The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Canadian summer carp fishing report

Carp have finally finished spawning, managed to get my first couple groups of the summer out for some carp fishing. The extreme heat we have been experiencing, along with the lack of any wind or clouds, made for very tough carp fishing conditions. The water is close to the temperature of a bathtub for the top 5 feet of depth or so, only starts getting slightly cooler about 6 or 7 feet down, and not by much. Probably the first time I can remember seeing my car's thermostat reach the 40 C mark.




Despite the high heat, we did manage to hook some carp, and thankfully, my the kids and adults I fished with did a great job, landing a perfect 8 of 8 carp over a couple days of fishing.









Have a pike trip planned for next week, hope to have some more carp fishing pics and updates in the latter half of July.

July 19th update:

Did some more carp fishing with a childhood friend of mine that came to visit from the USA for a few days. Another sickeningly hot day without wind, had the bite slower than ever for this time of year, he and the kids managed to land 3 of 4 carp on our day trip.




He and I hit another spot the following evening for a last few hours of carp fishing before he returned home. More channel cats than carp came to play, landed 3 cats and one more carp.



Have another guided outing on July 20th, hope to have some more pics to post...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Amazing pike fishing at Le Domaine Shannon

For our yearly trip to Le Domaine Shannon, we chose to return to Lac Wahoo. Known for its giant pike, we knew it would be a challenge to try landing one with the recent ban on the use of dead baitfish. After having landed some giants there on our last trip before the baitfish ban was in effect, we figured we would be lucky to catch one over 10 lbs or so at best.

I brought along my 2 sons Avi and Levi, aged 17 and 16. Old enough to have the patience to cast or troll for hours on end, I didn't have to worry about younger kids getting bored when fish don't co-operate.

First order of the day was to set up the two boats we reserved. One boat was designated as the trolling boat, to which I mounted my portable sonar, and a couple downeast "salty" rod holders.


This allowed us to get our lures trolling at the proper depth at all times, avoided hand fatigue, and allowed us to take turns on the rods in a fair manner to all. After all, kids will be kids even when they are in there mid teens, especially brothers that close in age...

The second boat was our casting boat. I mounted a portable electric motor with a heavy duty marine battery, which provided enough power for us to work large areas without having to anchor or possibly spook the pike with a noisy gas motor.


Having the proper release tools for big fish is necessary if you plan on releasing trophy fish such as giant pike. We used either mesh or rubber net to avoid damaging the scales, a wet landing mat to avoid them scraping in the boat, and gloves to avoid possibly shredding our fingers from violent sudden head shakes. A good pair of pliers, jaw spreaders, and bolt cutters in the tackle box as well.


Day 1:

After breaking camp, we headed out trolling in the heat of the day, with the temperature hitting near 30 C. Trolling mainly Rapala Husky Jerks and Rapala Countdowns, we hooked a few small pike. Eventually, Levi landed the first decent pike of the trip, a bit over 5 lbs, which we kept for shore lunch. Not to be outdone, Avi landed this fat 9.5 lbs pike shortly after, while trolling a Rapala Husky Jerk:


I demonstrated proper revival and release technique to the boys:



On the next pass, I landed this beauty of a pike, which measured 38 inches and weighed in at 12 lbs. 




I had not imagined to get that lucky on our first day...

Later that evening, we headed our for some topwater action. Sure enough, my first fish hit a Zara Spook, chunky 5 pounder with an attitude to match.


We were caught off guard by swarms of unexpected black flies, as they are usually gone by July. They were eating us alive despite us being soaked in muskol and deep woods off!, so we headed back to the cabin a bit early.

Day 2:

With heavy rain forecast, Levi and I head out at 6:00 AM to try to land him a nice one before the storm. Sure enough, he beat our family record by landing this 43 inch monster pike on our first pass! Took a couple shots of the giant pike:




Not much else biting, we sat out most of the day in the cabin with heavy rain. Luckily, the rain subsided early enough for us to get out for an evening troll, as it was to windy to cast. A few more smaller pike came to play, and Avi then caught the first walleye of the trip. At 19 inches, it's the biggest one I've ever seen come out of Lac Wahoo, as most are typically under 14 inches.


Day 3:

Nothing too interesting fishing wise. Many smaller fish caught casting topwater lures and spinnerbaits. Caught some smaller ones for the table, one of them confirmed my theory of pike cannibalising each other.



