Carp fishing guide

Montreal carp fishing guide

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fishing for rainbow trout

With summer nearing its end, I decided to take advantage of some nice weather to take my two younger sons trout fishing. With a lake well stocked with both speckled and rainbow trout, Coin Lavigne was a good option, as I haven't been fishing there in a few years.

At only 140 km from Montreal, I figured a short few hours would be enough time to get a shot at catching a 10 trout quota, provided we were able to pattern the trout.

I arrived at the main lodge around 9:30 am, checked in, and headed to Lac en Coeur, their main lake for daily fishing. With one other boat just getting off the water after a slow morning bite for them, we had the entire lake to ourselves. With wind gusts up to 30 km/h, I decided to scrap any plans I have for casting or jigging.

After installing my electric motor, portable sonar and rod holders, we got to trolling using my favorite setup for that lake, namely a Lucky Strike Silver Lake spoon, followed by a 3-4 foot, 8 lbs test  fluorocarbon leader, ending in a Gamakatsu $4 baitholder hook tipped with 1/2 a live earthworm.

Knowing that this setup has outdone most others, I knew that it was a matter of time until we found the trout. Sure enough, first pass landed Zev his first rainbow trout of the day, good size too for Coin Lavigne.

After a few more passes, we figured out that the rainbow trout were tightly schooled in suspension, at 9-13 feet over 16-19 feet of water. From there, it was basically child's play, and the pattern held true all around the lake.

We managed to land our 10 trout quota within roughly 3 hours, with Zev and Eli taking turns on the fish.

I hadn't planned to catch any myself, but just as Eli was unhooking one of the catches, the other rod went off, and with Zev being up front, I landed the rainbow trout myself. Just as well, it turned out to be the biggest one of the day!

Heading home early, I had enough time to fillet the haul before dinner time, and 4 of us feasted on the fresh catch of the day.

Simply delicious, the rest of them won't last long either. Surprisingly enough, we didn't catch any speckled trout, which are usually the dominant stockies in that lake. Just as well, the rainbows are generally bigger, as I find they adapt better and grow faster in that lake, feeding mainly on crayfish and flies in various stages.

At $70 for a 10 trout quota, which also includes the boat (without motor), Coin Lavigne can make for a great day trip provided you have the proper equipment. As it's a "put and take" style fishery, releasing trout is strictly forbidden.

Monday, September 6, 2021

The story of Dom, my Rosh Hashana fish head

Observant Jews have a custom of placing a fish head on our festive table on the first night of the holiday of Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish new year. Customarily, the fish head is cooked and consumed by those that have the stomach for it. At my table, none of my family has ever been interested in eating a baked fish head, so it was symbolically displayed for the start of the meal, and then discarded shortly after.

My wife and both daughter's aversions to looking at a  raw fish head vs smelling a cooked fish head, has always caused come contention regarding this custom. Somehow, custom has always prevailed, and over the years, I have had a slew of interesting and unique heads on our table, as opposed to the standard store bought salmon head (or perhaps carp in some cases), that most people take for granted. Perch, walleye, bas, pike and even a frozen musky head have all graced our table, some in frozen form, others cooked. Same outcome year after year, women around the table all get grossed out and complain about the so called "archaic" custom.

A couple summers ago, I managed to land a decent size musky from my float tube. Being that I had no landing net, and that I was in the water with a thrashing musky with giant trebles sticking out of it's face, I had to wear it out a bit more than I would normally do, in order to land it without risking injury to myself.

 As we were mid August with the water temp over 75 degrees F, the musky didn't make it, despite my trying to revive it for a good 15-20 minutes. 


 As it keep floating up onto it's back, I knew it wasn't going to survive, so I decided to harvest the musky. A friend's mom kept asking me to bring her some fish, and as she wasn't picky about the species, I figured I'd fillet and debone it for her, while harvesting another cool looking trophy head for my Rosh Hashana table.

