventually forced us to seek shelter in some shallow marshy area. Though the wind was still strong, the waves weren't. Fishing the marsh area was tough, fish weren't around. Again, Jimmy;s experience as a bass fisherman came through.He pulled out a push pole and maneuvered his big bass boat into some of the thickest slop, a mix of heavy weed, lily pads and grass. I tied on a weedless frog. Jimmy called a cast, and my first drop, I hooked a nice lunker sized largemouth bass. It was well hooked, so I managed to horse it through the thick cover, and landed it shortly after.
I was more than thrilled to see a largemouth bass that size come out of the Lac St Louis section of the St Lawrence river, as they are somewhat rare there, being largely outnumbered by pike and smallmouth bass. That being said, the slop we were fishing in was prime largemouth bass territory, so the fish was exatcly where it should have been, just as Jimmy predicted.
After fishing the slop for a couple hours, the wind started dying down. We headed back to our originalk area to drift fish in the wind and waves. The pike were on fire, we ended up landing over 35 pike, not counting the ones we lost.
Surprise catches often happen when fishing, and this outing was the jackpot. One one of our pike drifts, I hooked into a mid size smallmouth bass. Jimmy was somewhat surprised, as he rarely sees any bass at all in the pike infested area we were fishing. A few casts later, I hooked into another smallmouth bass. Jimmy's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when he saw the size of the bass on it's fist couple jumps. Being used to bigger fish like carp, I didn't think the bass was that big, but when I finally managed to land it, I realized that it was by far the biggest bass I ever landed on the LAc St Louis portion of the St Lawrence river. It measured 21 inches,and weighed in at a whopping 5 lbs.
In his days fishing the Montreal area, Jimmy has never seen a smallmouth bass that size come out of Lac St Louis. Even most local tournament lunkers usually don't exceed 4 lbs, and their are no shortage of bass tournaments fished their almost every week throughout the summer. As happy as I was with my catch, Jimmy seemed even more excited about it than I did.
Both the largemouth and smallmouth bass I landed were the first ones since early summer, as I rarely devote any time to bass fishing any more. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the quality of the fishing Jimmy put me onto despite the high winds that kept most fishermen off the water on that day.
Headed out again early the following week, this time to chase trophy muskies with my friend and number one musky guide, "Musky" Mike. When it comes to fishing for big muskies in SouthWest Quebec, Mike is the man for the job. Mike has caught many trophy sized muskies on the St Lawrence and Ottawa River, namely LAc St Louis, St Francois, Lake of Two Mountains and more. Having all that experience is invaluable, not to mention a top quality new Lund every season packed with all the latest electronics, including a priceless chip containing all his good musky waypoints to hit each time we fish together.
Fishing musky with a top notch musky guide like Mike, I always have a sense of confidence that's it's only a matter of time until we hook up to a nice big fish, even though many others have a terribly hard time catching muskies. Again, you can't beat fishing with the best fishing guides at the top of their game.
Though this particular outing was quite short, we managed to hook 3 musky, I landed 2 of them, the third spitting the lure as soon as I started reeling in the line. As usual, I'm quite sure it was the biggest one of the day. The ones that get away before you see them always are, but this one was peeling a tightly set drag at seriously high speed.
Either way, I was still happy with my outing, getting another nice pic for my collection as usual, always love the markings on South West Quebec muskies, especially when they come out of clear water:
Whether you live in Quebec, or possibly visiting the Montreal, your best bet for some good fishing is to go out with a guide that can show you how it's done properly, and put you onto large numbers of big fish. For more information on local fishing guides and their daily rates, click: