The Freshwater Phil guide to Montreal shore fishing spots

Montreal's best shore fishing spots

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ice out carp fishing

Spring was late in arriving this year, finally made it out for my first open water outing of the season, more than one month later than last year. Despite the warm weather we've had for a few days, many areas of the river still have large patches of melting slush in the surface.

As outlined in my previous tip of the week post, spicy baits and lot's of patience are in order this time of the year, besides for fishing the warmest days during peak hours of heat.

Landed my first carp of the season on one of my fireball boilies about 2 hours into the outing, my 6 year old son got his initiation as net man for the first time as well as being my photographer.

For most of the day, he kept busy catching a variety of other species and critters.

He managed to land some decent size perch. Though they open for year round harvest in the zone we fished, I don't eat fish from the St Lawrence river, so they were all returned to spawn in good condition.

To my surprise, he was able to catch a goby by hand, as it cam very shallow to warm up in the sun.

He tried the same with a crayfish, and quickly learned how not to grab once next time he tries. Ouch!

This baby bullhead catfish was floating near the surface almost dead, he got some more net practice.

And his first up close look at a big frog.

Now there's one 6 year old that's going to sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - baiting carp in cold water

Ice out around Montreal typically coincides with the April, during which time the season is closed for most species of game fish. Carp are one of the fes species that are open, though they can be extremely tricky to target when their metabolism is still very slow in near freezing waters.

Over the years, I've managed to land carp with melting ice or slush cover, nearly every April, and at times, even earlier in March. Sticking to a few general baiting tactics and prime areas to fish for carp, is the key to early season success.

1) Find areas that are shallow, and don't have much current. These will warm up faster on the first few warm, sunny days of the season, and attract lethargic carp like magnets.

2) Fish sunny, calm days if possible. The best bite will typically coincide with the warmest part of the day, usually mid afternoon.

3) Don't over bait! A carp's metabolism is extremely slow in water colder than 10 degrees C (55 F), even more so in water under 5-6 C (40 F). A few particles or boilies of what you are using should be enough to trigger a bite.

4) Spice it up. Cayenne, chilli pepper and paprika are excellent bait additives / carp attractants in very cold water. Noticed this pattern over the years, and after a while, one of my fellow carpers with a degree in biochemistry confirmed the reason; apparently, spicy pepper gives of the carp a "warm feeling" to receptors located all over the carp's body, so they will hover near the bait even when they aren't feeding.

As you see in this pic form April 1st in 2017, Both of us are on a sheet of thick ice, eafter my carp hit a floating chilli lime corn.

That would explain occasional catches being hooked outside the mouth, as well as their effectiveness as carp bait additives. These spices can be mixed into boilies, and other particle baits such as corn, chickpeas, or tiger nuts can be either soaked or boiled in spicy mixtures. The essential oils will disperse in the water, and hover near the bait on cal, windless days.

6) Patience is a virtue when carp fishing in very cold water. I'll often leave a line in for close to 2 hours at a time. Pay attention to the slightest change to you line or most sensitive bite on your alarm. Carp takes can be subtle in cold water. Windows of activity are short, make them count.

This one took  my extra hot Fireball boily in late March of 2016.

And another fat carp that took a popup version for my Fireball boilie, as you often need to popup your presentation over dead weed beds or debris that early in the season.

With the recent weather, I haven't been getting much fishing done, looking forward to my first outing of the season.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - Transition from ice to open water fishing

The 2017-2018 Quebec fishing season officially came to it's close a few days ago, on April 1st. As such, the winter allowance for the use of multiple lines as well as the use of dead bait fish, are no longer in effect until next December. Effectively, the ice fishing season is over for most of us, although a few die hards can still get out to chase open species like sunfish and crappie, as there is still safe ice to be found in many of the backwaters in the region, due to slightly colder than normal temperatures so far this spring.

The ice fishing season ended for me last week. I dried, cleaned and organized my ice fishing gear before storing it away until next year.

No fishing for me this week, I spent some time organizing my tackle, lubricating reels, and getting everything else ready for the upcoming open water fishing season.

I plan on scouting some of my early season spots starting next week, although I've been doing lots of research online in order to plan and implement some new techniques and tactics I've been considering for some new areas I plan to fish this season.

Carp will likely be my target species for most of the month of April, as most other game fish species are closed in Quebec. Carp fishing this time of the year is typically very slow but rewarding, as the sounds of my bite alarms go off for the first time since last year. Strangely enough, the pungent smell of that first carp is more satisfying than anything else.

Another potential target species this time of year are lake trout. Though closed to fishing in Quebec until the end of April, they are open on the New York and Vermont portions of Lake Champlain, which also allow the use of multiple lines per anglers that fish there. Hoping I get an invite from friends with a boat, as shallow water trolling is the best time to catch them in the near freezing waters immediately after ice out.

Hope to have some interesting outings and fishing tales to tell over the next few weeks, as well as some nice catches and fishing pics.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 2018 ice fishing report

I was hoping to have more to write about of my monthly fishing report. Despite multiple outings for pike, we didn't do very well this month. The pike just seems to be shut down in comparison to some other seasons, and it was only in the last few days that the bite finally turned on. My friends and I managed to land 6 or 7 pike yesterday, and lost a few more due to pulled hooks or false hits.

Didn't bother targeting any perch this month, as I still had plenty of fillets in my freezer. Stocked trout bite was good on the one outing I made with some customers, and hooked some more accidental lake trout in a new area I was prospecting with a jigging rod and flasher.

Hope to fish open water again in the next couple weeks.

As the Quebec fishing season ends on March 31st, I'd like to remind everyone to renew your provincial fishing licenses before heading out in April.

Ice fishing tip of the week - finding safe late season ice

As ice fishing season near its end, finding safe ice can vary from year to year. Unseasonably warm temperature and lots of rain and wind in March, will cause ice to honeycomb and break up quite quickly. Ice thaws from the top down, so it's crucial to ensure that you still have a good base level of solid (black) ice to stand on.

When March temperatures remain as cold as they did this year, safe ice will remain in most places in the province long after the season closes on April 1st. With only 4 days left to the season, there is still a good 16-18 inches of solid ice cover in most of the provinces Southern waterbodies, and a good 2 to 3 feet of solid ice once you go further North or ascend in altitude.

That being said, other factors and play into the complex equation or deteriorating ice conditions. Fishing the St Lawrence river, you need to factor in the varying strength of currents, back currents, as well as external factors such as ice breaking operations via giant hovercraft, ice breakers, and eventually, cargo ship traffic once the seaway is clear and re-opened to traffic.

Yesterday was a prime example. I was out on the ice with a few friends. Minimal snow cover allowed us to drive right out onto the river with our gear, and we were parked on solid ice about 20 inches thick.

Heading towards the ice's edge around mid morning, we noticed some deep cracks in the ice. a Good 100 feet or so of thinner ice and some broken up ice flows separated us from the open water.

Within an hour or so, the coast guard icebreaker was making it's rounds, probably last minute check to ensure the seaway was safe to re-open to commercial ship traffic.

Within minutes, the force of the current's undertow combined with 25+ KM winds separated some big sheets of solid ice we had been standing on, and we were now able to access the water's edge.

That was out cue to move our vehicles off the ice, as some new cracks were starting to form closer to where we were fishing.

Sure enough, the ice breaker made another round, and soon enough, the solid ice we were standing on started to separate and float downstream. Luckily, we had removed our lines and gear from the area a couple hours earlier. Though not as dangerous of a situation of honeycombed / deteriorating ice, last thing you need is to find your gear (or yourself) headed to Quebec city on a floating island.

As ice fishing season nears it's end, there is still some good fishing to be had in many areas. Just be safe and constantly aware of changing conditions.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ice fishing tip of the week - Shallow for late ice pike

Late winter and early spring is the best period of the year ice fishing for Northern pike around Montreal. You can usually find safe ice until the season closes on April 1st, although the surface often tends to have a thick layer of slush or even water on it due to warming temperature above freezing. A good pair of waterproof boots and snow pants are essential to keeping dry.