Upon opening the musky, I noticed a large bulge in it's stomach. Always being interested in seeing what my captures were feeding on, I opened it, and to my surprise, found a 13 inch muskrat? inside.

After severing and freezing the head, I decided to splurge, and have it professionally mounted, thus avoiding the yearly squabble, and at the same time, preserving it for the future. I eventually found a taxidermist to mount it for a decent price. Though it took nearly 18 months for me to get it back, I finally have a permanent Rosh Hashana mount that won't put off anyone around the table, as well as another good fishing tale to go along with it.

Shana Tova to all my family and friends!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Summer float tube fishing

Over the past few seasons, I've spent increasing time fishing from my float tube. There's something about the serenity of being alone on smaller, untouched, lakes, rivers or steams, fishing for relatively unpressured fish. In today's modern world of gadgets, electronics, and electric motors, the old fashion simplicity of paddling around with fins while visually casting to structure, is a welcome throwback to simpler times.

Being that casting topwater lures is my favorite technique, most of my outings occur during evenings, when the wind has typically calmed down. Windless days are good too, but something about fishing the evening bite into the sunset just adds to the serenity / relaxation factors, especially when I'm fishing in a mountain setting.

With my kids day camp schedule running through most of the summer this year, I haven't bothered doing many full day trips, opting instead for shorter 3 to 4 hours outings on the float tube. Starting at the end of June, my goal was to fish a few new target lakes I had in mind, as well as double down on some of the spots where I've already had success fishing for a float tube.

My first summer float tubing outing was to an old spot, where one can expect a mixed bag of species. Predominantly largemouth bass, but a good number of longnose gar, sprinkled in with some pike and the occasional musky. With outer temp at 30C and the weeds not fully blanketing the area, I was able to cast to many gar, but unfortunately, couldn't keep any hooked long enough to land them. Most were too small to properly take my modified lure, but it's significantly harder to sight fish from a float tube, being that I'm very low on the water, as opposed to shore fishing from the bank or standing on a casting deck by boat. I was lucky enough to hook a good largemouth bass, followed by this chewed up pike, surprisingly aggressive for an emaciated fish with those wounds.

As July rolled in, I mixed in a few "bike to" outings, both for bass and musky. Not much success for musky from shore, so I decided to try from the float tube, casting oversized topwater lures. Not much luck either, so I finally hit a new lake I had scouted a few weeks earlier. Knowing that this small Laurentian lake had a decent population of smallmouth bass, and having found a parking spot close enough to launch, I headed there alone for my first shot at fishing / discovering this new lake.

As the mid afternoon was still windy, I tried my first target area of the lake casting a Mepps spinner. Caught a few very small bass. Eventually, the wind died down, and I was able to get some decent topwater action on my Pop R during an evening bite that lasted for a bit over 1 hour. 

A few days later, a heat wave cancelled my biking plans. Being that the winds were strong all week, I opted to get out on the float tube and fish my gar spot, as I knew the wind direction would affect it much on that particular day. Unfortunately, the weed cover was a lot more dense, and the gar were buried deep in the weeds. With no way of presenting any viable lures to them, I tried casting a variety of topwater lures to open water, without much luck. Finally, I tied on a weedless Spro frog, which was about the only presentation on hand that I could use to attempt to lure the bass out of the "hay". The frog the trick. Landed a few good largemouth bass in a short spurt, before I had to head home mid day.

Being that my old float tube is functional again after having replaced the leaky bladder, I'm now able to bring along a second person to fish with on my outings. After another unsuccessful float tube outing for muskies casting big topwater lures, I finally convinced Levi to come along for an evening of bass fishing.

We headed up to another Laurentian lake I first fished last summer, this one having a mix of mainly largemouth bass, mixed in with some smallmouth bass as well. The sheer numbers of bass in this lake are insane, but not too many big ones, as the bass growth in this lake seems to be stunted. Regardless, as Levi didn't want to risk not catching anything, and the lake is a sure bet for numbers, it was a no brainer.

