The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Monday, November 30, 2015

2015: Another great fishing season

Early December, and open water season is just about over for me, though it may be a few weeks before we get safe ice to kick off the winter ice fishing season. As I've done in the past, I like to recap out season highlights in one blog post. As usual, I'll break down our the season by species, mixing in our new family personal records instead of leaving them all for the end of the post, as I've donein the past.

Overall, a great season for most of the family,  met many new anglers, many big fish caught, and many new personal records set between us all. Best of all, many new things learned, never fails to amaze me just how much one can learn every season.

As with many seasons in the past, the season turned out quite surprising, simply based on the species I spent more time targeting than usual, while others, less time than I had originally envisioned.

One of the species I didn't put much time into in the past, was trout. I can safely say I spent more time trout fishing this season, than I have in any other season in the past. Not because of any sudden love for trout fishing, just happened to turn out that way.

Trout season started off very well, my first trout landed for the season turned out to be the biggest brown trout I've ever caught at 2.25 lbs:

Besides for catching large numbers of smaller brown and rainbow trout, 4 of the kids caught either their first or biggest trout as well.

Here's Ari with some keeper sizes brown trout:


Eli with his new 14.5 inch PB rainbow trout:

Chaya with her first trout:


Zev, my newest fisherman at 3 years old with his first trout:



And finally, after originally putting up this blog post, Avi broke his rainbow trout personal record on the last day of 2015 on our first ice outing of the year:


Though not much of a fighting fish at that size, most of these trout were caught in clean water, and made their way to our table. Delicious, to say the least.

Moving onto some more interesting predatory species, walleye were another species that I ended up fishing for a lot more than originally anticipated. Season started off in January, my first time targeting walleye on ice was somewhat succesful:


Ahead to spring, first day of walleye season was successful, even though I was only on (in) the water for a couple hours.



Avi landed his biggest walleye a few weeks later, trolling near Montreal:



Later that summer, I took Avi on a well earned trip up North to chase some walleye in a clean deep Lake at Le Domaine Shannon for a few days. Lot's of tasty keepers, as well as some bigger walleye as well.

Shore lunch:


Avi's biggest of the trip:


And my biggest of the season at 27 inches, first pass field testing the new Bite Booster lure:



Shortly after that trip, I hooked up with walleye guide Mark Currie. First of our outing was on a blistering hot day, but Ari and I had a blast, landing a few dozen 'eyes:



In contrast to fishing walleye in the high heat, my next outing with Mark was late in November, with the outside temp below freezing. Polar opposite of our first outing, only a few walleye landed, but nice sized to say the least:



Though walleye aren't to best fighting fish out there, they taste great and the bigger ones always bring a welcome smile when caught.

Next on my predator list was the bass family. I largely neglected largemouth bass this season, but first one was a mid March surprise I caught while jigging on ice:


Exception was our yearly trip up North for the bass opener. The smashing success we had left me with little to ask for, for the rest of the season. 5 out of 6 of us broke our lake records for largemouth bass on that trip.

Mine was the first fish of the trip, second year in a row that that's happened. But this one was my first 5 lbs bass on that lake, and only second largemouth i've caught in the 5 lbs + range.


Avi and Levi both caught some in the 4 lbs class:



It was Chaya's first trip up with the boys, she caught some good one as well, and barely managed to boat her biggest at 3 lbs (with a bit of help from dad):



There's a good reason we keep going back to Mijocama every summer since 2002...

Smallmouth bass we another species that I pretty much neglected, but 2 outings with my friend and pro bass guide Jimmy, were all it took to make this another memorable season.

Midsummer in a heat wave, Lake Champlain produced a nice topwater smallie that weighed in at 4 lbs.


And a mid October outing turned out to be the best of the season, my first fish of the day turned out to be my biggest bass ever at 6 lbs:


Amazing fight on my new Fenwick rod, can't wait to try it for some topwater fishing next season.

Didn't do too much pike or musky fishing by my standards, but we still managed some decent ones:

Season started off on ice early in spring, before it closed for April:


Mid May had Levi and I up North at le Domaine Shannon, where he landed his biggest pike to date:


Avi followed up with some nice ones early in June:


Chaya caught her first pike later that month:


Eventually, Avi made it out for his first musky outing with my friend and pro musky guide, Mike.



I got in on the action as well a couple weeks later:


Lot's of decent sized esox, but no big monsters by season's end. Hope to change that next season.


Which brings us to the "big boy" segment of this post, namely, BIG bottom feeders.

Being that I guide for carp, the vast majority of fish caught are fought by either my clients or family members. I still fight the odd fish, but a lot less than I once did. Suits me just fine, I'm perfectly happy seeing their faces when they land their biggest fish ever while fishing with me. Instead of clogging up the post with tons of pics of big carp, I invite you to view the carp picture gallery on my web site at: http://www.freshwaterphil.com/carp-fishing-pictures.cfm

Here are a few notable carp we caught in 2015:

I did get a kick out of landing my first carp on ice on a handline to kick off my season earlier than usual:


Avi caught his biggest carp at 27 lbs:



Eli with his biggest at 24 lbs:


Ronit with her biggest at 27.5 lbs:


And the biggest ever caught by one of my clients (Gaetan) at 34 lbs:


After originally putting up this blog post, the weather took a turn for the warmer. Never expected to fish open water for carp on December 24th, but I did manage to hook and land one small carp, which marks the latest date I've ever caught carp in a calendar year, and first ever December carp for me:



Next  on the bottom feeder list is catfish. An early season trip to Dallas in mid February had Ari catching his biggest few cats, first time chasing blue catfish for him:





Much of our catfish outings here were spent chasing trophy sized channel cats, which somewhat eliminated the chances of catching anything under 10 lbs. Eli beat his PB with this fat 18 lbs cat, he needed a hand to help land this one:


Not to be outdone, Levi came close a few days later with his best at 17 lbs:


And last but not least, the biggest fish in the St Lawrence river, the mighty sturgeon. I'm lucky enough to fish with one of the best sturgeon guides in the province, my friend Patrick Therrien.
On his first sturgeon outing ever, Ari hit the jackpot and smashed all family records with this monster lake sturgeon, estimated to weigh 84 lbs based on it's length and girth:


A couple months later, Avi landed his biggest sturgeon at 55 inches, and I didn't do too bad myself either:




That, in a nutshell, was how our 2015 fishing season went. Aside from all the good times, great memories that should last a lifetime for the kids, lots of good laughs, and tough battles, there is one record that reflects it all. I managed to fish at least once on 119 days in 2015, by far the most for me in a season. Granted, some were a short 1 or 2 hour outing, but when you invest that amount of time into chasing fish, you can bet that you'll generally have some nice pics to share from time to time.

Hoping you all had productive seasons as well. For those of you waiting to hit the ice, be sure it's safe when you finally do. Who knows, we may run into each other out there sometime.

Tight lines for 2016!

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