Pike spawn during or immediately after ice out, in extremely shallow, weedy bays. By the end of March, they have usually started the migration toward the spawning grounds, and can often be found congregated near those areas.

Despite the ice cover usually being about 2 feet thick that time of year, we routinely manage to catch them in 3.5 to 5 feet of water, which translates into a shallow 1-3 feet of space to present the bait. In that narrow range, the bait is presented right in front of cruising pike.

As Quebec no longer allows the use of live bait, we use a mix of store bought frozen smelt or mackerel, which in addition to being readily available, also diffuse a strong, oily scent trail under ice.
Fished under flag mechanism tip ups such as HT Big Game or Polar Thunder models. Once the lines are set it's just a matter of time until the hungry pre-spawn pike find your offerings.

The season closes for most game fish species next weekend, and with warmer sunny conditions forecast for the next 7 days, I hope to get out again for one last shot at some ice fishing before the open water season begins.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Ice Fishing tip of the week - Jigging worms for trout

Stocked trout were the first species I ever targeted on ice. Over the past 20 or so years, it's become a yearly outing with my family, as well with a slew of friends and customer new to ice fishing, or wanting to catch lot's of tasty trout, while enjoying to convenience of a wood heated cabin with dry toilet near our lines.

I still remember my first ice trout, which came on a worm tipped jig right on my first drop. Over the years, I've refined my set up, and it consistently out performed the standard "brimbale" style tip down lines tipped with the same bait with a 10 to 1 ratio. Best of all, is the sensation of hooking and fighting the trout with a fishing rod, as opposed to using a handline.

The outfitters general stocked both brook/speckled and rainbow trout into the various lakes I've fished. Rainbow trout tend to scatter under ice, while brookies seem to prefer schooling up in very slow moving schools. Find the school can be extremely productive to say the least.

Quebec allows the use of 3 baited hooks per line, but I just go with a 1/16 ounce lead jig head tipped with 1/2 a worm, and then a #6 to #4 baitholder or octopus hook tipped a the other half.

Rigged on medium light ice jigging fishing rods using 6-8 lb flourocarbon, we have been able to get easy 10 trout quotas on many occasions, and often opted to use second and even third quotas in 4-6 hour outings.

Simply let the line down to the bottom, bring it up a couple inches, and slow jig at intervals of 15 to 30 seconds. When bite is aggressive enough, double headers of trout can be expected.

Scattered rainbow trout seem to enjoy the ice jigging setup just as much. Note the setup my son used to land this fat rainbow trout.

Weather permitting, most outfitters open for ice fishing that stock trout in winter, do so from mid December through late March. I offer guiding services for stocked trout through the winter, fund day for the entire family, and hopefully a tasty catch for dinner.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Fishing tip of the week - ice fishing tip up markers

As I get a fair bit fishing related questions and inquiries, I've decided to write weekly "Fishing tip of the week: blog posts. I plan to have them relate to current fishing issues for a the given period of the year, and hopefully, I'll be able to keep cranking out a steady flow of short, but useful tips.

This week's tip relates to ice fishing with traditional flag style tip ups. Various models exist, most of the tip ups I use are HT big game "polar therm" models, pictured below.

While they are visible from afar when there isn't much snow cover on the ice's surface, as soon as you get a few inches of snow, you start to lose visibility of the tip up as long as the flag hasn't been tripped by a fish.

Why does this matter? Well, for a couple of good reasons.

1) As we are allowed the use of multiple lines in winter in many provinces and states, you can get a pretty good spread on the lines. Around Montreal, the use of 10 lines per person, spread at say 40 feet between each line, would result in a potential spread of 400 feet, assuming you were alone. At that distance, there is no way to know exactly where you tip up is set if the snow cover is more than 4 inches or so.

2) Just as you may not know where you row of lines begins or ends, others travelling the lake by truck, snowmobile, ATV or even windsurfing, may not be able to see you're lines until they've run them over.

