Carp fishing guide

Montreal carp fishing guide

Friday, June 11, 2021

Pike and walleye fishing at Le Domaine Shannon

Just got back from another trip to Le Domaine Shannon. After 2 trips in July and August to Lac Wahoo last summer, I decided to try it again in early June, as I had never been there during June in the past. With none of my boys being available to come along, I invited my long time friend Jimmy to come along. Luckily for me, he accepted my invite, and I was happy to have a top caliber fisherman such as Jimmy join me in chasing those elusive, trophy sized Northern pike. 

After breaking camp on Sunday morning, we hit the lake around noon. Weather was unseasonably hot, near the 30 degrees C mark. Calm enough for topwater fishing, I tied on my trusted Zara spook. Sure enough, I hooked a couple fish in my first few casts, the second one being the larger of the two.


I was happy to have broken the ice, and surprised to have landed a pike that size so quickly, as Lac Wahoo is notorious for having crazy numbers of tiny pike. Sure enough, that was mainly what we caught for most of the afternoon, at which point point we headed to shore for a snack and break from fishing.

Before heading out on the lake for the evening bite, I took Jimmy to on of my shore fishing spots nearby. The spot has always paid off with some decent pike, and more recently with the occasional keeper sized walleyes that make for tasty shore lunches.

Sure enough, the spot paid off, and I hooked back to back pike, this one being the bigger ones of the two.


Unfortunately, the wind was way to strong to properly fish my evening topwater spot on the lake. We managed some more smaller pike casting spoons and spinnerbaits, before the hoards of nasty black flies chased us off the lake about 1/2 hour before dark.

The following morning, I woke up to winds blowing at gale force. Casting and boat control was very tough, so were spent much of the day trolling at various depths, none of which produced much. We managed a few very small fish casting in the few sheltered bays and creeks, but nothing exciting or consistent. No chance at topwater fishing all day, I hoped for better the following day.

I was up bright and early the following morning, and glad to see the wind had died down, the mirror like surface of the lake was exactly what I had hoped for. Headed to my prime topwater casting spot, Jimmy and I managed to get many hits on our surface lures, but many of them the closed mouthed hits that drove us insane. Still, we managed to hook one of 2 of every 10 hits, but none we of any interesting sizes. 

After brunch, we fished my shore spot, and I was rewarded with the first walleye of the trip, which made for a tasty dinner. 


Back on the lake, we decided to visually troll the shoreline in 2-4 feet using spinnerbaits. Move paid off, we landed good numbers of small pike. Jimmy was wondering where the big ones were hiding, so when I landed this smaller one with some big gashes around the mid section, we knew we had been trolling the right depth.


Again, nothing sizeable, but good numbers, about 35 pike landed throughout the day, despite the North wind piking up enough to ruin any chances at an evening topwater bite.

By Wednesday morning, a cold front had dropped the temperature significantly, we we out in our warmest clothing fishing in cold weather with strong North winds. Fish was OK, but sizes were smaller than ever, with baby pike hitting various 4-5 inches lures.


We nicknamed it "day of the dinks".

Finally, I hooked into a decent pike by mid afternoon, after being driven crazy by constant follows and nips at out lures without much hookups. 


Jimmy eventually hooked into our first big pike of the trip, but unfortunately it came off just as he got it boatside. I didn't see it, but Jimmy was shocked at the pike's girth, as the big females in Lac Wahoo seem to have the largest girth ratios I've ever encountered.

Before heading out for the evening bite, I managed another keeper sized walleye fishing from shore.


Luckily, the wind died down just in time for us to finally get a shot at casting some topwater lures in my evening hot spot. Jimmy managed to raise another good fish, but no hit. 

Thursday morning was the coldest of the trip. Strong winds had us casting spinnerbaits and spoons, but fish were not cooperating much, we landed a couple smaller pike again. Finally, casting a spinnerbait on one of the last bays of the trip, Jimmy coerced a decent pike into hitting his lure. I netted his first keeper sized pike, and that was it for the trip. My camera seems to have malfunctioned, pic was kind of blurry...