With Levi casting a Mepps spinner and myself using a PopR, we hooked well over 100 bass in about 4 hours of fishing, landing close to 100 bass. Most were quite small.

As we fished closer to night, the bass sizes increased a bit, especially on the PopR. I ended up catching the biggest bass of the evening, a chunky largemouth bass.

A few nights later, I decided on a last minute outing back to the new lake I had fished for smallmouth bass a few weeks earlier. With an incoming cool front, I wore my waders and long sleeves for this one.
I headed up for a short 3 hours of fishing, and fished a new area of the lake. First smallmouth bass of the evening ended up being the biggest I landed, though I managed to lose a much bigger bass after a few jumps.

A few more feisty bass came to play, ended up landing 8 smallies. 

I also got to try my new camera's underwater capabilities.

The following week, I finally got the opportunity to try another new lake. I first fished this lake on ice last January. After having landed my a splendid smallmouth bass in the 4 lbs range on ice there, I knew I had to make it back there in the summer, with the float tube being perfect, as no motorboats are allowed on that lake.

Up in the Outaouais region of Quebec, the drive out is sort of long for a short afternoon/ evening outing, but the calm and serenity I get for float tube fishing, as well as the relaxing, scenic drive, is well worth it. 

After having mapped lake depths on the Navionics web site, the spots I identified online ended up producing most of the smallmouth bass I caught. Strangely enough, I was hooking more bass on topwater lures over 15 to 20 feet of water, than in shallower water under 5 feet. I guess I'm figuring out smallmouth bass in deeper lakes this summer, as most of my target bass have been largemouth bass over the past few years.

Again, I the biggest one of the evening ended up getting away, probably in the 2 to 2.5 lbs range. Landed a bunch of smaller ones up to 14 inches, and got to practice some more underwater photography.

Also got a nice "jump shot".

Sometimes, I'm surprised by how aggressive tiny bass can get. 

All in all, another fun exploratory outing to a new lake, may head back there at some point if I have enough time.

The following evening, I stayed closer to home, opting to throw a variety of topwater lures for bass and pike, in a spot I usually fish for muskies from my float tube.

Starting off casting a buzzbait, I had a smaller musky in the 36-38 inch range follow my lure all the way up to my feet. Being that I was on a float tube, I only saw it at the last second due to being low on the water, I wasn't quite able to get get a good enough figure eight to get the musky to strike. It sort of hovered next to me for a few seconds, then slowly swam off. 

I eventually switched to casting a Zara spook. Again, I was very surprised at the size of my first catch of the evening, a small bluegill about the length of my lure.

As it got dark, I tied on a weedless Spro frog, and order to fish the weedbedss and lily pads lining the shoreline. Missed a few good hits in the grass, sort of typical when fishing heavy weed cover for bass and pike. After missing 4 good hits, I switched to casting a PopR on the outer edges of the weeds.

Move paid off, I landed a small largemouth bass. 

Eventually, I tied on my buzzbait again, hoping for another shot at the musky I raised earlier on. No such luck, but I did get a good sized gar roll on my lure just before dark.

The following week started off with a guided outing for carp from shore. Was set to fish for lake trout off Patrick's boat later in the week, but that trip was cancelled due to stormy weather. When the wind finally calmed down on Friday, I figured I'd head out to chase some more smallmouth bass from the float tube while water and outer temps are still warm enough.

When I got to the lake and was ready to inflate my float tube, I noticed that one of the inflation valves had fallen off in my garage, so I had no way of inflating the tube. Not wanting to waste the day, I ended up wading "the slop" along the shorelines, and casting the drop offs. 

First bass of the day turned out to be my biggest on this lake to date, a nice 3 lbs smallmouth bass exploded on my PopR. 

When it comes to bass fishing, topwater lures are about the most satisfying method, that bass made my day. I landed another smaller bass on the PopR, but eventually switched to a shallow diving Rapala J9 which landed me a couple more smallies.

Glad to have found the valve in my garage when I came home, guess I'll be checking the valve's before heading out float tube fishing in the future....