To negate this issue, I like to mark off where my ice fishing tip up lines begin and end by using something larger, and more visible. In particular, I have bright yellow 5 gallon buckets that I use to store and transport my Big Game tip ups in. When the tip ups are deployed, these empty buckets serve the purposes quite well, as you can see in the zoomed in picture below:

Furthermore, I often decide to use a good numbers of lines away from where I'm actually fishing, in order to target multiple species. Thc classic example is setting up baited lines shallow for pike, and then moving a bit deeper to jig for perch, walleye or trout. By having a visual markers at the extreme ends of my pike lines, when I periodically shift my focus from jigging to looking for tripped flags, I don't have to start guessing or straining to figure out where to look, as my markers are clearly visible from a lot further than I venture away.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

February 2018 ice fishing report

February has been another successful month for some more exploratory ice fishing, just as December and January have been. Not having much clientele for ice fishing this season has allowed me to continuously explore new areas, which I'm enjoying more and more, regardless of whether or not I end up successful.

February 6th 2018.

Headed to the Easter townships to try a new area I had mapped using Google maps. After trekking about 1 KM through about 8-10 inches of snow covered ice, I reached my target area. Drilled some holes holes in shallower water for pike, and then some more deeper for perch and possibly rainbow or brown trout, maybe a lucky landlocked salmon.

The first catch of the day was a decent size lake trout measuring 26 inches, put up a very nice fight on my perch rod. As season is closed for lake trout in Quebec, I didn't bother with any pictures, releasing it immediately in good condition as per the regulations.

I move a bit shallower, and stumbled onto a large school of jumbo perch. Perch tend to school up by size under ice, so after catching a few big ones and seeing many more on the flasher, I knew I'd be busy at the fillet table once I got home, as perch are one of the tastiest fish caught in winter.

Took a couple hours or so, and I had a couple dozen perch ranging from 9 to 12 inches on ice, all hit a Swedish Pimple jigging spoon. You can notice how big they are in relation to the 8 inch ice hole.

Managed another accidental lake trout in the 25 inch range at the end of the day near one of my perch holes, again on my perch rod. No pike on the dead bait lines.

February 13 2018.

Headed South of the Border to the upper Adirondacks in New York state, to try my luck on a new lake. The state of New York stocks the lake with landlocked salmon and lake trout, which are both open to fishing year round. As well, there are some big Northern pike in the lake as well, which were going to be my target species for the day.

New York is very particular about the use of bait fish, which must be purchased from local state certified dealers. The frozen store bought smelt and mackerels I normally use for pike are forbidden as bait, so I was at the mercy of the local bait shop's supply. Despite having called them the previous to be sure they had the large shiners I was looking for, when I arrived, they only had small minnows, which still sell for an outrageous $10 USD per dozen.  Not being left with any other options, I picked up a dozen, and set up some lines for pike in shallower water, while jigging for perch with the help of my flasher.

As the lake gets lots of fishing pressure in the winter, the perch weren't to big as expected, ended up with a couple keepers by early afternoon. With no pike hits, and some pesky perch messing with the small minnows and tripping my flags, I decided to trek a good mile or so further out, where I ended up on a large flat about 30 feet deep. One of the locals mentioned it being a decent area for smallmouth bass under ice, a species that I've never caught in winter. Drilled another dozen or so holes over the course of the afternoon, hooked into something big down near bottom while jigging a Swedish Pimple, but lost it before I could get it close enough to the ice hole to see what it was. My guess would be a big bass or small lake trout, I'll never know...

February 15 2018.

Headed back to my new spot in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, in search for some more jumbo perch, and possibly some Northern Pike. The trek out to my spot was easier, as there was less snow cover. Having noted that all the Jumbo perch from my previous outing to that area came from 12-14 feet of depth, I drilled a longer lines of holes at that depth in order to determine whether my spot was wider than I originally thought.

Started off by catching a small 18 inch lake trout, and then some small perch. Fishing all the outer holes around my hot spot, I wasn't able to catch any perch bigger than 7 inches, but did get a surprise rainbow smelt, as I was fishing mainly with a tiny version of the Swedish Pimple jigging spoon

When I eventually fished my hot spot, the jumbo perch were waiting for me as I had hoped. I managed to land 2 of my biggest perch ice at 12.5 and 13 inches, and both were bursting with roe, which made them a bit heavier. The 13 incher is my new all time personal best for perch, weighed in over 1 lb at 485 grams.