All in all, I was happy to have given Lac Wahoo a shot in June, as I have now fished it multiple times in May, many times in July, and once in August as well. May and July seem to have been most productive  for pike overall, but my next trip to Le Domaine Shannon will likely be on a walleye lake.

For more information on booking a trip to Le Domaine Shannon, click:







Friday, May 28, 2021

Fraser River white sturgeon fishing

For a number of years, I've been dreaming of heading out to British Columbia's Fraser River, to chase one of the planet's biggest and strongest freshwater fish, the mighty white sturgeon. For a number of reasons, I wasn't able to get out there in the past, but I finally decided to pull the trigger on this fishing trip a couple months ago. I invited my friend Mike along, and thankfully, he was as game about this trip as I was.

After landing in Vancouver airport Sunday morning, we drove East to our B&B in Chilliwack, stocked up on supplies, check out some local sights, and headed off to get some sleep before heading out Monday morning, for the first of three consecutive days fishing on the Fraser.

Day 1:

Our guide for the first day of the trip was Steve Kaye, owner of  Sturgeon hunter fishing . Steve runs the operation, and has been guiding for white sturgeon on the Fraser River for over two decades. Aside from having a ton of experience, his boats are perfectly suited for the style of fishing we were going to use to catch some of these prehistoric river monsters.


After making sure that our fishing licenses and mandatory sturgeon conservation tags were in order, we headed off to a small slough in the river to catch some  squawfish (Northern pikeminnows) as bait. In addition to the squawfish, they also use chunks of salmon meat, ooligans (some sort of local smelt), and eel. 

Once we had enough bait, we made the run to Steve's first spot. 


As with still fishing other species of big bottom feeders such as lake sturgeon or blue catfish, one of the keys to success is to take the time to find big fish before setting up the lines. Sonars with sidescan are ideal, as the let you see fish off to the sides of the boat, and to the trained eye, differentiating between bigger and smaller fish is simple enough. Once a good number of sizeable sturgeons are located, boat is anchored upstream of the location, and 1 rod per person is set, using big 16-20 oz sinkers to keep the bait on bottom.


The rods are then placed in holders, and the waiting game begins...


After some small bumps until mid morning, we finally hooked into out first sturgeon of the trip. I was first up, so I took the heavy rod, and fought the fish, with the help of a fighting belt. Unfortunately, the belt should have been placed lower, so the fight was more brutal than necessary. I sort of burned my arms out a bit too much due to improper techniques, but was still very happy to land my biggest freshwater fish up to that point, as well as cross the last freshwater species of sportfish off my bucket list. Measuring about 6.5 feet and weighing en estimated 150 lbs, we opted to release it off the side of the boat, as BC fishing regulations forbid removing sturgeons over 60 inches from the water. Fish are measure to the fork of the tail, rather than the tip as we do here in Quebec, so they are actually a bit longer than the measurements we took.


Mike was up for the next fish. This one turned out to be slightly smaller, and Mike muscle the sturgeon to the boat rather quickly. 60 inches on the nose, we were able to get it on deck fr a quick pic before releasing it.


I was up for the next fish, it was already early afternoon by the time if hit. With my arms still quite sore, and this sturgeon being considerably bigger than my first one, we opted to tow it to shore for in water pics after the battle. Being that the only spot we could land it and get pics was over a kilometer away, most of the fight took place while moving as opposed to being anchored. Mike and I tag teamed this one, taking turns fighting it. As most white sturgeons do, the fish jumped a few times, giving us an idea of it's size. Ended up measuring just over 7 feet long at the fork, and estimated to weigh about 225 lbs by our guide.


That was all for day one, Mike and I were thrilled to land some real nice fish.

Day 2:

We met up with Steve again for our second day of white sturgeon fishing on the Fraser River. The rain had stopped, we faced a mix of sun and clouds, and slightly warmer weather. My was up for the first fish of the day. Once it hit and jumped a couple times, we knew it was bigger than all the fish caught the previous day. Mike handled the beast of a fight like a pro, and we landed this very nice white sturgeon measuring 90 inches (7.6') at the fork, weighing an estimated 250 lbs or so.