Day 4:

Hot sunny morning, we went off to cast a big shallow flat towards the end of the lake. After losing his Zara spook in some trees, Levi tied on on old "Top Dog" lure I had given him a few years ago. First cast, resulted in an explosion followed by the sound of screaming drag from the reel. I though he had the setting too lose, but when the fish ran by the boat, I got the shakes. He had another monster pike on the line. With no leader on, a cheap $10 reel, and lots of patches of heavy weeds, I coached him through the crazy battle put up by the beast. Levi listened well, kept his cool, and sure enough, we landed the monster pike, which measured 41 inches! Took a couple shots of it as well.




Levi hit the jackpot with that pike, landing the fish of MY dreams!

We trolled later in the day due to wind, but casting was all that worked, I hooked a chunky 7 pounder later that evening casting a crankbait:


Day 5 was very slow, we din't bother trolling at all, as the lake remained mirror calm all day. A couple more keeper sized pike for the table hit our topwater lures, and we headed home later that afternoon.

All in all, I didn't imagine we would end up doing as well as we did without the use of baitfish. Perseverance paid off, the boys literally fished their asses off for 8 to 10 hours per day. Hope to head back to Le domaine Shannon again next season.

For those of you interested in some amazing pike fishing, contact le Domaine Shannon by clicking:
http://freshwaterphil.com/ledomaineshannon.cfm

Friday, July 6, 2018

Canada float tube fishing - Season 1

I recently got myself a float tube to fish from. I've never tried one yet despite having fished for over 40 years, so I'm excited about messing around with my new toy. I plan to chronicle my season in this blog post. Episodes will be posted below in reverse chronological order, in order to give you the latest story / report at the top of this post.


Episode #4 - July 5 2018: Cooling off in heat wave

After a week up North bass fishing with the kids, we came back just in time for the start of one of most brutal July heat waves to hit Quebec in many years. With the ground temperature up near the 40C mark, and humidex factors even hotter, any outdoor activities were tough. I had a couple days of guided outings for carp in waters that felt like bathtub temperature, but on the final day of the heat wave, and not having been able to bike or shore fish, I finally made it out for a couple hours of float tube bass fishing on the "Teton".

Getting in the water made all the difference, I was able to get in a good workout and fish at the same time, all while staying comfortably cooler than I would have been if I were standing on dry ground, let alone pedalling a bike.

Luckily for me, it didn't take long, caught this chunky bass on my second cast, using a Pop R as usual.



Heading up North to fish for pike next week, hope to explore some more areas from my Teton float tube when I get back.


Episode #3 - June 20 2018: Surprise catch

Warm weather and strong winds were in the forecast the last day of spring. As I only had that date left for a quick afternoon outing, I planned to hit a spot that would be sheltered from most of the wind gusts. Sure enough, water was quiet calm despite the wind gusting up to 40 km/h at some of my other spots.

Plan was to cast a variety of topwater lures, while making passes paddling up and down the bank with my fins.

The outing started off with a bang, caught a small pike on my Pop R on the first cast. Luckily, it din't cut the line.


I then proceeded to land 3 largemouth bass on my first pass up the bank, all on the Pop R as well.
Little wonder it's one of my favorite lures.




Despite the good bite, I resolved to try a new lure with each pass, so when it was time to head back to my starting point, I switched gears completely, and tied on a Booyah Counterstrike buzzbait, hoping the quick retrieve would trigger some more aggressive fish, and possibly a bigger pike.

I didn't take long. My third cast drew a massive topwater strike. As soon as the bigger fish jumped, I knew I had hooked into my first musky of the season.

Being in a float tube without proper musky landing gear, I just hoped it would all come together properly, i.e. a safely landed fish, no injuries, some good pics, and successful release.

I had to let the musky fight itself out before attempting to land it by hand, it towed my float tube around a bit, as it peeled drag from my reel. My brand new Ugly Stik elite that I had purchased about 2 hours before hooking the musky held up well, and once it tired, I snapped a pic with the Booyah Counterstrike buzzbait still hooked up.


Luckily, I was able to grab the musky by it's jaw without worrying about treble hooks, as the buzzbait comes with a single hook. Hooked in the side of it's mouth, I didn't need any pliers.


Got a selfie in my float tune with the musky. Best I could do under the circumstances, as I was alone.


And a nice pic of me reviving it, moments before it splashed off with a burst of energy.


Super pumped that my first topwater musky came on a float tube with light bass gear. Made it all the more exciting, as the musky was a good 36-38 inches long.

And the result of using my hand as the landing net:



Got a short video clip as well.