Ended up leaving with another dozen keepers, my youngest son and I  had a perch feast next morning for breakfast.

February 19 2018.

Decided to ice fish the Montreal area for the first time in 2 years. Though I normally prefer to travel to ice fish areas and waterbodies where I don't have summer access, I only had a few hours to fish, and a local friend with a waterfront property invited me to come over and fish the area behing his home for pike.

We set up the lines at a variety of depths ranging from 3.5 to 9 feet of depth, and baited them with thawed out mackerel and smelt. Waiting for the pike bite, we tried jigging for perch a bit deeper, where I showed him how to use a flasher. Unfortunately, we weren't able to catch anything jigging, and the pike weren't playing along with our plans either. My host went back inside to grab some lunch, leaving me on the ice with his nephews and my son. Sure enough, the flag on the tip up closest to me went off. I ran to the line. carefully moved the tip up out of the way, giving my self a bit of line to play with, as I was fishing the shallowest hole, in 3.5 feet of depth.

I quick tug set the hook, and the fight was one. The pike made a few good runs before I was able to ease it's snout up the ice hole, and I was surprised to see that it's was much bigger than I originally thought. While most of the pike I've caught in that area over the years range from 3 to 5 lbs, this one weighed in at 9 lbs, measuring 33 inches. Definitely my biggest ice pike caught in this zone.

That made to outing with back to back personal best for ice fishing. Not too shabby for some February ice fishing.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January 2018 ice fishing report

Haven't done too much ice fishing this January, in comparison to previous seasons. Continuing with this winter's plan of experimenting with new tactics and fishing new areas, the few times I did fish on ice this January were interesting.

January 9 2018:

Picked a relatively warm day to fish, as I planned to target trout and / or landlocked salmon one  of the open lakes in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. With a high of -1 C, I knew I would need to worry much about my line or ice holes freezing up.

Drilled a bunch of holes between 20 to 45 feet of depth, and fished a variety of lures, jigging at various depths with the help of my Humminbird flasher. To boost effectiveness, I tipped the lures with a live mealworm. Additionally, after not catching any fish in a given hole for a while, I then chummed a bit handfull of canned corn into the ice holes. On five occasions, I was rewarded with a good chase, 3 of them ended up resulting in hookups. Unfortunately, they were all from Lake trout, a species which is closed in Quebec during the winter months. 3 came on a Swedish Pimple, the other a small Kastmaster spoon. Ranging from roughly 3 to 6 lbs, nice fight on light tackle. No pictures, as fish were caught out of season, and immediately released as per the Quebec regulations.

January 28 2018:

Was invited up North by a friend that has a place on one of the few lakes open to ice fishing in the Laurentians. Knowing that the lake in questions has some big Northern pike, I was hoping to hook into a trophy. Set up 10 lines under polar tip ups, baited half of them with frozen mackerels, the other half with smaller frozen smelt. Action was very slow as expected, as this lake is better known for size than numbers. Took 5 hours to get the first bite, no trophy this time, but at least we didn't leave empty handed.

January 31 2018:

Got another invite from a friend, this time it was one that has a place in New York state. Having never ice fished outside Canada, I was excited to head South of the border to try jigging for bass. While bass is open in most of New York state, catch and release is mandatory during winter and spring. Ari and I were able to pattern and land 7 of 9 largemouth bass in a short afternoon of fishing. Nothing too big, they were mainly in the 12 to 14 inch range, with a couple of them going a bit smaller.

Most were landed on either the Swedish Pimple or the Williams ice Jig.

Definitely was interesting to fish South of the border, and after doing some research online, I'm pretty sure I'll try going back in the future, with many lake and opportunities for trophy sized pike, as well as lake trout, landlocked salmon, and jumbo perch.

Looking forward to reporting about some upcoming exploratory outings in February...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ice fishing marathon to end 2017

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, anglers fishing out of high end boats with top notch gear and electronics have a huge advantage over us who shore fish. Same goes for people that live on lakes or rivers without, or with very limited access to outsiders.