My next fish was a good 6+ feet long, gave a few jumps, before finding a big sunken tree nearby to get tangled into. Try as we might, we weren't able to get it free from any of the angles, and eventually the line snapped as Steve was trying to work it out of the wood.

Following fish turned out to be the smallest of the trip, I had a rather easy time reeling it in on the oversized rods. A bit over 4 feet long, we heaved it on board for a quick pic before the torpedo release.


Mike then hooked into what was likely a 300 + lbs fish. It jumped a few times, and then headed for some sunken trees downstream. Steve pulled the anchor in attempt to get it away from the trees, as Mike muscled the huge sturgeon away from danger. It then ran downstream and started to cross the river, as Steve circled the boat away from the area that had shallow water and sunken logs. A few more jumps, and then the giant dove down making a screaming run, just before the line hit some underwater and snapped. Total heartbreaker, that ended out second day on the water.

Day 3:

Steve employs a few other guides in his operation, and we met up with Rod, just as he was getting launched.


Rods style is a bit different than Steve's, and he spent a lot more time cruising around looking for bigger fish on the sidescan sonar. Eventually, he found a spot he liked, and we got set up. Mike was up for the first fish, and when it hit, it seems to have snagged or wrapped itself in the line as opposed to a standard hookset in the mouth. After a few minutes of just holding bottom and not much running or headhakes, it popped off. 


We set up again on the same spot, and this time, it didn't take long until we got bit again. As we were fishing an area with significantly more current than the previous days, this was by far the toughest fight we had to deal with. The big sturgeon ran close to 1000 feet downstream after jumping. Mike fought to turn it, and at some point, I jumped in to crank it in. Once my arms eventually from recovering all that line and trying to get it to the surface boatside, Mike to the rod just in time for it to run back downstream again. It was being a lot tougher this time, either digging down or dodging, and jumping a few times, before I took over again. When I finally got it near the boat, Mike took over again, and eventually muscles it into submission, while we towed it to shore for pics. This Sturgeon was probably the fattest one, with a girth of 43 inches, the a fork measurement of 86 inches was a bit shorter than his big one landed the previous day, but weight roughly the same at 250 lbs.


Needless to say, Mike was quite happy, as evident in this head shot.


Rest of the day was calm. Just as I was joking about the remote possibility of landing the biggest fish of the trip at the last minute, the line got hit. I grabbed the rod just in time for the fish to make a 1000 foot run downstream, during which it jumped a couple times. I was quite sure it would be one of the biggest of the trip. After a while, I finally got it turned. I was expecting it to run directly at us, but instead it sort of just sat in current allowing to slowly work it back to the boat. I took over 1/2 hour to do so, and once I got it boatside, I figured it make another crazy ruin downstream. Luckily for us, it seemed to have gassed itself out, I brought it boatside, and handed mike the rod to hold why we towed it back to shore for pics and I git my waders on.

When we finally beached, and were about the get fish up in the shallows for pics, it decided to start fighting again. With both myself and Rod in the water, Mike kept trying to muscle it up over a mud ridge, in what was likely the most intense couple minutes of the trip. He finally did so, and we got some nice shots of the biggest sturgeon of trip, measuring 91 inches (7.7') at the fork, and weighing at least 250 lbs according to Rod's estimate.





The fishing trip could not have had a better ending. White sturgeon are by far the most powerful freshwater fish I've ever fought, and the strong current in the Fraser River only makes it tougher, yet more rewarding to land one of these magical beasts. They are almost entirely made of muscle, and giant torpedo heads with powerful tails generate insane amounts of power in strong current.



Here is some video footage of runs, jumps, trash talking and good laughs. Warning: Viewer discretion is advised. 



Reflecting on my first ever trip to British Columbia and landing our first few white sturgeons, I have a hunch that we may end up back there at some point in time to have another shot at the real prehistoric river monsters of the Fraser River.

As usual many thanks are in order. First, I thank God for giving me the opportunity and means have lived this experience. I thank my wonderful wife for holding down the fort while I was away, and my friend Mike for joining me. With his matching sense of humor and beastly strength, I can't think of many friends better suited to chase giants with.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank our guides Steve and Rod from https://www.sturgeonhunter.com/ . Having fished with many guides both in the USA and Canada, I can safely say that they are among the most knowledgeable and professional guides I've fished with. Their boats and equipment are top notch, and their combined decades of experience fishing for white sturgeons on the FRaser river are a huge part of what made this latest fishing adventure a smashing success.