I kept moving along, in hindsight, I probably should have made a couple more passes with the buzzbait at the same area. No more hits, I tied on my Zara spook.Was having some issues with the spook picking up weeds on most casts, but just before switching up, I noticed a nice splash in an open pocket of a thick mat of weeds. A perfect cast landed spot on in the small opening, and a nice topwater explosion hit on the first twitch of my lure.

Another hungry bass on board the "Teton".


Bite died down after that catch. After missed hit on a Spro frog, and nothing doing trolling a spinnerbait for a while, heavy clouds moved in towards evening, so I called it a day.

Going to give the float tube a well deserved rest, as I'll be chasing bass from a boat most of next week.




Episode #2 - June 17 2018: Topwater trial

After field testing my new float tube the previous week, I waited for a warm evening with not much wind to try topwater fishing for bass, as bass season just opened 2 days prior to my outing. I also test a new Ugly stik GX2 rod (which I later exchanged) using a PopR.

Getting a late afternoon start to my outing, the water was at it's warmest peak of the day. Smaller largemouth bass were very aggressive, to the point where I landed 2 bass on the same lure at the same time. Very similar to the pic of my son I posted to my tip of the week post last week.


Later that evening, a couple bigger ones hit my topwater lure, though not the size I was hoping for, still a great fight from the float tube from a couple of bass up to about 15 inches.


Had planned to cast a buzzbait as well, but I jus stuck with a Pop R all outing, as the bite was good. Will have to try the buzzbait next time.

Episode #1 - June 10 2018: The field test

Ari was invite to fish a small privatized lake in the lower Laurentians by a friend that has a chalet on the lake. Apparently, they privately stock the lake with some rainbow trout every spring, so he was hoping to catch some nice trout for dinner.

Not being much of a trout fisherman, I wasn't really planning to go along, but with my new float tube arriving two days prior, I figured |I'd get to field test it on a small lake with no current and not much wind.

After unloading, setting up, and inflating the float tube, I was ready to launch from the dock. Gotta love a flaot tube named "Teton" if you're from Quebec!



I set up a small flasher spoon a few feet ahead of a baitholder hook baited with a live worm, and start slow trolling, by propelling the float tube backwards using fins/flippers on my wading shoes. My neoprene waders held up well to the frigid water in the mountain lake. No trout came to play, but did catch a load of mid sized sunfish, perch, rockbass and a few tiny smallmouth bass.



Aside from being able to target smaller waterways with little to no boat traffic, I get a bit of a workout kicking my way from spot to spot to catch fish.

Think I'm going to enjoy this new toy.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Mijocama fishing trip 2018

Summer finally arrived, kicked it off with our annual family trip to Mijocama to chase some big largemouth bass, and possibly land some northern pike as well. My brother joined us with his family, as well as a good 15 or so friends and acquaintances, we pretty much took up half of the entire camp with our group.

Having gone to Mijocama with my family for 16 years, often more than once, we pretty much have our fishing patterns and spots mapped out for early summer bass fishing.

Simple live worms still remain the most effective technique for both numbers and size, so my kids stick to good old fashioned bobber fishing, though we use popping corks to attract the bigger bass.

While I do resort to live worms with the kids on my boat, I save myself the last hour or so of daylight and dedicate it to fishing topwater lures. When I'm lucky enough, my kids are still asleep at the crack of dawn, so I'll sneak out and maybe get an hour of extra topwater lure fishing for bass.



Mijocama's big bass did not dissapoint this year. The action remained steady, my kids and I caught a decent amount on lunkers.

My 17 year old son Avi was captain of his boat, and brought along my 16 year old son Levi, along with my 14 year old nephew.

Avi landed most of the fish, so much for me trying to convince him to guide the younger ones when the bass fishing is this good.






Not to be outdone, Levi caught his fair share of big bass, including the 2 biggest bass of the trip at 4 and 4.75 lbs.





My nephew doesn't fish much, but he got in on the double header action with his cousins.




I had the 3 younger kids on my boat. We did manage our fair share of bass, and did quite well with the pike as well, which were biting a lot more than in the past few years.








Eli landed the biggest fish of the trip, a nice 3 foot long northern pike.





The topwater bite was quite good, I probably landed more bass and pike on the lure than any season before. Mainly smaller ones, but my kids took turns coming out with me and got to fight every fish I hooked.



Big sunfish were fun to catch, we targeted them by sight fishing them patrolling their nests.


The little ones got their boating practice.




We kept some of the smaller pike and bass for tasty shore lunches.




I couldn't have asked for a better trip, weather, fishing and company was great. We're already booked for next summer.

More information on booking trips at Mijocama is available at:
http://freshwaterphil.com/mijocama-outfitter.cfm