After having caught a big smallmouth bass ice fishing a new lake last January, I had planned to return to give it a try from my float tube this summer. I first returned a few weeks ago, got some decent numbers of smaller bass.

Returned yesterday, just in time for the evening bite last night. I targeted the most successful areas based on my previous trip's experience. Didn't take long to get bit, this nice smallmouth was my first of a few in that size range.

Second spot yielded a couple smaller ones, until I hooked into a big bass, but didn't realize how big it was until a few jumps. After quite the intense tube side battle, I lipped the monster bass, which was barely hooked at the tip of it's jaw by this point. 

Measuring 20 inches, it weighed in at a couple ounces under 5 lbs, a very respectable fish for the surprisingly small lake, and for the region I was fishing. Turns out to be my biggest topwater bass, as well as the biggest bass landed from my float tube. Couldn't be more thrilled with my outing, if all goes as planned, I'll be back!

Sure enough, I headed back to the same lake a few days later, as we are still in middle of a late summer heat wave. Having learned the more productive bass areas over the the past few outings, I headed straight for the better spots. Lucky for me, topwater bite was on most of the afternoon, despite wind being stronger than predicted in forecast. Too make a long story short, I ended up landing 15 bass, losing a bunch more. 

Biggest two bass I managed to land were this stunning 21 incher, that weighed just under 4.75 lbs, due it it being sort of thinner than normal at that length.

The next real big one was a fat 19 incher that weighed in at 4 lbs even.

This new area I've been fishing has turned out to be infinitely more productive than expected. As a bonus, one of the locals I ran into pointed me to another lake where there are bass that supposedly get even bigger.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Night fishing for carp

 As summer finally arrived in Montreal, I planned on some more night fishing for carp. Not having pushed my guiding season much this year, staying local and fishing pre-baited carp for a couple hours after dark suits me fine.

Being that carp are bottom feeders that use their senses of taste and smell to find food, once a given area is properly baited for a few days, there is a good chance it won't take too long to get bit.

For my first outing, I prebaited a spot I haven't fished since last year. I headed back to fish the spot with my son Eli. Didn't take long for the rod baited with my sweet dream boilie to get hit. After a short fight, I netted Eli's first night time carp of the season, a nice specimen in the mid twenties range.

Nothing else biting that evening, I threw in the rest of the bait I brought along for another shot at it the following night. Unfortunately, all I managed to catch the following night was a small channel cat.

A couple weeks later, I decided to prebait a different spot for a couple nights in a row. I then returned to fish there around night fall. I cast out my rod, and before I even had a chance to setup the landing net, my rod went off. Landed a mid size channel cat, which was quite a surprise, as I have never caught a channel cat in that area despite having fished there numerous times over the past decade. Didn't bother with a picture.

I reset my line, and sure enough, I got hit at the last minute, literally 5 minutes before I was going to pack up and head home. This time it was a carp, but at 18 lbs, quote smaller than the average carp I get there, despite still being decent size. Sweet dream popup boilie did the trick.

Again, I brought along some more bait to chum for the following evening, which I did after releasing the carp.

The following night, I invited my friend Warren along to night fish for carp with me. When we got to my spot, I was surprised to find a couple people fishing there. They weren't carpers, they we just fishing with worms, while drinking and playing loud music. Extremely annoying, but has to be expected from time to time when pre baiting public waterways.

We set up a couple hundred feet up the bank, and sure enough, my rod with a popup fireball boilie got hit. Warren landed another mid size carp, didn't bother with any pics. Eventually, as it got darker and the mosquitoes came to feed, the annoying couple on our original spot finally left. We immediately moved the lines there, hoping that their blasting music hadn't scared of al the carp that I worked to attract with all my pre baiting.

Took about 45 minutes, something started toying with my line baited with a sweet dream popup boilie. I though it may have been a redhorse sucker, after a couple successive false runs. Whether or not, we'll never know, as the third attempt was successful. Warren hooked into the fish, and from the peeling drag that resulted, I knew it was way too big to be a sucker.