Thursday, May 13, 2021

My biggest carp - New PB!

 Haven't been doing to much carp fishing lately, being that my early season hot spot is in Ontario, and the province is closed to visitors until the end of next week. While casting for pike has been quite productive as far as numbers, I finally decided to head back for a few hours of carp fishing with my 9 year old son, after having pre-baited one of my better trophy spots for a couple nights in a row.

Got to out spot around 11 AM, set up two lines, one baited with one of my sweet dream popup boilies, the other with one of my fireball popups. After not getting any hits for a bit over an hour, I reset the lines after a quick lunch.

Success was almost immediate, I hooked into my first carp of the day within 5 minutes or so, on the sweet dream popup boilie. Zev did a good job getting the other line out, and netting the big carp in my new oversized landing net. A nice 26 lbs fish to start the day, also happened to be my biggest of the season up until that point.


After a couple quick pics by my aspiring camera man, the carp was released in good shape, and I reset the lines. Another hit within less than 5 minutes, this one toyed with the line a few times before making it's run. Patience paid off, and I got a solid hookset. From the amount of drag being peeled of my reel, I had a good feeling this carp was going to be over 30 lbs. When I finally saw the fat carp, I knew it was going to be one of my biggest, due to it's huge girth, as well as the amount of torque it had in each run.

I finally wore it out enough for Zev to net it, and when I lifted it out of the water, I had a very good feeling that it was a new PB. Sure enough, it weighed in just over 41 lbs, beating my previous best of 38.5 set 12 years ago!


The massive tail on this big sucker gives an idea of where those powerful runs come from.


I was ecstatic about finally having broke the 40 lbs mark, into my 17th season of carping. I had a good feeling that spot would eventually pay off with a giant carp, and now I'm very happy to be one of the few carpers that managed to land a 40+ lbs carp in my home province of Quebec. 


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Ice out carp fishing early spring

 With the kids off from school for passover vacation, and a warm sunny afternoon in the forecast, I took my 15 and 9 year old sons for their first outing of the year. As usual, we hit my early season spot for some ice out carp fishing.

While my bait of choice for catching carp in near freezing water temperatures are normally my fireball boilies, I was not able to use them for this outing, due to passover restrictions. My next best choice was frozen corn, which would limit me to fishing a bit closer to shore than I typically would. 

We headed to my spot in Ontario, where I was able to take advantage of the new rule allowing for up to 3 lines per person while carp fishing, instead of one. While were were technically allowed 9 rods between 3 of us, I was fine putting out 4 lines to keep things manageable.

Arriving shortly after 11:00 am, I got set up within 1/2 hour or so. I put out two of my standard 12 foot carp rods, and two shorter 8 foot rods, making it easier for my younger son to fight any carp that may hit those.


 The ice was still thawing across the river bank, so water temps was quite close to freezing.



About 2 hours into the outing, one of the shorter rods went off. Was very nice to have the bite alarm singing with the first run of the year. I set into the carp, and coached my 9 year old son through much of the fight, though he still needed a bit of help. Luckily for him, carp are sort of lethargic when water temperature is that cold. He landed the 18 lbs carp within a couple minutes, with my 15 year old son on the net.


One hour or so later, the same rod went off. This time, my 15 year old was up. He did a fine job fighting the fish, as he is well experienced by now. I netted the bigger carp, which weighed in at 22 lbs.


After a couple more hours, we got another run. This time, it was my turn. Not much of a fight from this smaller carp on a 12 foot rod, probably in the 10 to 12 lbs range, didn't bother weighing it.


Having all caught our first carp, I didn't bother sticking around, as the kids were getting hungry. We headed home happy with our successful carp fishing trip....

After some unsuccessful carp fishing outings closer to home in much colder water, I headed back to Ontario with my friend Warren, hoping to put him onto his first carp of the season.

