The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Multi species fishing to end the summer

With unseasonably warm temperatures during our last official week of summer, I made some time to fish for species that I have been neglecting in the recent months.

The first outing was a trip up to Coin Lavigne, to fish for rainbow trout and speckled brook trout. We arrived at Lac en Coeur around 9 AM, by which time the small lake already had 7-8 boats fishing on it. Talk about crowded conditions, but with kids in school, weekends are the only option.

Despite the high volume of boat traffic causing "elbow to elbow" conditions on the tiny lake, fishing was very productive. Rainbow trout were aggressively hitting our lines up near the surface, whether we fished deep or shallow. Trolling a Silver lake flasher spoon followed by 1/2 a worm on baitholder hook rigged about 3 feet behind the spoon, accounted for most of the trout we caught, but we managed to get some trolling a #2 mepps spinner in gold color.

Took less than 2 hours to get out 10 trout bag limit, which we kept for the table.

The following day, I finally got out onto Lac St Louis only the second time this season. This time it was with my friend (and veteran fishing guide) Mark. With moderate winds in the morning steadily increasing throughout the day, we started off anchoring deep to fish for lake sturgeon.

Didn't take long, and I boated my first sturgeon of the season after a nice fight that had it jump a few times.

The next sturgeon was significantly bigger, and put up the best fight I've had all season. It had the downrigger rod I was using bent to the point where I thought it was going to explode on me, but the rod held up just fine.

I released the big sturgeon, but strangely enough, it turned around and headed right back to the boat, to where I was able to actually pet it's snout. It turned again and did the same thing for a second time, before finally swimming down to the depths it came from.

After not catching any more sturgeon of the spot, we moved a bit deeper, and were quickly rewarded with another nice sturgeon.

By now, the winds were gusting strong, the waves increasingly getting bigger, and boat control was getting increasingly difficult. We opted to changed our target species to smallmouth bass, in an area sheltered from the high wind.

Not having had much time to target smallmouth bass this season, I was excited to have Mark show me a yet another new technique. Twitching flukes over weed patches, were were able to get into a couple hours of solid bass fishing, with a few of the smallmouth bass over the 4 lbs range.

Mark never ceases to amaze me with his unparalleled knowledge of the St Lawrence River, and his vast arsenal of tactics, specific to each spot and it's current flow, weather condition, etc. Along with his big Ranger boat fully equipped with the latest electronics and new 250 HP 4 stroke engine, his experience is sure to put anyone from beginners to seasoned pro's onto some of the best multi species fishing Montreal has to offer.

Mark can be contacted by clicking here.

Monday, September 3, 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.

July 20th update:

Another scorchingly hot and windless day, didn't have high hopes from my group of 4 visiting from Mexico city. Carp fishing was predictably slow, but Miguel, Jose, Gilberto and Jesus all managed to land their first carps

August 19th update:

After 4 weeks of no carp fishing due mainly to a lot of travel, I finally made it out to chase some carp with my kids, as they are off both school and camp as well.

Got a pretty late start for a Sunday at 10:15 am, luckily, we had the spot to ourselves for the first few hours. Water level was extremely low, and temperature had cooled off slightly since mid summer. Bite was predictably sporadic, but when the carp turned on to feed, we hooked up rather quickly.

Eli, Chaya, Levi and Zev (with a but of help) went a perfect 7 out of 7 carp landed.


August 20th update:

Went out for a short solo evening outing after dark. Bite turned on after I switched to using a Fireball boilie, hooked and landed my biggest carp of this season so far, a fat 31 lbs female.

Nice to finally get to fight a big carp again, between the guiding and my family outings, I rarely get to do so any more.

Followed up shortly after by another carp in the upper teens, and a small 5 lb channel catfish as well, all on the fireball boilies.

August 23rd update:

Back at it again, this time with my childhood friend Yohann and his 3 boys who were visiting from New York. I took a couple of my boys along as well, so we had quite the crowd.

His older son Elisha was up for the first carp, for some odd reason, he didn't seem to interested and let his younger brother David take the rod. BIG mistake. After a good battle, David landed this gorgeous mirror carp, biggest one I've seen come from that spot.