Ice fishing is the great equalizer, as long as you find safe ice and and a good access point, anyone has a good shot at having a great outing.

This December, my work load was lighter than it had been in most previous years. Additionally, my wife took most of the kids skiing for their new year's break, leaving me home with only Ari, my oldest son.

With extra time on my hands and not much to do around the house, I decided to spend the latter half of the month scouting new ice fishing spots in different zones of the province. Provincial regulations vary by management zone, so it's crucial to check the rules before heading out to new areas.

While zone 8 around Montreal is open for fishing year round, many of the other zones are completely shut down during the winter. These zones have a few lakes and rivers that are exceptions to the rules, where winter / ice fishing is permitted. The MFFP web site has some good search tools for each zone, and is to first spot to check when looking for new areas to fish at. These water bodies were my target areas to kick off my ice fishing season.

December 7 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 11 (Upper Laurentians)

Hoping to find safe ice in the upper Laurentians after a cold front, I headed up North with Ari. Unfortunately, the lake in question only had 2 inches of ice. Instead of heading back home, we decided to head further North to another zone with some lakes where fishing is permitted throughout winter. We found a new target lake on the government's web site, Google mapped it, and headed up to the area. Had to trek for a good 1/2 hour though the woods to reach the lake, and got there to find roughly 3 to 3.5 inches of solid ice. As winter rules for multiple lines and dead bait were not in effect until December 20th, we only had a couple jigging rods and a handful of lures.

We managed a few small perch.

The lake had some moose tracks, surprising being that the ice was barely thick enough for us to walk on.

After using Google's satellite map to find an ATV trail to the lake when I got back home that evening, we decided to head back there once again once winter rules were in effect, with the intention of targeting some pike with dead bait.

December 11 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 14 (Lanaudiere)

Kids off school for a day, headed up to Coin Lavigne for some stocked trout ice fishing. Heated cabin came in very handy, as the wind chill was -18 when we arrived. Younger ones stayed in the warm cabin while we got the lines set up, while Levi ice fished with me. Action was extremely slow, we only managed 4 trout all day, but kids had a very nice time, not to mention the tasty dinner.

December 21 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 11 (Upper Laurentians)

After dropping my family off at the airport, Ari and I headed back to the new lake we had tried a couple weeks earlier. This time, I brought along my tip ups, and some frozen mackerels and smelt to use as bait to target big Northern pike under ice. All the gear would be too much to haul through rough terrain in the woods, so we opted to walk an ATV trail to the lake, about 1 kilometer or so from where I was able to park.

The ATV trail had a good foot or so of fresh snow, which made the trek out to the lake towing a heavy sled, quite challenging. The trail was crisscrossed with deer, moose and bear tracks, and after a good 45 minutes or so, we finally reached the lake. It was covered in thick snow as well, took another 10-15 minutes to get to the area we planned to target.

After drilling our holes and setting up the pike lines, Ari and I jigged for panfish, catching a few perch and sunfish. 

Nothing like being out on an uninhabited lake, untouched since freeze up, surrounded by nothing to the calm nature in crisp -13 temps. Ari enjoyed some frozen pizza for lunch.

With close to 1 hours walk back to the car, we had to call it a day a few hours later, by mid afternoon. Unfortunately, no pike for us, and as there will likely be too much snow on the trail for the rest of the winter, I doubt we'll be heading back any time soon.

 Ari stopped for a short break while towing the sled back across the lake.

Though the fishing wasn't great, I was quite happy with the entire experience of finding, trekking to, and trying to ice fish the lake.

December 24 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 6 (Eastern Townships)

Being an observant Jew, I don't ice fish on Fridays or Saturdays. This was the mandatory break in my plan of fishing 4 management zones in 4 days, effectively making my next outing day 2.

Ari cancelled on me do to last minute change in weather which had him cleaning snow into the wee hours of Sunday morning. I headed out to a lake in the Eastern Townships I first ice fished last winter, hoping to find safe ice. Sure enough, I was lucky to find a solid 4.5 inches of ice, and less than 1 centimeter of snow cover. East trekking and hole drilling using my manual auger, I got the pike lines set up again.