Again, we took advantage of the new regulations, setting up 5 lines for carp between both of us. Baited with a variety of corn, boilies and popups, I was curious to see which would do better. Sure enough, my fireball boilies and sweet dream boilies got hit first as expected. After fumbling on the first fish and a couple missed runs, Warren finally landed his first carp of the year, a chunky 21 lbs female.


I followed up with a smaller carp that hit just as Warren was releasing his. Low teens, I didn't bother with the pic.

Warren hooked the next carp, this one put up a bit of a better fight, and ended up weighing just over 20 lbs. 


I ended the outing off with this decent mid teens carp.





Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Early spring float tube fishing

 With a splendid week of double digit highs, I was happy to finally get out on open water for some early spring fishing. Though most of the shallow slack water areas I fish still have ice cover, I know of a spot where the water would be open due to a warmer water inflow into a shallow marsh.

Being surrounded in thick mud, I preferred to use my float tube to navigate the marsh. Luckily, my neoprene waders are very warm, and I used a pair of thermal socks just be be sure I'd be comfortable spending a good 6 hours in the water.

Being my first time ever fishing the spot, I started off following conventional wisdom. Early spring and cold water would normally have most predatory species sort of lethargic, so I slow fished with a mixed or wacky rigged worms, swimbaits, and jigs. As the water was shallower than I'm normally used to, and being that I don't particularly enjoy slow fishing with plastics, I eventually switched to throwing a spinnerbait. Took a while, but I eventually hooked and landed my first pike of the spring.


I eventually scaled down my presentation, switching to a small gold spinner, probably #2 to #3 in size. I dressed it with a feathered treble hook. The switch paid off, and I landed 2 more pike, losing a third right next to the float tube, which also turned out to be the biggest pike of the day. A bit later on, I also landed my first bowfin of the season, it was quite small, and managed to hop off the hook just as I was about to snap a picture holding it up by the line.

I ended the day with a very nice slab of a crappie, my first since late 2019.


After the successful outing, I decided to head back to the same area the following day. As the pike were hitting shallow, I was hoping to get at least one hit on a topwater lure. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was completely off, and the wind and current made it nearly impossible to present topwaters for most of the day.

Instead of topwater lures, I opted to cast shallow running jointed Rapalas in a couple patterns. Both landed some pike within the first hour or so into my outing.



After trying a bigger Williams Wabbler spoon as well as a Pop R, I switched back to the small spinner I had used the previous day. The bite picked up, and I managed to land another 7 pike, losing a couple as well.


By mid afternoon, the pike bite slowed down, but I kept at it. Eventually, I hooked and landed another bowfin. Not huge, but bigger than the one I hooked the previous day.


With about 1 hour to go in my outing, the wind calmed down enough for me to attempt using another topwater lure. I opted to ty on a Zara Spook, which I casted for a good 45 minutes or so, before tying my small spinner back on, for the last pass of the day before heading home.

I was sure glad I did, as I hooked into bigger bowfin within a few casts. For those of you than never had the pleasure fighting a bowfin, they are quite powerful for their size, and have endless stamina. Good fight from the float tube too.


Measuring 21 inches, I didn't bother trying to weigh it from the float tube, I'd guess in the 2.5 to 3 lbs range. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and head to head home.

I may head back there again next week, depending on the weather, and fishing condition elsewhere. The one thing I did learn, is that I'll be much better off having some sort of lip gripper tool on board when targeting big bowfins, as they are nearly impossible to get a good hold of for float tube selfies, and those sharp teeth can easily make a mess of my fingers if not handled properly.

Either way, this new spot will go onto my list for late winter / early spring float tube outings.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Fairy tale ending to my ice fishing season

 The past 2-3 weeks have hands down been my slowest ice fishing in a good decade or so. After not getting any ice fishing done in the last week of February, followed by a lackluster (borderline disastrous) 4 day ice fishing trip with Ari, the followed by back to back outings getting skunked for pike using baited tip up lines, I was ready for one more shot at ice fishing before calling it a season. With today's high reaching 10 C, and a few days next week with a forecast in the mid teens, I have some open water fishing planned for then.