They are extremely rare in the are of the St Lawrence that we were fishing, maybe 1 out of 250 carp is a mirror carp, the rest are mainly common carp with a few muddlers. He definitely hit the jackpot with his first carp ever.

His younger brother Josh landed a small channel cat while we were unhooking the big mirror carp.

Elisha finally took the rod and landed his first carp:

My son Eli then proceed to land another channel cat:

Followed by another carp landed by my 6 year old Zev, with a lot of help from dad, including handlining the last 40 feet or so of line, as the carp had run my sinker up the line past the shock leader.

Yohann then landed the next carp:

After losing some more carp snagged in deep rock piles, David landed his first common carp, which also turned out to be the last one of the day:

All in all, another great day on the bank, with 5 of 9 carp landed, and 2 channel catfish, everyone got in on some action.

August 25th update:

With Yohann still in town, he and I headed out for one last outing before he headed home. This time, we chose to avoid the weekend crowds and fish after dark, just the 2 of us with the kids at home.

Outing was extremely relaxing, as the weather was calm, and the hordes of summer bugs seem to have died down.

Carp bite was very good on sweet dream boilies, we landed 3 of 3 carp and another channel catfish in a few hours of fishing.

September 2 update:

Took Gary, Donna, Riley and Tyson out for their first attempt at carp fishing to start off September. With moderate winds, cloud and rain in the forecast, I was hoping to finally get some of my clients onto a good, consistent bite. Most of my clients over the past couple months all ended up booking dog days that were extremely hot, sunny and windless, about the worst possible combination for carp fishing in the summer, so this one had me feeling that I'd be a lot busier throughout the outing.

We ended up with a solid 6 hours period of consistent action, with the family landing 11 of 15 carp, and one channel catfish as well. Had one double header on, but one of the carp got away to to a rare line cut.

All in all, they were thrilled with the outing, and with the quality of fishing that a decent day of carp fishing can turn out to be. Kids all broke their personal records by far, and should have a lifetime of good memories to remember. Hope to get out for a few more September outings before the start of fall.

Wednesday, August 15, 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 #6 - August 14 2018: Another scorcher

After a couple weeks of intense travelling to Hawaii, New York and Florida, I was more ready to kick back and relax in the Teton again. I decided to prospect a couple spots over a 3 to 40 hour period in the afternoon / evening heat.

My first spot has a small population of nice sized muskies. I don't own much musky tackle, so I decided to throw my musky jitterbug. Perfect topwater lure for the weed choked spot I was fishing, and light enough to be able to cast using a conventional medium action spinning rod. Managed one topwater hit in about 1.5 hours of casting, though I couldn't tell how big it was, didn't seem huge.

Moved on to my second spot looking for some bass or pike. No hits on my spinnerbait, I eventually tied on my trusted Pop R, which produced a couple smaller bass up to about 14 inches.

Opting for action shots with the bass, I discovered that calm water produces some interesting mirror images. Fish in the first pic almost looks like it has two heads.

With more warm weather in the forecast, I'll likely be back at it very shortly.

Episode #5 - July 26 2018: Nice to be back

Between my trip up North, guided carp outings ,and stormy weather, I hadn't been out on the Teton float tube for 3 weeks. After catching some big smallmouth bass on topwater lures during my morning bike ride earlier in the week, I decided to head out for an evening of chasing largemouth bass. Storms were gone, high humidity had us back in another heat wave. Water was quite warm, but enough to keep me cool until dark.

With the winding gusting close to 30 KM/h, I decided to tie on a Pop R, and cast shoreline structure while drifting with the wind. Sook about 20 minutes to get my first hit, and aggressive largemouth bass inhaled my lure.

Drift continued for another hour and a half or so, during which time I hooked another couple bass, largest one a bit under 3 lbs.

After having drifted a good kilometer or so over close to 2 hours, I decided to work my way back against the wind. This being to workout portion of my outing, I decided to tie on a spinnerbait, and casted / slow trolled back to my launch point over the next 45 minutes. The strategy worked out well, I ended up landing another 5 largemouth bass on the spinnerbait.

Got off the water shortly after sunset, close to 8:30 PM. with 8 largemouth bass landed in 3 hours, another successful outing and good workout at the same time had me sleeping well that night.

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.