My personal favorite for ice fishing with bait is the Big Game polar tip up made by HT Enterprises. Built to last, and to avoid ice hole freeze up, you can pretty much set and forget the lines until the flag pops ups when a fish take the bait.

Unfortunately, no hits from any pike. Only had 4 lines set for pike as I was alone, and saved the 5th line to jig for perch. The perch were slower than ever, took my until 3 PM to catch my first one, and then another one on my way out that swallowed my W3 jigging rap.

December 25 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 14 (Lanaudiere)

The following day, I took my brother David and nephew Yehuda up to Coin Lavigne for some more trout fishing. My nephew had never been out on ice before, so I enjoyed being able to give him the run down, without having to worry about catering to my own kids, as they were away skiing with my wife.

Didn't take long for us to catch a few rainbow and speckled trout. 

Fishing died down completely around noon, and nothing I tried was working. Finally, I decided to slow jig a Sabiki rig tipped with mealworms, and started catching rainbow trout one after the other.

We had our bag limit shortly after.

For those of you that have never heard of a Sabiki rig, it is used to catch bait in Saltwater, and widely available around ocean fishing piers. Having picked one up in Florida last April, I brought it back with my intending to try it on ice for perch. It's made up for 6 small hooks, tipped with a piece of plastic that looks like fish skin, with a small colored bead above each hook. As Quebec rules only allow for 3 hooks per line, I cut it in half, and re-tied it to my ice fishing rod. Love it when innovation works out to save the day.

December 26 2017 - Quebec fishing zone 9 (Laurentians)

With an incoming cold front and a busy schedule for the last few days in December, this was to be the last of my ice fishing marathon to end 2017. Finally, Ari and I got onto the lake I had wanted to try a few week earlier. Having never been on this lake before, we set up 8 lines for Northern pike, and drilled a bunch of extra holes a bit deeper to jig for perch while we waited for the pike to hit our bait.

Ari setup with a small w2 jigging rap, while I decided to try my Sabiki rig for perch. The bare rig didn't manage any strikes as it would in saltwater, despite my marking a big school of fish on my flasher. Sure enough, as soon as I tipped the hooks with mealworms, I landed this Jumbo perch.

Ari an I landed a bunch more over the next couple hours, but with a -28 windchill, it got too cold on my wet fingers to keep taking off the gloves to free the fish, so I switched to jigging frozen smelt for pike.

Took a couple hours for the first flag to go off, Ari landed his first pike of the winter. Too small to keep, we released it after a quick pic.

Unfortunately, that was the first and last pike of the day. However, Ari managed to jig up a few dozen perch, with some nice ones in the 9 to 11 inch range.

We ended up keeping some of the bigger perch, as well as a few smaller ones that didn't make it. Planned on having some tasty fresh perch for dinner, as the lake we fished was relatively clean compared to most waterways around Montreal.

Unfortunately, their flesh was riddled with white worms (parasites), so they all ended up in the garbage.

Overall, it has been an epic experience getting to scout and try out some new spots, which is all part of the game. Ice fishing from sunrise to sunset in everyday, not to mention driving a good 1200 km to get back and forth, was quite the experience. 

Time invested into trying new fishing spots, rigs, lures and tactics, often doesn't result into much. However, when it all works out and you end up hooking and possibly landing a trophy fish on ice, makes it all worth it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Our 2017 fishing season highlights

Another open water fishing season is in the books. Thank God, it was another productive season, with some new species and personal records beaten for most of the family. Equally if not more important, I spent time honing various fishing related skills and techniques.

Some if the season's highlights:

Southwest Florida shark fishing trip

Mijocama bass fishing trip

Domaine Shannon walleye trip

And some pics by species:

Largemouth bass:

Smallmouth bass

Walleye / pike

Trophy Musky

Carp pics accessible in the carp fishing pictures gallery page at:

I thank God for giving me the opportunity and ability to be able to fish as much as I do, as well as my wife for putting up with my fishing habit. Thank you again to everyone I've fished with over the past year, we should do it again sometime.