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...