For this last ice fishing outing, I gave myself the choice of two spots. I had never fished the first one, and after doing much research, I gave up on that plan. Instead, I headed back to a lake I first tried last spring, just as covid was starting to hit Canada. I had good success there, catching some monstrous white perch, as well as a decent bass, just before the provincial shutdown affected any more possible outings there at that time.

For today's outing, I was expecting a tough bite, as I know that place has been getting a crazier than normal amount of fishing pressure, as have many other spots.

I got there shortly before 9 AM, and trekked out to where I was to get started. The plan was to "run and gun", i.e. fishing each ice hole for just a few minutes and moving along. Not wanting to get bogged down by smaller fish, I rigged my main line with a mid size Yo Zuri rattlebait, and the follow up "finesse" line with a W3 Rapala jigging rap.

Drilling 18 to 20 inches of ice was a breeze with my Ion G2 auger, but fish were far an few in between. 2 hours into the outing, all I had landed was one small perch. On my 18th ice hole, I dropped the rattlebait down, and didn't see any activity on my flasher. I played the lure for a few minutes, and just when I pulled it out of the water, I noticed a big mark appear on the screen, suspended at 8 feet over 13. I immediately dropped the lure back down to entice the fish to bite, it took me another minute or so to get the fish to react and hit, as I increased the aggressiveness of my jigging motions.

As soon as I got hit, I know I had hooked into a good fish. Luckily for me, I had stripped some frayed line before getting started, and re-tied the lure. I actually had to plunge my rod into the hole to get the rod tip down below the ice, in order to avoid getting the 6 lbs test flourocarbon line cut at the holes bottom.

When I finally maneuvered the big bass head up the hole, I knew I had my biggest bass of the winter on the line. I was well hooked, and I landed it easily. Snapped a few pics before removing my lure.



Once I removed the lure, the fat largemouth bass weighed in over 4 lbs, and measured just about 20 inches.


With the big bass still in perfect shape, it was a quick and successful release. 


You'll noticed the big girth in relation to my 8 inch ice hole. Sure glad I wasn't using a 6 inch auger...

As the midday rolled in, the outside temperature soared up 17 degrees, from -7C to 10C. By noon, I was don't to my jeans and undershirt


As I cooled down, I alternated between my hoodie, and shirt, and undershirt throughout the rest of the afternoon. Here is a short video clip I shot later on in the day:

https://youtu.be/9Z47UMsvq2U


Back, to my outing's tale, it took my nearly another 3 hours to find my second good catch of the day, on my 32nd ice hole. This time, I saw some smaller mark and one bigger one following my rattlebait on the Humminbird Ice 35 flasher. Not able to get them to commit, I dropped my W3 Jigging Rap, and got an immediate hit. Another good fight, and I eventually eased a good 24 inch / 3.5 lbs pike onto the ice.


Kept that one for the table, as I don't plan on fishing for pike in clean waters until early June.

About 1 hour and 5 ice holes later, I managed another good largemouth bass, though nowhere as big as the first one. Measuring a bit over 16 inches, I'd guess it was slightly under 3 lbs this time of year.


Another quick release, you'll noticed the girth difference in relation to my ice hole compared to the first bass of the day.


All in all a very satisfying final ice outing of the season for me, which ended on a very positive note.


Although this ice season might not have been as productive for numbers and big trophy fish, I am still elated at having landed my first few smallmouth bass on ice, including my first ever which was a good 4 lbs lunker. Today's big largemouth bass was the icing on the cake. 

Even better, I achieved my goal of exploring more new lakes on ice than ever before, fishing 6 new lakes I had previously never been to, in addition to picking apart a few more I had only tried last season. In doing so, I also managed to fish more zones in winter than ever before. My total is now up to 9 zones in one winter, hitting zones 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15 in Quebec, plus zone 18 in Ontario. 

As always, I thank God for the opportunities He has given me that allow me to practice and enjoy my lifelong passion of sportfishing, no matter what the season. I also thank my wonderful wife for putting up with my obsession. I truly believe that behind every good angler, there is a real tolerant / patient woman.

Looking forward to hitting open water over the next couple weeks, while winter rules are still in effect until March 31st.