After an intense battle, we finally got a glimpse of the big carp near shore. Once I netted and lifted it, I knew that Warren had just landed his new personal best carp. The scale confirmed it, this beauty weighed in at 31 lbs, Warren's biggest ever!

After another couple unsuccessful night time carp outings, I gave them a rest for now, instead choosing to chase predators like bass, pike and muskies from my float tube while water and outer temps are warm enough. Will probably resume night time carp fishing again later in August.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Back from Mijocama - 2021 bass opener

Back from our annual 5 day bass fishing trip at Mijocama outfitter. This season marks my 20th consecutive year fishing at Mijocama, so by this point, I figured I has seen just about everything that Giles lake has to offer. Just when you think you may know it all, nature has a way of laughing in your face...

Day 1:

We got to Mijocama late in the morning, was around noon by the time we got unloaded and headed out onto Giles lake. Eli started the trip off by catching a small sunfish on his PopR.

After a while, we decided to do some trolling, and Eli was rewarded with a decent pike, which we decided to keep for brunch the following morning.

After staying out most of the evening for a non productive  bite using a variety of topwater lures, we headed in for the night, with Zev being quite bored.

Day 2:

The following morning, the bass bite was totally dead, no matter what we tried. All we managed were some sunfish using live worms, with Zev catching one of the smallest ones I've seen hooked.

With intermittent rain, we were stuck in the cabin much of the day, until the sun finally came out late afternoon, just in time for the evening bite.

Again, the bass bite was non existent, all we managed was another pike, while trolling just before dark. I handed Zev the rod, and he did a fine job fighting the fish.

My brother and his kids had more luck with the bass, they landed a couple smaller ones using live worms just before dark.

Another gorgeous sunset had me hoping for better fishing the following day.

Day 3:

Coldest morning of the trip, the outer temp dropped to single digits, I headed out alone for the morning bite. I managed to lose a big bass right near the boat, when it tangled into the branches of a sunken tree nearby. After breakfast, I headed out with Eli, and was rewarded with my first landed bass of the trip. 

Later on, Eli managed some back to back pike after the bass bite died down.

For the evening bite, my nephew Yehuda tagged along, and kept Zev company on our boat. Seems like they had big plans.

I finally hooked into a very nice bass, and handed Zev the line after horsing it away from the sunken trees I was fishing. Zev held on, and with a bit of help, managed to wrestle the big bass to the boat. Eli netted the fish, which measured in at 19 inches, weighing slightly over 3.5 lbs.

Needless to say, Zev was thrilled at having landed his new PB, and I rewarded him by letting him have one of my topwater frog lures.

Day 4:

With another warm front coming in, I was hopeful that the bas bite would finally pick up. 

Fishing the morning bite alone, I was rewarded with another pike early on.

And later with a couple big sunfish, but still no bass.

Crazy enough for late June at Mijocama, but that was all we managed despite fishing hard all day. Finally headed back to our chalet for our bonfire and fireworks at last light.

Day 5:

Our last day at Mijocama, and Eli still had no bass to show or. By now, I was the only one in our 25+ person group that bothered getting up for the morning bite, everyone else had just about given up hope, and preferred to sleep in.

Again, I was rewarded with another pike.

By some miracle, Eli managed his first bass of the trip casting a big topwater lure off our dock.

Eli and Yehuda had spent a couple days catching snakes, and brought this one along on board for the rest of the day.

I finally managed to land a small 12 inch bass on a topwater lure, didn't bother with a pic.

All in all, the trip was by far the most difficult 5 days of bass fishing I have ever encountered at Mijocama. After the past 2 seasons being more productive than normal, I seem to have got a bit spoiled, imagining that we'd run into the same sort of success again.

With a total of 6 pike and 4 decent bass landed in 5 days, I'd have sworn the lake was outfished if it had been my first time at Mijocama. Thankfully, after 20 years fishing there, I know better, and were booked for 2022.

For more information on bass fishing at Mijocama outfitter, click: